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How to repair a puncture – video

Knowing how to repair a puncture is an essential skill that every cyclist needs to master. It can be daunting for the inexperienced but only takes a few minutes once you know what you’re doing.

In this video, BikeRadar’s James Tennant explains how to carry out the task in a step-by-step walkthough, which demonstrates the procedure on a mountain bike.

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Need to stock up on tools before you start? You can purchase Park Tools used in the video at a number of dealers across the UK and internationally.

Here’s written instructions for those who prefer them to visual demos.

1 Find the puncture

Starting at the valve, check all the way around the tyre’s tread to find the cause of the puncture. Remove any glass or grit that you spot. Even if you find one possible cause, continue checking the tyre until you get back to the valve.

1: 1

2 Remove the tube

Let the air out of the inner tube and push the valve up into the tyre – unscrewing and retaining the valve ring, if fitted. On the side of the wheel opposite the valve, slip a tyre lever under the tyre’s bead and a further tyre lever about 5cm away. Pull the nearer tyre lever (available from all good bike shops) towards you, lifting the tyre’s bead over the edge of the rim.

Continue until one bead of the tyre is completely free of the rim. Pull the tube out. Remove the tyre completely from the rim – with most tyres this can be done by hand unless exceptionally tight.

Note: it’s not always essential to remove the tube from the tyre, as the video above demonstrates.

2: 2

3 Inflate the punctured tube

Inflate the tube and listen for air escaping. Passing the surface of the tube over the lips is a favourite trick of mine. If the hole still can’t be found, re-inflate the tube and pass it through a bowl of water until you spot escaping bubbles. Then dry the tube before proceeding to the next step.

Take care – do not twist a push-fit pump on the valve. The pump should be pushed on straight and pulled off with a single straight pull. The stem nut can easily be broken off if the pump is twisted sideways.

3: 3

4 Prepare the tube

Select the correct size of patch – use a bigger rather than a smaller patch if in doubt. Roughen the surface of the tube around the hole with emery paper. Ensure that any moulding marks are flattened completely. Apply one drop of tyre cement and spread it thinly with your finger over a 2cm circle around the hole. Allow to dry. Apply a second thin layer similarly. Once again, allow to dry – the rubber cement will change from shiny to matt.

4a: 4a

4b: 4b

5 Patch the tube

Inflate the tube slightly – this will help to highlight the position of the hole. Firmly press the patch into place after removing the backing foil. If there’s a thin cellophane backing on the patch, it can be left on. Dust the repair with chalk, talcum powder or road dust to prevent it sticking to the tyre casing.

5a: 5a

5b: 5b

6 Check the casing

Before refitting the tube, double-check the tyre casing from inside for the cause of your puncture. On one occasion after riding a canal towpath with hedge clippings, I found over half a dozen thorns! Placing the tube over the tyre will help to you to discover the position of the puncture. Run your fingertips carefully around the inside of the tyre to feel for the cause of the puncture and remove.

6: 6

7 Refit the tyre

After repairing the tube and checking the tyre for glass, thorns or any other sharp debris, refit one bead to the rim. Slightly inflate the tube and refit it to the rim, putting the valve through its hole first. Starting at the opposite side of the rim to the valve, use your thumbs to lift the tyre’s bead (the part of the tyre that connects the rim to the wheel) over the rim. Work around the rim until there’s just one small section of tyre left. Push the valve up into the tyre and then, using your thumbs, ease the remaining section of the tyre’s bead over the edge of the rim.

7a: 7a

7b: 7b

8 Make final checks

Check that the tube isn’t trapped between the rim and the tyre bead. Inflate to the point where the tyre feels soft but has maintained its shape. Check that the moulding mark around the tyre follows the rim evenly all the way around. If not, deflate a little and ease any high spots down and pull low spots up until the bead is fitted evenly.

Inflate to the recommended pressure and check once again that the tyre’s bead is still seated evenly and that the tyre isn’t lifting off the rim at any point. Finally, check that the tread is running reasonably straight by spinning the wheel. If not, deflate the tyre and start again from the beginning of this step.

