Fixing a puncture on the road

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
LondonBikeCommuter
Posts: 238
Joined: 21 Apr 2013, 4:10pm
Location: Swindon

Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby LondonBikeCommuter » 26 Sep 2013, 2:40pm

Off in a few days for a weeks 'tour' to the south coast. Everything was sorted until I was asked how I repair a puncture at the side of the road.

I'm ok with most of it until I come to finding the hole. At home I use a bowl of water but on the side of the road in the dark in rubbish weather???

Ok.... I give up! How's it done?
Cheers

Mark1978
Posts: 4912
Joined: 17 Jul 2012, 8:47am
Location: Chester-le-Street, County Durham

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby Mark1978 » 26 Sep 2013, 2:41pm

LondonBikeCommuter wrote:Off in a few days for a weeks 'tour' to the south coast. Everything was sorted until I was asked how I repair a puncture at the side of the road.

I'm ok with most of it until I come to finding the hole. At home I use a bowl of water but on the side of the road in the dark in rubbish weather???

Ok.... I give up! How's it done?
Cheers


You don't, you take a replacement tube and fix the broken one when you get home - or chuck it in the bin. For a weeks tour then two spare tubes should be more than enough.

If you really do want to repair, then you can pour some water from your drinks bottle?

wirral_cyclist
Posts: 781
Joined: 17 May 2010, 9:25pm
Location: Wirral Merseyside

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby wirral_cyclist » 26 Sep 2013, 2:45pm

LondonBikeCommuter wrote:Off in a few days for a weeks 'tour' to the south coast. Everything was sorted until I was asked how I repair a puncture at the side of the road.

I'm ok with most of it until I come to finding the hole. At home I use a bowl of water but on the side of the road in the dark in rubbish weather???

Ok.... I give up! How's it done?
Cheers


I sometimes listen for the puncture if I'm somewhere quiet, if noisy then you can often feel the leak on your nostrils (as if sniffing for it) - this assumes the cause isn't obvious in tyre as otherwise you just take a clock reference from the valve.

tatanab
Posts: 4234
Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby tatanab » 26 Sep 2013, 2:49pm

99% of puncture holes can be heard or the air escaping can be felt against your cheek.

At the roadside I would use this method to find the approximate location of the hole in the tyre. I can then remove the flint/thorn or whatever the cause is and fit a replacement tube. The punctured tube is then repaired somewhere comfortable and convenient such as at home, in the pub, in a bus shelter.

I put the repaired tube back into the wheel so that my spare tube(s) is(are) known to be good.

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 50098
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby Mick F » 26 Sep 2013, 2:56pm

I always carry at least two tubes and a set of tyre levers.

Fix a puncture on the side of the road?
Don't bother. All you need to do is take the flat tube out, find what caused the puncture, replace with a new tube and inflate. Back on your way again in minutes.

You'll do a better job of repairing the puncture in the comfort of your own home, and TBH, sometimes it's not worth sending the time on one. Wait until you have two or three and make an evening of it. :wink:
Mick F. Cornwall

thirdcrank
Posts: 29735
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby thirdcrank » 26 Sep 2013, 3:09pm

The first step is trying to be prepared by positioning one of the manufacturer's labels/ emblems whatever by the valve when you fit the tyre. If you are like me and tend to forget to do that, when you do puncture, mark the tyre at the valve position before removing the tyre.

Then, the first thing is to find the cause of the puncture. This is important because if you don't, it will go on causing more punctures until you replace the tyre. Once you have found it, use your valve position on the tyre to wok out where the damage to the inner tube is relative to the valve.

As others have said, no need to repair the tube (or even find the puncture in it) at the roadside, but it really ius important to find the cause, which may only be a tiny shard of glass lurking at the bottom of a cut in the tyre.

User avatar
jezer
Posts: 1556
Joined: 29 Sep 2007, 5:16pm
Location: North Wiltshire

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby jezer » 26 Sep 2013, 3:13pm

I never bother to repair tubes, just replace with a new one. I do find I get fewer punctures these days provided the tyres are not too worn, and I always use ones with kevlar type strips in. Of course it used to be a lot quicker to change a tubular tyre, but they became much too expensive :shock:
Power to the pedals

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15154
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby Si » 26 Sep 2013, 3:40pm

It's always worth looking for the hole in the inner tube - because, if you remember which way around it was in the tyre, you then get a pretty good idea of where the hole is in the tyre. And you want to know this because the tack, thorn, flint, bit of glass might still be there. Obviously sometimes you can see it in the tyre, but it's not always that obvious.

Running contrary to opinion, I like to repair by the side of the road (assuming conditions are not too bad), that way I know that I still have a good tube in reserve. This lesson was learned when I was heading away from home and had a p*nct*re....swapped in a new tube and carried on. then another p*nct*re, OK thinks I, I'll just bung a patch on. Opened brand new p*nct*re repair kit, made hole in top of glue tube and was amazed to find only air in it! So miles away from home without any way to fix the p*nct*re, whereas if I'd tried to patch it on the first p*nct*re I'd have discovered the useless kit and still had a good tube to get me home.
Believe me, grass stuffing tyres does not work half as well as they tell you it does.

