Here’s How to Patch a Bike Tire and Get Back on the Trail ASAP


When you ride out on the trail, you may need to know how to patch a bike tire. There is nothing worse than finding yourself stuck out in the wilderness with a flat. What’s more, learning how to repair a tire can prove tricky.

Imagine you are 15 miles out from your destination. Suddenly, you are riding over sharp, uneven ground, and your bike feels sluggish and unresponsive. To your utter dismay, you discover that your bike has a flat tire.




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Punctures in your bike tires may not happen regularly; therefore, you must learn how to patch a bike tire should the eventuality arise. The last thing you want is a long hike back home because you find yourself stranded out on the trail with a flat.

With some essential tools and a little know-how, you can quickly and effectively repair your tire out in the field. It is always worth carrying tire levers, a spare tube, a tire plug kit, and a good quality bicycle pump.

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Once you have located the puncture, you can quickly insert a tire plug without changing any of the hardware. Moreover, once you pump your tire back up to pressure, you can return to your trail within a very short time.

However, there exist a few different types of puncture that you need to understand to learn how to patch a bike tire.



image by pixabay

There are three different types of flats you may experience out on the trail. A good indicator of the kind of flat you have is how it sounds. Does your flat make a hissing noise? Did you hear a loud bang? Perhaps your tire did both? To understand how to patch a tire, you must first understand the problem.


This type of flat includes pinch flats. Punctures usually make a hissing noise because you have gone over a nail or glass. The foreign object pierces the tube, and consequently, the air leaks out, and you end up with a flat.

The dreaded blowout

If your tire goes bang, then you have a blowout. A sudden tear in the tire causes a blowout. Blowouts tend to be catastrophic and require a change of tube. However, a large patch called a boot, may prove sufficient enough to get you home. A boot is nothing more than a makeshift patch folded several times and glued over the tear to allow you to pump the tire up.

While this type of repair is temporary, something as simple as a snack bar wrapper, folded over four to six times, and glued over the tear will form enough of a repair to get you home.

Deterioration flats

Deterioration flats can make a hissing noise or a bang. As the name suggests, time and age gradually wear out the rubber, causing it to either lose air over time or fail altogether. When you learn how to patch a bike tire, it is always worth getting into the habit of checking over your tires regularly. Check for cracks or bulges, which may indicate a looming deterioration flat.



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Most bikes have two types of tires, and it is crucial you know which type you have before you prepare your patch. Tubeless setups don’t have an inner tube. However, as typical as this type of tire is, you may find your bike does have an inner tube.

Using a plug for tubeless tires

A plug kit forms a fast and reliable repair for your deflated tire. The kits come complete with a small strip of rubber and an insertion device, which allows you to repair the hole without having to change any hardware. However, you will need to remove the tire first to locate the offending puncture.

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Once you find the hole and insert your plug, you can re-inflate your tire using your bicycle pump. Pump the tire up to the correct pressure. However, continue to check the puncture area as you pump up the tire to ensure no air escapes.

Once complete, you can start riding again. Initially, check the repair every so often to make sure it holds fast.

Patching a tube tire

If your tire has a tube, then you will need to remove the wheel. Keep your bike upright as you remove it. Additionally, if the puncture is in a rear wheel, then shift your drive-chain into the hardest gear. If your bike has rim brakes, then you will need to loosen the brake.

Take up a position

Position yourself on the non-drive side, opposite the chain and either open the quick release or unthread the thru-axle to remove the wheel.

Unseat the tire

Use a tire lever to remove the tire by hooking the rounded end under the bead. Fix the other end to a spoke before hooking the second lever under the bead next to the first tire lever.

However, you may not need to remove the entire tire to patch the puncture.

Locate the puncture

With the tire off, you can pull out the old tube to find the hole. Use your fingers to carefully feel your way around the tube until you find the offending sharp object or puncture.

If you cannot find the puncture, then you can pump a little air into the tube. Because the air will hiss out of the puncture, it should make your life easier when locating the hole.

Apply the patch

Once you have located the problem, use a patch repair kit
 to seal the hole. Wait until the glue goes tacky before applying the patch. Re-inflate your tube enough to allow it to hold its shape before placing it back inside the tire.

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Finish by re-installing the tire onto your bike before pumping the tire back up to its optimum pressure.


When you need to know how to patch a bike, you need to know what type of tires you have. Most bike tires these days don’t employ an inner tube. Therefore, it is always worth carrying a tire plug kit on your travels. However, tire levers, a bicycle pump, and a patch repair kit should still form your most basic tool kit.

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Do you have any hints and tips for patching a bike tire? Why not share your experiences by commenting in the space below as we would love to hear from you.

Featured image by: Pexels

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