8: 8

Puncture fixing tips

  • When taking the tube out of the tyre, note which way the tube was around in the wheel. This will help identify the position of the hole in the tube once the position of the object in the tyre causing the puncture has been found.
  • With a ballpoint pen, mark the hole with a cross so you can pinpoint it accurately.
  • If you don’t have any emery paper, roughen the tube by rubbing it against a stone or the road surface.
  • For tyres that blow off easily: fit a thicker rim tape or a second rim tape – this prevents the tyre bead sinking into the rim well and blowing off the opposite side.
  • For tight tyres: fit a thinner rim tape if possible – this will make your tyres easier to fit and remove.
  • Be very particular with your technique. The last section of the tyre to be fitted to the rim should be at the valve. Make sure that the tyre’s bead is pushed as far as possible into the well of the rim. Some very tight-fitting tyres may need tyre levers to fit them. Using VAR 425 special tyre levers will help to prevent puncturing the innertube when refitting the tyre.

Puncture identification

Two small holes in a tube placed fairly close together indicate a pinch puncture. This is caused by the tube getting trapped between the tyre and the rim when riding over a sharp object. Tyres not inflated hard enough are a frequent cause of this. Check that the tyre’s sidewall isn’t cut. If it is, you may need to use an emergency repair – see the ‘Emergency tyre repairs’ section below.

A hole on the inner side of the tube indicates that the puncture was caused by a spoke head. Check around the inside of the rim to ensure that the rim tape properly covers the spoke holes and no spoke end protrudes above the inner surface of the rim. If this happens it’ll need filing down.

A less common cause of a puncture is a rough edge to the valve hole rim. The puncture will be at the base of the valve and will not be repairable.

Puncture inspection: puncture inspection

Puncture inspection: puncture inspection

Create your own puncture kit

  • Feather edge patches
  • Rubber solution
  • Pair of plastic tyre levers
  • Piece of fine emery paper
  • Small adjustable spanner, if using wheels with hex nuts
  • Allen key if using Allen-bolt-fitting wheels
  • Reliable pump
  • Keyring LED – useful if you’re riding in the dark with a dynamo
  • Always carry a spare tube too.

Pump aside, all this should pack in an underseat bag.

Puncture kit: puncture kit

Weekly check-up

Check your tyres for cuts in the tread, swelling in the sidewall, or serious wear. Tyres with cuts, swelling or casing visible through the tread must be replaced. Remove any grit or glass embedded in the tread. Check your tyre pressures with a proper gauge. Tyres inflated to the correct tyre pressure will have fewer punctures and a longer life. The recommended pressures are normally marked on the sidewall of the tyre.

Use your spare

Repairing a puncture is very difficult in the rain as the patch will not stick to the tube. Instead, fit the spare tube that you always carry! The spare tube is also essential if a tyre blows off a rim, or if the tube is cut by the valve hole.

Emergency tyre repairs

Double over a largish section of heavy duty polythene. Trim off a piece 10cm wider than the gash and 5cm wider than the tyre. Remove the tyre from the rim. Wrap the double layer of the patch around the inside of the tyre casing centred on the slit or cut. With the patch overlapping each side of the casing, refit the first tyre bead, trapping the emergency patch.

Fit a new tube if necessary and inflate it a tad. Refit the second tyre bead with the patched section last. Check that the patch is trapped at both sides. Reinflate the tyre and trim off any excess patch. The patch will be held in place miraculously by the tyre’s air pressure.


Brand new trails launched in Northern Ireland – video

Northern Ireland’s mountain bike trail builders have put in some serious overtime in the last 12 months, cutting slick new singletrack and revamping old favourites.?

Now those trail builders can put their feet up, grab a beer and consider it a job well done, because OutdoorNI.com have made a brilliant video of the new trails, which range from downhill runs at Rostrevor to family-friendly green runs at Barnett Demesne. You can check it out here:

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Video: Brand new trails launched in Northern Ireland

About 60 miles (100km) of fresh new track and berms – including Ireland’s first downhill trails – have been opened at five centres at Rostrevor, Castlewellan, Davagh, Barnett Demesne Trails and Jumps Park and Blessingbourne, which are all within a 90-minute drive of one another.

