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Bicycle Repair Reminder Thursday, proper maintenance is the key for safe cycling. Use one of the many fix-it stations along the Root River Trail system.

Emergency Repairs: Fix a Flat Tire

One inevitability of riding a bicycle is that you will get a flat tire. With a little practice and planning, you can fix a flat tire, and finish your ride. To be prepared, you will need a few tools and you should practice how to fix a flat on your bicycle at home a few times to get it down. Read below for a step by step on how to change your first flat.

Needed Items

To easily fix a flat tire be sure to carry the following items:

Pump

fix a flat pump

Pumps come in many shapes and sizes. Most are portable in a jersey pocket or on the bike. Be sure to look for a pump that is capable of meeting your tires pressure.

Tube

Fix a Flat tire tire size

Tubes are sized specifically to tires. Find the right size tube for your bike by looking on the sidewall of your tire. Common sizes are 700×23 and 26×2.1″. Tire sizes above are underlined in red. Tires size may also be molded into the sidewall of the tire.

Patch kit

Fixing a flat patch kit

Patches seal small holes in innertubes. There are glueless versions and versions that require glue.

Tire lever

fix a flat tire levers

Tire levers come in many shapes and colors, but almost all of them include the same features – A shovel shaped end to scoop the tire bead off the rim, and a hooked end to secure the lever onto the wheel.

FIX A FLAT: Getting Started

The first step to fix a flat is to remove the wheel from your bike. Consult your bicycles owner’s manual for the proper way to remove the wheels.

Begin by removing all the remaining air from the tire. Depress the valve while squeezing the tire until all remaining air is out. Also try to push the bead of the tire into the rim well, doing this will make it easier to remove the tire from the rim.

Taking the Punctured Tube Out

Fixing a flat terminology

Tire, Rim, and Tire Lever Terminology

With the wheel in one hand and the tire lever in the other, try to position the shovel end of the tire lever under the bead of the tire. (see picture below)

fix a flat tire lever in action

Once the lever is positioned beneath the tires bead, push the hook side of the lever down (using the rim as the fulcrum) and lift the tires bead. Once you have lifted the bead with the tire lever, you should be able to push the lever around the perimeter of the rim, freeing one bead from within the rim. (See Video)

 

Some tire and rim combinations are too tight to allow this method. If you can’t make headway pushing the tire lever around the rim, use the hook side of the tire lever to capture a spoke. Use a second tire lever a few inches away from the first to remove the bead, the bead should be loose enough to remove easily at this time (see pictures below).

Remove the innertube and either patch it or take out a new one. Before installing a new innertube, run your fingers along the inside of the tire while inspecting an area a few inches in front of your fingers.(See Video)

You are looking for the object that caused the flat. You won’t always find something in the tire, either it fell out, or stayed in the road.

Installing a New Tube

When putting the innertube back in the tire, inflating it a little helps. Add enough air to give the tube shape, but not so much that it doesn’t fit into the tire

 

Start by putting the valve through the valve hole in the rim, then feed the rest of the tube into the tire.

Once the tube is in the tire, begin moving the tube into the rim well.

Begin at the valve, and feed the tire bead back into the rim well. It will be easy to get the bead moved over the edge of the rim initially, but will get progressively more difficult as you get farther away from the valve. It is normal for the last few inches of bead to be the most difficult to seat, don’t get discouraged and don’t attempt to use a tire lever to put the bead back. Tire levers can pinch and puncture innertubes. Instead of a tire lever, use your thumbs and the heel of your palm to force the bead back onto the rim. (See Video)

 

Once the tire and new innertub are reinstalled begin airing the tire up. Once there is a small amount of pressure in the tire, check to see if it is seated properly. A quick spin usually tells you visually if everything is even. (See Video)

If you are sure the tire is seated evenly, bring the tire up to pressure completely. Tire pressures are usually marked on the sidewall of the tire if you aren’t sure of how much to put in. Put the wheel back into the bike, reengage the brake, and you are off.

Routine maintenance and cleaning will keep your bike in optimal condition and make it safe to ride when you need it with these is informative tips.

Keep Your Bike in Optimal Condition with Some Routine Maintenance Tips

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Like any other mechanical device, routine maintenance and cleaning will keep your bike in optimal condition and make it safe to ride when you need it. But where do you start? What do you use? Well, here are a few tips to put you on the right track!

Tip 1: For a Bike’s Optimal Condition Stay Away from the Hose

Bike running smooth hose and bucket

Angry hose and happy bucket

Every moving part on your bicycle needs lubrication to stay in optimal condition. A hose forces water in and lubricant out, leaving your bicycle susceptible to corrosion and excess wear. Instead, fill a bucket with warm, soapy water (Dawn dish detergent works well) and use a large sponge or washcloth to clean all the parts of your bicycle. Rinse all the soap and gunk off with fresh water, and let the bicycle air dry.

Tip 2: Focusing on the Drivetrain

If you have a particularly dirty drivetrain (the gears, chain, and the little pulley wheels on your
derailleur) and want to get it sparkling you will need the following:Bike running smooth supplies

 

• Degreaser
• A stiff bristled brush
• Rubber gloves
• Protective eyewear

 

  • First: Start by applying a liberal amount of degreaser to the chain, gears, and derailleur pullies (pay close attention not to direct degreaser toward the center of either gear set, this could drive degreaser into bearings that need to remain lubricated).
  • Second: Once well saturated, begin freeing up dirt and debris by scrubbing back and forth with the stiff bristled brush.
  • Third: After you have broken up all the contaminants, rinse the drivetrain with a warm soap/water solution.

Tip 3: Reapply Lubricant

Most areas of a bicycle are protected from the elements with rubber seals. Those seals do a good job of keeping lubricants where they are supposed to be. It also means that the only areas of a bicycle that can be lubricated without disassembly are the chain and cables.

 Lubricating the Chain

bike running smooth lubrication instructions

Proper lubrication is essential to keep your bike in optimal condition

  • First: To lube the chain, prop your bicycle up so you can freely backpedal. While backpedaling, coat the chain evenly with lubricant.
  • Second: Fold a rag around the chain between the lowest pully and the chainrings. Next, backpedal with your right hand, while holding the rag in place with your left. You want to try and remove all the excess lubricant you can. The chain will feel almost dry to the touch, and thats OK. Even though the outside of the chain seems underlubricated, there is still ample amounts of lubricant between the chains links and rollers.

Lubricating the Cables

If shifting of braking feels rough at the lever, you may need to lube the cables. Here’s how to do that:

  • First: Apply lubricant in small doses where the cable enters the housing (see below).
  • Second: Cycle the gears, or squeeze the brakes until capillary action draws the lube into the cable housing.

bike running smooth cable lubrication

Making sure your bicycle is clean and properly lubricated is essential to make sure your bike is in optimal condition.