Here’s a great video about how to fix a flat bike tire, with little or no tools. If you’ve been wanting to learn how to fix a flat bike tire, this video should get you there!
What I like about this four-minute video is that it really simplifies the whole process of changing a bike tube. Really, almost anyone should be able to master this fairly simple technique. Just watch the video!
This video is from the YouTube channel Howcast, which has tons of great how-to videos – I just subscribed! As you can see, you can actually change a flat bike tire with no tools. Of course, you do need to be carrying a spare tube. By the way, don’t feel bad if you cannot get the tire on or off with just your thumbs, and you need to use tire levers – almost everyone does. And they cost almost nothing.
Tire levers also weigh next to nothing, so there is no reason not to keep them handily tucked into your saddle bag (along with your spare tube!)
There was just one part of this video about how to fix a flat bike tire that I thought was a bit over-simplified. That was the part about how to release the brakes and remove your back wheel. This is actually the hardest part of the whole process. Also, there are many different rear wheel and brakes set-ups. If you felt like you needed a bit more information on this topic, the video below has a lot more details about how to release the brakes and remove the back wheel of various kinds of bikes.
This video is from the extremely useful YouTube channel of cjhoyle. He has tons of great bike maintenance videos, so I highly recommend you subscribe to it. I did!
Finally, if you still need some inspiration, watch this video of a man with NO HANDS fixing a flat bike tire. It’s from the YouTube Channel of Hector Picard. Picard is an internationally-known motivational speaker and triathlete who lost both arms in an electrical accident. My own father had just one hand, and impressed me all his life with how he did not let this slow him down. And Picard has no hands at all, and still changes a bike tire faster than I can. Wow! Just wow. If this video doesn’t convince you that you can change a flat bike tire, nothing will!
Tip: carry money and/or a credit card whenever you cycle, in case you have a problem you cannot fix. There’s no shame in taking a cab once in a while!
Another tip: every cyclist should have two great pumps. One mini-pump to carry on your bike, and one heavy duty floor pump for use at home (because the little ones are really hard work). For the mini-pump I highly recommend the Birzman Velocity Apogee Pump, which is light, high-quality, and has a single head that instantly adapts to both Schrader and Presta valves. The last mentioned is really important for me – I don’t want to be fiddling with adapters on the side of the road. Or worse still – finding the pump I have with me doesn’t fit the valve on the bike I am riding that day.
For your floor pump (also called a track pump), you want something strong (steel or aluminum) with a firm base, a clear gauge that you can see clearly while standing up, and a comfortable, sturdy handle. And again, I prefer one that easily adapts to both Schrader and Presta valves. The Topeak Joe Blow Sport 2 checks all the boxes, made from all steel, with Topeak’s TwinHead adapter that has Presta and Schrader valves opposite each other and sharing a locking lever.
One final tip: you will be MUCH less likely to actually get a flat tire in the first place if you invest in the wonderful technology of puncture-resistant tires, such as the legendary Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. I have these on both my bikes, and almost never get a flat. It’s well worth paying a few extra dollars on your tires, to avoid the hassle of flat tires.
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