There's off-road riding to suit most tastes: there's off-road riding to suit most tastes

There’s off-road riding to suit most tastes

It's been a slog, but the trail builders' work is done - with a little help from mother nature :

It’s been a slog, but the trail builders’ work is done – with a little help from mother nature

There's lush riding at five trail centres in northern ireland:

There’s lush riding at five trail centres in Northern Ireland


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How to clean and lube your bike – video

It’s easy to let muck build up on your drivetrain, but cleaning it up really isn’t difficult. Here is a 10-step guide that will get it looking like new – and running much better – in less than an hour. Getting rid of the grit from your drivetrain not only improves shift quality, but extends your bike’s longevity too.

It’s best avoid letting your bike get to the point where your drivetrain needs such a thorough clean – a five-minute hosedown, wipe down and application of lube straight after each ride will help keep your bike running smoothly, if not showroom shiny. But nobody’s perfect – least of all us – so here’s how to shift serious grime.

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Skill rating: Easy
  • Cost: Degreaser, grease, chainlube (approx ?15). Optional: Chain cleaner device (approx ?20)

Items you’ll need

  1. Chain lube
  2. Degreaser
  3. Clean rags
  4. Cog brush or old tooth brush
  5. Garden hose and water
  6. Chain cleaning device (optional)

1. Degrease chain

Step 1. degrease chain:

The chain is the most important part of the transmission. Over time, road gunk will be attracted to your lubed chain and that silky oil will turn into a chain-destroying grinding paste. There are plenty of safe degreasers and chain cleaning devices on the market to bring that chain back to life though. We like to use a chain cleaner because its enclosed nature avoids mess and gets the chain sparkling.

Watch our full Park Tool Maintenance Monday video guide on how to clean your chain, with or without a chain cleaner, here:

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Video: How to clean and lube a chain

The video also explains how to lube a chain – written instructions for this can be found in step 8 below.

2. Clean jockey wheels

Step 2. clean jockey wheels:

Use a little degreaser and a rag or brush to scrub the jockey wheels (not forgetting the insides of the mech arm). It’s possible to unscrew the jockey wheels from the mech arm, but it’s advisable not to unless you’ve got thread lock to reinstall the pivot bolts. We’ve seen too many rides ended by bottom jockey wheels falling out.

3. Clean rear sprockets

Step 3. clean rear sprockets:

Give the sprockets some flossing with your strip of rag or a special cog brush. A little degreaser can be used if it’s really filthy. The cleaner you can keep your sprockets, the faster they’ll shift and the longer they’ll last. Remember – dirt acts like a grinding paste when in contact with any part of your transmission, so get rid of it.

4. Clean chainrings

Step 4. clean chainrings:

Remove the worst grit from the chainrings using a brush – much like the cassette, the teeth of the chainrings will hold dirt and increase wear.

5. Rinse

Step 5. rinse:

Once you’ve cleaned all the above parts, rinse them off with water to ensure the degreaser won’t contaminate the lube. Be sure to use a gentle flow of water and always point it downwards, never directly at the bearings.

6. Wipe chain

Step 6. wipe chain:

Use a soft rag to wipe the chain completely clean – you’ll be surprised what comes off a clean-looking chain. Try to massage the links, moving them through as wide a range of movement as possible – this helps expose the sections of link that are normally hidden from view.

7. Lube jockey wheels

Step 7. lube jockey wheels:

Lube the jockey wheels at the point they spin. They only need the very lightest touch of lube – they’ll pick up enough from the chain as it’s used. Remember, these little wheels attract a lot of dirt, and with lube being sticky, it doesn’t pay to make matters worse by overdoing it. Wipe the excess away with a rag. They should look dry.

