It is inevitable that at some point you will experience the deflating feeling that comes with a puncture. For those that have never tackled one before the important thing is not to panic.
As long as you are aware of the drill and have a repair kit and, ideally, a spare inner tube, then it shouldn’t be long before you are back in the saddle.
The simple, and quickest solution, is to leave the repair kit in your saddle bag and simply fit a brand new inner tube. Any repairs on the damaged one can be undertaken in the comfort of your home when you return.
However, if you are only a few miles into an ambitious route and the puncture is a minor one, it may be wise to opt for repairing the damage and saving your spare tube should a major rupture occur later, such as a blow out that cannot be solved by patching.
The first job is to remove the affected wheel. The procedure can vary depending on the individual model of bike so ensure that you are familiar with how to do it.
When buying from a specialist shop, it is a good idea to ask the assistant to run through the procedure.
The next job is to use a pair of plastic tyre levers to lift up the rubber from the wheel rim in order to pull out the inner tube.
Now you will be able to assess the extent of the damage. If it’s an aforementioned blowout, the first step is to check the tyre to see exactly how much of its surface has been damaged as we’re obviously not talking about a needle-type incision here.
If the hole or rip is substantial, then the chances are you are going to have to settle for damage limitation and head home.
Simply inserting a new inner tube will not work because the size of the hole will leave the replacement tube very vulnerable to the next stone or piece of glass you ride over.
You now have two options: either replace the wheel, pick up your bike and go home; or find a piece of cardboard that you can insert over the inside of the tyre rupture.
In the case of the latter option, which it should be stressed is only a temporary measure; you can then fit the new tube and make your way home on two wheels.
In the case of a small hole in the tyre surface, then inner tube repair can be undertaken. Take your pump and inflate the tube slightly, listening for the hiss of air that will betray where the rupture is.
Then go to work with your repair kit, using the glue and a patch from your kit. Inflate again and listen for any further hissing in case another rupture needs attention.
BEFORE slipping the tube back under the tyre, check the cause of the puncture isn’t still embedded in the tyre by running the finger tips around the inside of the tyre itself.
When you return home, it may be an idea to replace the repaired tube with a fresh one, retaining the former as an emergency spare.
The important thing is that when you next venture out, you are absolutely confident of the integrity of your inner tube. You will also be reassured that you have broken your duck in terms of puncture repair.
As a result you will respond to the next episode with greater confidence.