Repairing your own bicycle might seem like a daunting task. Fear not! A punctured tire is one of the most common mechanical mishaps in cycling. It plagues riders from the humble weekend warrior to the champion of the Tour de France! Do take note that this guide will only cover tires using inner tubes, not tubeless nor tubular tires.
Step 1: Getting the Essentials
Before attempting to perform any repairs on your beloved bicycle, it is paramount that you ensure that you have all the required tools and spare parts for the job. In the case of repairing a puncture you will require the following:
1. A set of tire levers
2. A new inner tube or puncture repair kit
3. A pump to inflate the tire
We will go deeper into the specifications of inner tubes in part 2, just take note that the new inner tube should be of the same size and similar width to the preexisting inner tube on your bicycle. On top of that, the type of valve on the inner tube should also be identical to the one used on your bicycle, again this will be explained in greater detail in the following article.
Step 2: Removing the Tire
The very first thing you'll need to do is remove the affected wheel. If possible, prop your bicycle up against a wall or flip it upside down. In the latter case, be wary of scratching your handlebars or saddle on the ground! Depending, on what type of brakes you have on your bike the method might be different in removing the wheel.
Once you've removed the wheel, take off the plastic valve cap and grab your tire levers. Using your hands first, dislodge the bead of the tire from the rim. At this point, you should be able to see a gap between the tire and the rim. It is through this gap that you will be able to insert your tire lever to lever out the tire from the rim.
Once you've managed to get one lever into the tire, latch it onto one of the spokes to free up your hands. Use the other tire levers in a similar fashion until you've dislodged enough of the tire to allow you to slide the lever along the tire, dislodging that side completely from the wheel.
Step 3: Replacing the Inner Tube
Once you've dislodged one side of the tire from the wheel, remove the damaged innertube starting from the side opposite the valve. You can now start preparing the new innertube.
Start by very slightly inflating the new tube, this will help it to keep its shape while you insert it into the tire. The process should be the opposite of how you took the tube out, so you start with the valve. As you roll the inner tube under the tire, you should simultaneously sit the tire back onto the rim. It may get a little difficult as you approach the last part of the tire. At this point you may either persevere with your bare hands, or use your tire levers. However, using the tire levers will increase the risk of you puncturing your tube by pinching it between the tire and the rim.
Once you've seated the tire back on the rim, you can now re-inflate the tire. If you're unsure of the pressure to pump your tires to, just check the sides of the tire. It should give you a minimum and maximum pressure. While pumping the tire up, it is a good idea to pause around 20psi to ensure that the innertube is not sticking out between the tire and the rim. If it is, deflate the tire and adjust it appropriately.
When you have reached the desired pressure, replace the valve camp and re-attach the wheel to the bicycle. Do not forget to close your brakes if you had to open them to remove the wheel earlier.
Step 4: Continue Your Ride!
Now that you've repaired your puncture, it's time to get back on your bike and continue the ride!