Text By James
Lame photos by Scot

Few things suck as much as having to walk your bike back home because you got a flat tire¿trust us, we know. But sooner or later, they’re going to happen to you, and if you have to rely on a shop fixing it, you’re going to be out of action longer than needed. Here’s a quick step-by-step fix-it-yourself set of instructions to get you back on the dirt in as little time as possible.

Take the wheel off the bike and use a tire iron to get the tire off the rim. I didn’t have a tire iron, so I went with the next best thing, the end of a toothbrush. Basically, you want something dull to hook under the tire so that you can peel it off the rim. Once you have the tire off the rim, check for foreign material in the tire.

Here’s what did it for me¿a stupid thorn. Pull it out and feel around the inside of the tire (carefully) for anything that poked completely through and is still inside. The last thing you want to do is put a new tube in only to have it pop because there was still something sharp inside the tire. Take the tube and put in just enough air so that it takes its natural round shape. Next, seat the tube inside the tire and pull the valve stem through the valve stem hole in the rim. Seat the rest of the tire on the rim once the valve stem is through the rim.

Once the tire is fully seated on the rim, put the wheel back on and line up the rim in the frame so that it’s even on both sides of the chainstay. You might want to put a little more air in at this point because it’s hard to line up a wheel in the dropouts with a flat tire. Once you get the right amount of air pressure in the tire, go back and fine tune the wheel’s position in the dropouts. Tighten it down and you’re back in action.