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Do It Yourself: Replace a Popped Bike Tube #30DaysofGOOD

Got a flat bike tire? These simple instructions will get you back on the road.


Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do 30 Days of GOOD (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for July? Do It Yourself.

Summertime is perfect for cruising around on two wheels and enjoying fresh air. If a flat bike tire is keeping you off the road, don't fret. Today we're going to learn how to replace a popped tube.

A flat can happen for various reasons—something punctures the tube, the valve stem tears, or the valve itself develops a slow leak. Most common of these is a puncture, usually the result of a thorn hiding on the asphalt, ready to ruin your joy ride.

No matter the cause, a leaky tube is an easy replacement. You just need a few spare minutes, a new tube (which only costs about $5) and a couple basic tools. Grab some tire levers, a bike pump, and an adjustable wrench to loosen the nuts (if you don't have "quick release" wheels).

Watch the video above, then check out the instructions below.

• Remove wheel from bike. This may require disengaging the brakes, and if the axles don't have quick release, you'll need to loosen the nuts that connect the wheel to the bike frame using the adjustable wrench.

• Remove tire from rim. Place the tire levers between the tire and rim, spaced a few inches apart. Pry the tire forward from the rim, to pop the tire's bead loose. Work around the rim to keep peeling the tire free.

• Remove old tube. Don't discard—if the pop was due to a small puncture, it's possible to patch the tube and use it as a spare. If the pop was from something more severe, the tube can be cut up to use as patches.

• Inspect rim and tire interior. Check for burrs, sharp edges, or thorns. You'll quickly pop your replacement tube if the culprit of your flat is still in place.

• Install new tube. Make sure that you get a matching size (this will be written on the side of the tire) and the same type of valve (presta or schrader). Inflate the tube slightly to firm it up before inserting it into the tire. Slot the valve stem through the rim, taking care to make it straight, then push the tire onto the rim, moving around to get all parts of the bead to pop into place. Be extra careful that the tube doesn't get pinched between the tire and rim.

• Re-attach wheel to bike. Make sure that it is centered and pulled tight. Lock the quick release or screw down the nuts. Reset the brakes, fill tire with air, and you're ready to roll.

Read more of Mike Senese's DIY tips and projects at DO IT.

We're giving away $1000 for you to share your own DIY skills with others. Participate in our Host a GOOD Workshop challenge.

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