8. Lubricate the chain

Step 8. lubrication:

Apply lube only when the chain is clean and dry. We prefer to lube the chain as little as possible, with as light a lube as we can get away with. Use a dripper bottle because it’s easier to apply accurately, with minimum waste. Coat the whole chain, spinning the cranks to force the lube into the links. That’s where lube is most useful, not on the outside plates, as many believe. Wipe excess lube away with a clean rag.

9. Unclip cables

Step 9. unclip cables:

Set the rear gears into the largest rear sprocket and then, without letting the rear wheel spin, shift into the smallest rear sprocket. This will free up some inner cable and allow you to pop the outers from the slotted cable stops on the frame. With the cables now fully unclipped from the frame you can inspect, clean, re-lube and reinstall everything. Note – for frames with internal cable routing, this step may not be possible.

10. Wipe and lube cables

Step 10. wipe and lube cables:

Slide the outers to expose previously covered sections of inner cable. Give the entire inner cable a wipe over with a section of rag soaked in degreaser. If you come across any sections that are rusty or fraying, replace with a new inner cable. Most dry cables can be reinvigorated with a little light chain lube.

Extra tip: lube front mech

Extra tip: lube front mech:

Front mechs often suffer from neglect. They’re hard to access and are often jammed full of grit and drier than a cracker. We recommend giving them a thorough wipe and applying a little chain or penetrating oil to the pivots to get it swinging right again.

Pro tip: chain wear

Chains wear and will ’stretch’. When this happens, the cogs and chainrings will wear to match the lengthened chain. There are basic tools available to measure chain wear. Replacing the chain before it wears is cheaper than leaving it to wear and needing new chainrings and cassette. How fast a chain wears depends on many factors – riding style, weight, riding conditions and how well you follow the previously outlined steps. On average, expect to replace your chain every 2,500-3,000km on a road bike and closer to every 1,000km on a mountain bike.

Finally, here’s a video featuring some of our best tips, as mountain bike beginner Emma talks you through cleaning your bicycle:

Pro tip: chain wear:

Video: Mountain bike beginner Emma talks you through cleaning your bicycle


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Maintenance Monday: How to change a gear cable – video

Mountain bike gear cables can snap or wear out over time, or can attract dirt or become corroded, all of which stops your bike shifting smoothly. Fitting a new gear cable is simple though, and doing so will keep your drivetrain in good working order for longer.

In the first of a new series of videos called Maintenance Monday, BikeRadar’s James Tennant explains how to carry out this task in a step-by-step walkthough. He also shows you which tools you need to do it and even offers a few pro tips along the way.

We’ve demonstrated the gear cable change on a mountain bike, but the procedure is similar for a road bike.

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Video: How to change a gear cable

Need to stock up on tools before you start? You can purchase any of the Park Tools used in the video at a number of dealers across the UK and internationally.

Maintenance Monday will be running every week for the next year, so look out for a new video every Monday. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the BikeRadar YouTube channel to make sure you never miss an installment.

If you prefer written instructions, check out this older article.


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How to fix a puncture video

Knowing how to repair a puncture is an essential skill that every cyclist needs to master. It can be daunting for the inexperienced but only takes a few minutes once you know what you’re doing.

In the video below, produced in association with Unior tools,?Mountain Biking UK magazine’s Doddy gives a step-by-step guide to fixing flats. He shows how to remove the punctured inner tube from your wheel, locate the hole, prepare the area for gluing and attach a patch.?

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Click here for a quarter-screen version of the video.

And here’s another video, as mountain bike beginner Emma demonstrates how to change an inner tube when you don’t have the time to fix a puncture.

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Bike Nest: For Those Tiny Ass Apartments

Live in a tiny tiny tiny apartment, don’t want to keep your bike outside? Try bike nest.

Mary Burke launches gubernatorial campaign in Wisconsin

MADISON, WI (BRAIN) — Former Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke announced her bid for the Wisconsin governor’s mansion on Monday with a three-minute video that featured the bike company her father founded in a Waterloo, Wisconsin, barn. Burke, a former state commerce secretary, is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for the governor’s seat. She hopes to replace GOP incumbent Scott Walker, who survived a recall election last year.