But whatever you do, if you are swapping tubes DO NOT just bung the old one into the hedge! There seems a growing trend for doing this (I've even seen someone try to do it on a CTC MG ride), and hopefully we all agree that it is not big and it is not clever.

User avatar
gentlegreen
Posts: 1373
Joined: 23 Aug 2010, 1:58pm
Location: Bristol
Contact:

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby gentlegreen » 26 Sep 2013, 4:40pm

I can't believe I actually used to do that rather than carrying a spare tube - and that was in the days when I used under-inflated Michelin World Tours. so it was a regular occurrence.

I carry a kit as well as a spare tube, but have been reminded today that I ought to make sure the adhesive hasn't evaporated.

I'm lucky in that I use slightly chunkier tyres these days with Kevlar lining and keep them properly inflated - and I chuck them before I absolutely need to.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 16239
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby mjr » 26 Sep 2013, 5:15pm

In addition to patches and spare tube (longer rides only), I also usually carry a 150g zefal sealant tube, for those times when it's too wet/cold/dark/annoying to do a proper repair.

I've used one once when my tyre was slashed by road planings. I was eventually bought a new tyre by the contractor who'd left them on the road. It didn't hold anything like full pressure, which is hardly surprising given the tyre-ruining slash left a rather jagged cut in the tube, but I completed my journey gingerly on a tyre that held about 30psi.

I don't feel the key point has been stressed enough above: whatever you do, get the glass or thorn out!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

puffin
Posts: 294
Joined: 15 Aug 2010, 3:29pm

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby puffin » 26 Sep 2013, 6:58pm

My time is running out... I have done LEJOG twice and never had a puncture (my tyres are called Marathon which I gather are strengthened). The odds are surely stacked against me....

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18398
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby Vorpal » 26 Sep 2013, 8:39pm

It depends on the situation...

I normally carry at least one spare inner tube & a puncture repair kit. If I'm not in a hurry, or I'm helping another cyclist (why is that none of the cyclists I come across along the way are prepared for these sorts of situations?), I use the puncture repair kit. If I'm commuting, or the weather's dire, I swap the inner tube. If I'm close to my destination, I push the bike & fix it in the comfort of my home/work/hotel room/tent.

+1 on find what caused the puncture

-look around the outside of the tyre for cuts or something stuck in it
-if that doesn't work, feel around the inside of the tyre (careful! don't slice your fingers!)
-examine the inner tube
-If you can't hear or feel the puncture, put some air in the inner tube and feel / listen around it (wiggle it & squeeze it); repeat as necessary
-note that (as Si said) finding something in the tyre can help find the hole in the inner tube and vice versa; this detective work can be aided by using tricks like putting the tyre logo (or direction arrow, or something else memorable) at the valve

If you have something in the tyre & don't find it, you'll likely have another puncture in short order.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

User avatar
Vantage
Posts: 2806
Joined: 24 Jan 2012, 1:44pm
Location: somewhere in Bolton
Contact:

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby Vantage » 26 Sep 2013, 8:43pm

I'm with Si on this one.
If the weather isn't too bad and you can find the hole by listening or feeling escaping air, use the puncture kit first and save the 2 (in my case) spare tubes for when there literally is no other option. Tried the stuffing grass into a tyre option once, it amazingly didn't work well at all.
Bill


“Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride.” ~ Eddy Merckx
It's a rich man whos children run to him when his pockets are empty.

thirdcrank
Posts: 29735
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby thirdcrank » 26 Sep 2013, 8:57pm

On checking back through this, we all seem to have mentioned only punctures caused by something first penetrating the tyre. Bear in mind that although that's the most usual cause, there are others, such as spoke ends not properly protected by the rim tape. It's also possible to puncture by hitting something like a rock or a kerb, especially with soft tyres, although you would normally know immediately when that had happened.

Finding a puncture by listening is particularly hard if there's heavy traffic (and if your hearing is bad anyway :oops: ) Decades ago, I learnt a tip somewhere that if you are doing it entirely by feel, then your eyeball is very sensitive. It does work, although it's best if you have an idea where to start. Another tip for when you think you have found it but if you aren't sure - eg traffic noise again - is to smear the suspected site with a little saliva. It will bubble up if you are on target. Remember to dry it before attempting to get a patch to stick.

Grandad
Posts: 1201
Joined: 22 Nov 2007, 12:22am
Location: Kent

Re: Fixing a puncture on the road

Postby Grandad » 26 Sep 2013, 9:23pm

Slightly off topic but recently I stopped when seeing 2 ladies at the roadside with an upturned bike. My offer of help was declined "only a puncture and we are doing it OK as we have done one before".

Fair enough, but I noticed they had taken the tyre completely off the rim and were putting the replacement tube inside it. Presumably they would then put the whole lot back on the wheel together.

Has anyone else come across this way of fitting a tube?