Do you remember our little contest for the Slime Digital Presta Gauge?
Ryan Flowers of Reno, NV won! Ryan has an 11 mile round trip commute and has been at it for 3 years. You can also check out his site HERE.
Here’s his Flat Fix Tips:
1) If you are out of patches and you can’t make it to the bike shop to
buy another pack (Or you’re out of cash), cut up an old tube into patch
shaped circles (not squares… read on) and carry those and a bottle of
super glue with you, preferably the thin stuff. Apply the patch as
normal (sanding, etc) but be careful with how much glue you use. Too
much will make for a bad bond. Let it set for about 2 minutes before
installing and inflating. Circles are important because square shaped
patches can lift a corner. At least round the corners.
2) Riding a fixed gear means it takes a little longer to remove and
install a wheel. I always flip the bike over and check for any obvious
punctures first. Goat heads, staples, glass, etc. Don’t remove it just
yet. Note its location, and take the bead off the wheel for that third
or quadrant of the tire, and only remove the tube partially. Once you’ve
located the puncture, then remove the offending
goathead/glass/staple/gremlin and patch it and put it back together as
3) Tubes can tear at the valve stem if you get overzealous with your
mini pump when the wheel is installed in the bike (see above method of
fixing a flat without removing the wheel.) I’ve seen brand new tubes
fail this way. Instead, angle the mini pump away from perpendicular to
the wheel. Get as in-line with it as you can. That way, the wobbling
around of the pump can go back and forth, which the bike/wheel can move
with, instead of side to side which stresses the valve stem.
4) ALWAYS carry a spare tube, a patch kit, two tire levers, and the
knowledge to use them.
5) If you use a shrader and a presta wheel on the same bike, carry a
spare presta tube only. Use a shim (available at your LBS) that goes
over the presta valve before you install the tube. It’ll make it snug in
the schrader drilled rim. I prefer this for all schrader rims anyway. I
like the presta metal bodies instead of the rubber/metal schrader valve
6) Make sure your spare tube is the right size, and that it holds air. I
had to stop once for a fellow commuter who’s spare tube was the wrong
size, *and* it didn’t hold air. He couldn’t patch his tube because air
was escaping so fast that he couldn’t find it. He pumped and I searched
the tube and found the hole after a couple of minutes (a torn seam). Had
I not stopped, he’d have been walking.
7) Bad rim strips can cause a flat. Carry a partially depleted roll of
black electricians tape. Wrap it around the wheel two times and tear a
hole for the valve. It’ll last quite a long time, but you should still
replace it with a nice Velox tape strip. Its also useful for helping
those in need. I helped a guy recently with a flat. He had *no* rim
strip. I only pumped his tire to about 30lbs (if that) so that the tube
wouldn’t burst in the double walled rim. Had I carried the tape, I could
have improvised a strip for him and pumped his tire up all the way.
One more- if you get a flat at night and you’re on the side of the road,
or in any dangerous environment, unclip your blinky and set it on the
road (or path) so that people know there’s someone there, whether its a
bike or not.
Congrats Ryan, and I’m sure every one will appreciate your tips!