This…This…This Is Amazing!

As a wise person once said, “haters gonna hate.” But Hate aside, this is amazing. I am SOOOO SICK of the same old boring ass stick in the mud shit that comes out all the time. This, and the recent urban cycling guide, both display a sense of humor that is sorely lacking in these gloomy times.

Do the MBTA safety dance!

(And yes I know this has nothing to do with cycling, but just look at it! How could I not post this?!)

By admin on September 27, 2013 | Folding Bicycle, Safety
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Trials legend Martyn Ashton suffers severe back injury

Mountain bike trials legend and YouTube star Martyn Ashton continues to recover in hospital after an accident where he dislocated two vertebrae in his back – but has vowed to finish the video project he had almost completed. ?

Ashton fell backwards off a 3m-high bar and “hit the groud with significant force” at the Animal WD40 Action Sports Tour at the Silverstone circuit, according to a statement released Thursday.

The initial prognosis of the injury is not positive and Ashton is reported to have lost feeling below the point of injury to the T9 and 10 vertebrae – about halfway down the spine.

But the star of Road Bike Party video, which has more than 8.5 million YouTube views, said he is determined to see through a follow-up video he had been working on in secret. He said he felt like he had been doing some of the best riding in his career.

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?In the statement the 38-year-old said, “Since the accident I’ve received so many wonderful messages and well wishes, I can’t thank everyone enough for those – it has been hugely supportive.”

“My main focus this year was to make my next video Road Bike Party 2 – this has not changed. I’ve been training really hard on the new road bike and I’ve felt like I’ve been riding better on this video than I’ve ever ridden in my entire life,” he said. “I was so confident on that bike. Unfortunately we hadn’t quite completed the filming – we were so close – but thanks to the team behind me and some great friends I’m excited that we are close to pulling the final edit together.”

In 1993, Ashton won the British bike trial championship. Two years later, he went one better and won the world bike trial championship. Last year he made the phenomenally successful Road Bike Party in which he rode stunts on a Pinarello road bike.

In 2002 he set up his own company Ashton Bikes.


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Bike Lane Changes In Roslindale

A reader David sent in the following report about bike lanes in Roslindale/JP Area:

In the October 2009, bike lanes were added to Washington Street between Ukraine Way (just south of Forest Hills) and Roslindale Square. They added some convenience, and (some people feel) safety to the ride, and were generally perceived to be a useful development – an example of the city bringing bike facilities out into the neighborhoods.

In June 2013, the city added a handful of parking spaces on either side of Washington Street, just south of Ukraine, where previously there was no parking and just the bike lanes. They routed the southbound lane (the one in the video) around the parking spaces (you can still see the remains of the original lane). The northbound bike lane was replaced by sharrows when they added parking spaces to that side.

As you can see, to avoid the bike lane, vehicles need to make a pretty sharp swerve into a pretty thin car-and-bus-lane, and in the video taken at the time, almost none of them do. Same is true today, two months later, so there doesn’t seem to be any progress along the learning curve among the car-and-bus-enthusiasts who use the road. (Some might argue that without actual parked cars, there’s no need to respect the bike lane, but at the least, it means the paint will soon be worn off.)

The two buildings that the parking spaces were added for were built on MBTA-owned land, and (I thought) were considered transit-oriented development. Both buildings already have off-street parking, so there should be no need to put parking on the street.

This decision was made, I’m told, a while back, during the time that Boston had only an interim bike coordinator. I’m not aware of anyone in the bike community who was consulted, nor any public discussion of the change before it was implemented. Rumor has it that the decision to trash the lanes will not be changed.

I am not familiar with any of the facts surrounding the changes made to these bike lanes, or the people involved with them. But it is clear from the video that motorists have not “responded well” to the changes, aka they are driving in the bike lanes. This is a clear sign of poor planning, enforcement, or both.

If the car is truly no longer kind in this town, why do we continue to put on-street parking in? Especially considering this location is about a 3 minute walk to the T.

Anyone else have any information on these lanes, or how they got into their current configuration?