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Repairing a flat tire is relatively easy, and any experienced cyclist will tell you that
it is just foolish to go for a long bike ride without the proper equiptment and know-
how to change a flat. First here is what you need.

A spare tube- Your spare tube should be the correct size and have the correct
kind of valve. Tube size is listed in two numbers which basically refer to the size
of your rim and the size of your tire. (most Mountain bikes have this listed in
inches, while most road bikes use the metric system- this is probably due to the
fact that road riding first gained popularity in Europe, while Mountain biking has
its roots in California) For example a common Mountain bike tube size is
26X1.9/2.125. This means that you have a 26" wheel (also listed on the tire) and
the tube can fit tires that have a diameter of 1.9" to 2.125". So if on the side of
your tire it says 26X1.95, this tube will fit just fine. There are two common types
of valves presta and schraeder. Schraeder valves are like the ones you have on
your car, presta (french) valves are narrower.

Tire levers- This is basically small flat plastic "stick" with a flat end and a hook on
the other end. Please note that the hook should never come anywhere near the
tube or tire. The hook is used to hook onto a spoke to hold the lever in place if
you need to. Once you get good, you may not need the tire levers except on
particularly difficult wheels.

Patch Kit- A good idea to have with you in case you get two flats. Patch kit use is
another topic of discussion, and I won't cover it here.

Pump- You will need to have something to put air in your tire. Racers and people
who don't want to spend the time and effort blowing up the tube may use CO2
pumps, but most people just use a hand pump. Larger "Floor Pumps" are
common for home use, and small "mini-pumps" are ideal for taking with you on a
ride. Make sure your pump can produce the pressure you will need. Note that
many MTB pumps will have trouble producing the 100+lbs of pressure that you
would put in a road tire.

Changing the tire

Step 1: Remove the Wheel- To remove the wheel, you will often have to
disconnect or loosten the brakes. This is done without tools, DO NOT use an
allen wench to disconnect the cable. On most styles of MTB brakes, if you push
the brake together you will see that the cable loostens, and there is a stop that
you can easily pull the cable or cable noodle out of. Most bikes have quick
release levers, but for older models and some specialty bikes (BMX, Single
Speed, and Track) you may need a wrench to loosten the fastening bolts. For a
quick release, simply pull out on the lever and then loosten the nut on the other
side, no tools needed. If this is a rear wheel, you may have to push forward on
the rear derailleur (the thing that makes your chain shift) to free the wheel from
the chain.
Step 2: Remove the tire (or ar least one side) - To do this, place the flat end of
your tire lever between the rim (metal hoop of wheel) and the tire, and pry the tire
up and over the rim wall to the outside of the rim. You can then slide your tire
lever around the wheel between the tire and rim to bring the entire side of the tire
outside of the rim. Once you get good this can often be done with your thumbs,
no lever needed.

Step 3: Remove the old tube. Start by pulling the tube out of the tire opposite the
valve. Once most of the tube is out, the valve will be removed by pulling it up
through the rim from the outside or the wheel. You may have have to pull the tire
back out of the way to get the valve out of the rim.

Step 4: Sweep the tire- Often flats are caused by objects puncturing the tire. If
that object is left in the tire, it will cause the new tube to go flat as well. Run your
hand around the inside of the tire and feel for anything sharp sticking through.
Please be careful that you don't cut yourself on it. If you find something sharp,
remove it. You may also want to check that the tape on your rim is covering all of
the spoke holes on the inside as flats can also occure if those holes become

Step 5: Install new tube - Put just enough air in the tube to give it some form.
This will make your life a lot easier and make it less likely for you to get the tube
pinched between the tire and rim. Place the valve through the valve hole, and put
the rest of the tube inside the tire all the way around the wheel.

Step 6: Put the tire back in the rim- Around the inside of the tire there is a kevlar
or wire "bead" this is a little fat section that is designed to catch the inside of the
rim. Starting at the valve, push this bead to the inside of the rim. This will be easy
at first, but get harder as you get more of it set. The last little bit may require you
to slide the tire lever along the inside of the rim to help you pull the bead from the
outside to the inside. Be careful doing this so you don't cut the new tube. Once
the tire is back on I will usually push the valve up into the tire and then pull it back
down to make sure I haven't pinched it between the tire and rim.

Step 7: Inflate (on mountain bikes with fat tires you may wish to wait until after
the wheel is back on the bike to inflate to avoid problems with brake clearance.)

Step 8; Put the wheel back on. The front wheel is easier than the rear. For the
front, you simply set the fork back on the wheel tighten the nut, and then use the
quick release lever to tighten it on all the way. You should have to push the lever
hard enough that it leaves a mark on your hand, but not so hard that you would
not be able to get it off again. DO NOT simply spin the lever until it gets tight. You
are "flipping" this lever, not spinning it. The rear wheel is the same but you have
to make sure you have the chain on the cassette (cogs). The easiest way to do
this is to make sure your bike is shifted into the hardest gear, and then place the
upper wheel of your rear derailleur on top of the smallest cog. (this will by default
put the chain on that cog. Then push the bike straight down (don't force it, but
give it a little pressure) you may have to pull the derailleur forward a little to ease
this process. Once the cags have cleared the derailleur, the wheel should fall
perfectly into the dropouts. (dropouts = the part of the frame that holds the
wheel). Tighten your quick release or fastening bolts.

Step 9: If you had to disconnect your brakes, reconnect them before riding off.