Quick Fixes for Cyclists: Fix a Flat With a Dollar

Broken spokes, dropped chains, soggy shoes—a lot can go wrong when you're on the road. Learn these simple tips and nothing can slow you down.

    Photo: saap585 via Shutterstock

The situation:  You joined a fast-paced group ride and are heading back home. Suddenly, you hear a hostile hiss of air flowing from a dime-sized gash in your tire and feel the rim dig into the pavement. The tire’s shot and you’re down to your last tube. If you just fix the flat, the tube will stick out—and blow once you start riding. What’s your move? 

The fix: Pop off one side of the tire and run your finger along the inside, checking for debris like thorns or nails that can cause another flat. When you’re through, replace the ruined tube with your spare.

Next, take out a dollar bill and fold it in half or in quarter. Lay it on the inside of the tire between the gash and tube.  Be careful to keep the bill aligned with the hole as you set the tube—it helps if it has a little bit of air in it—around the wheel. Mount the tire, inflate the tube, and if you’re lucky, you might still catch the other riders.

Not riding with cash? Kreidl recommends using the wrapper from your energy bars or gels as a tire boot. And if all else fails, duct tape also works. Wrap the tape around your multi-tool so you never have to make the embarrassing call to friends for rescue.

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