Seattle Bike Blog does not usually do bike tutorial stuff. There are many other excellent YouTube channels and online resources if you want to learn about bike maintenance and such. However, the vast majority of YouTube fix-a-flat tutorials start by having you take off your wheel. There is an easier way.
So when I got a flat biking my kid to the playground recently, I figured that was a good opportunity to show you all my favorite method for fixing a flat. This method is easier than replacing the tube and chucking out the old one. It’s also a lot cheaper and saves a tube from going into a landfill. It is even easier than rolling your bike to a bike shop unless you just happen to be very close to one.
The total time for me to fix the flat and record this video was 15 minutes, and the total cost was 20 cents for the patch (assuming you already have levers and a pump). While you probably could remove the wheel, replace the tube and put it back on in less time, this method completely avoids dealing with the chain, the brakes, the quick quick release, and all the other frustrations that come with taking a wheel on and off. So I think this is the easiest method for fixing a flat, even (or especially) for beginners.
This method only works if the location of the puncture is obvious. If you pump up the flat tire and can hear air escaping from a puncture, then this method is perfect. If the hole is so big you can barely get it pumped up before it goes flat again, then the hole is too big to patch and you need a new tube. If it is a slow leak that goes flat overnight, then you will probably need to spend more time finding the hole and are best taking the wheel off. However, if you picked up a piece of glass in the middle of a ride, chances are good that this method will work.
What do you think?