Outside magazine, March 1995
As disheartening as it looks, a wheel that's been banged into a shape that's slightly suggestive of a taco shell can usually be plied back into its proper tortilla flatness, even when you're on the trail. For less severe bends -- picture a warped record -- grab a spoke wrench. First, find the spot on the rim that's hitting the brake pad. If the rim is touching the left brake pad, it can be moved right by tightening a spoke originating on the right side, and vice versa. Turn the nipples counterclockwise to tighten the spokes, but don't crank them too far.
For bigger jobs, there's always brute force. Say a quick prayer to the rim god and slam the wheel on the ground. A severely bent wheel means that the rim is already trashed, so don't hold back. Figure out which way you want to move the rim, hold the wheel firmly at about five and seven o'clock, give it a good hard shot on the ground, and see what you end up with. It's worth a try when the alternative is carrying your bike home.