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by Staff Writer
Riding bikes is a hobby that adults and children share. Cycling provides good exercise, and bicycle commuting is an environmentally friendly way to travel. If you spend any time on a bike, you should know how to change or patch a bike tire so you don't get stranded somewhere.
Remove the wheel from the bike. If your bike does not have a quick release, you will need a wrench to loosen the nuts holding the wheel to the frame.
Separate the tire from the wheel. Take one bicycle lever and place it in between the bike tire and rim. Then push the lever under the tire to pull the lip over the rim. On the same side, take another tire lever and slide it around the entire rim to release the rest of the bike tire. With one side of the tire free, you might be able to just pull the tire the rest of the way off the wheel or you can use the tire levers again to get the tire over the rim. Once the rim is off the wheel, the bike tube should easily pull out.
Find the leak. Inflate the bike tube to help find where air is being released. Running water over the tube can make finding the leak easy, as bubbles will appear. Rotating the bike tube close to some loose dirt or your cheek can also make finding the hole easier.
Patch the hole. The tire patch kit should include a small piece of sandpaper to rough up the tube. This sanding will help the patch stick to the bike tube. You will only need to rough a small area where the patch will be applied. Apply the patch over the hole, holding it for several minutes until it dries. Drying time for the adhesive will vary, based on which tire patch kit you use. Some patches might also require you to apply glue before applying the patch.
Mount the tire. Partially inflate the bike tube to check if the patch is holding. This will also make getting the bike tube back on the rim easier. Put the bike tube back inside the tire. Use the bike levers to get the tire back on the rim, being careful not to pinch the bike tube, which can create a new hole. Then reattach the wheel to the bicycle. Inflate the tire to the correct pressure.
Always carry a spare bike tube in case the tire can't be patched.
Inspect the inside and out of the tire before putting the tube back in it. You don't want the same thorn to re-puncture the tube you just patched.
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