You’ve watched the YouTube videos. You’ve watched your friend (or coach) fix your flat. You always ride with C02 cartridges, a tube, maybe even a tire repair kit in your saddle bag. Perhaps you’ve even tried changing a tube once yourself under the supervision of said friend or coach. But, do you really know how to change a tube in no time?
To be sure, it can seem intimidating, even overwhelming to do anything you’re not super confident doing. Rest assured though, it really is easy to change a tube once you get the hang of it. Here are the steps. We suggest you test them out yourself whether you have a flat or not, and then try them again.
1 – Remove the wheel. If it is the back wheel, then shift to your hardest gear to remove the wheel easily from the rear-derailleur.
2 – Entirely deflate the tire. Hook the end of one of your two (you should always carry two) tire levers under the rim of the tire using the flat end of the lever. (They are all slightly different, so just use the thinnest side to get under the tire.) The second lever can be inserted the same way a few inches along the rim and with the loosened pressure, can now be used to remove the tire off the rim by following the circumference of the wheel. NB: Only one side of the tire needs to be removed.
3 – Take out the tube and put it in your jersey pocket or a nearby garbage.
4 – It is very important that you check under the tire with your finger or a damp paper towel if you have one handy. This is to be sure there is no glass or debris in there that will immediately puncture your new tube. Check for big holes in the tire itself as well. Have a look to see that the rim is not damaged.
5 – To insert the new tube, start by putting the valve in the valve hole and stretch the tube around the wheel using your fingers to tuck it neatly under the tire.
6 – Roll the tire over the rim being careful not to pinch the tube. When it is almost fully over the rim, the tire will get very tight and will require some firm thumb pressure to finish the job.
7 – Pump up the tire with a hand pump or C02 cartridge. The latter is quickest, but you must make sure to you have the adapter with you to thread the cartridge into and then attach to the valve. Adapters differ slightly so be sure you know how to use yours so you don’t inadvertently let out all the air and lose the chance to fill your tube! Practice this at least a few times before you find yourself in an actual flat tire situation. It’s worth the investment of a few extra C02 cartridges.
After a few tries, you’ll not only feel confident but will be more efficient. Happy riding!