By Darrell Stone (2008)
Recently Ed Proudfoot and I were swapping tips and tricks on bike repairs and maintenance that we have learnt over the years. Ed gave me the most useful tip that I have heard on repairing a puncture.
Roughen the area to be patched and then place the glue on the tube where the patch is intended to be placed. Allow the glue to dry – for 10 minutes, 10 hours, 10 days, or until you are able to properly repair the tube. Now here’s the good bit – heat the dried glue on the tyre with a hair drier for about 20-30 seconds and then firmly place the patch on it. I have found that this fixes even those “unrepairable” tubes with the holes next to the ridges where the moulds have been joined. Obviously the availability of hair driers on bikes have not yet reached the accessory market, so this needs to be done at home, or if touring, by borrowing from another camper at a caravan park.
I’ve been pulling out discarded tubes from my workshop garbage and successfully patching holes that I had been unable to repair previously. A big saving on new tubes!
Good one, Ed!
Of late, our local region appears to be gaining a disproportionate number of village idiots who get their intellectual stimulation by breaking bottles into tiny pieces on the section of road left for cyclists. It seems that we need more chlorine in the gene pool! There appears to be more broken glass on the roads than I have seen for a long time.
To help minimise the risk of a puncture, check both of your tyres after each ride to remove any of those persistent slivers of glass that gradually work their way through the tyre to penetrate the tube.
Surviving Cut Tyres
It is always wise to carry a spare tyre on a tour. Sometimes one isn’t enough, and it is necessary to patch a tyre that may have a torn case in order to limp into the nearest bike shop to get replacements. Probably the most effective way is to use one of Australia’s plastic bank notes. Wrap it around the tube in the location that the tyre has been cut, and it will usually have sufficient strength to allow you to proceed with care to the next bike shop. I have been told that the same can be done by cutting a plastic drink bottle and wrapping it around the problem area. Because of its rigidity, it may cause a consistent “thump” with each revolution of the wheel, and I suspect more care would be required to ensure that the plastic from the bottle does not cut or abrade the tube. However, I carry a piece of sail fabric with me that I obtained from a sailmaker. It is about the size of a $5 note and has an adhesive on one side. I place the adhesive side lengthwise onto the inside of the tyre, and work the sail material until it is evenly bonded to the tyre. Once that has been done, reassemble the wheel and regularly monitor the condition of the cut to ensure that the “patch” is holding. I’ve ridden several thousand kms with one of these repairs in one of my tyres without any problems (the cut was about 1cm long and the tyre was used for my local riding and was pressurised to 120 psi.)