Watch: Fixing a flat the lazy way

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?

About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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5 Responses to Watch: Fixing a flat the lazy way

  1. West Seattle Commuter says:

    This is an awesome tip if you ride with wheels that use inner tubes. I’ve been riding on tubeless tires with latex sealant for a few years now and have not had to stop for minor punctures. But there is a maintenance process involved with that, since the latex sealant will eventually dry up (especially if you use a CO2 cartridge to add PSI). All in all, GREAT tip, Tom!

  2. Jens Kieler says:

    Another way to patch the hole would be with an instant patch from Park or Lezyne. No glue required since they come with adhesive.

  3. Don Brubeck says:

    Thanks for sharing that. It’s a great way to fix a flat if, as you say, you know where the hole is. It is especially good for tight fitting tires. I had a Schwalbe Marathon that I could not get off when it finally flatted. Broke a tire lever trying. But was able to pull out a few inches of tube and patch in place.

  4. Nick vdH says:

    Also a good tip for when you need to get rid of a tube – REI bike shops upcycle tubes by donating to Alchemy Goods. (There are also many local Seattle bike shops that participate in this program –

  5. Tom Redmond says:

    One might want to throw a crayon or a piece of tailor’s chalk in your repair kit to circle the puncture site once you’ve found it. Don’t want to have to rediscover the hole, particularly in the dark.

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