Colbert shares his efforts to change a bike innertube

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There are right ways and wrong ways to fix a flat. I cringed a little bit watching Late Night Talk Show host Stephen Colbert take a screwdriver to his rear wheel, but that is one way to get the tire off the rim.

Bicycling across country nearly 40 years ago, my friend and I got so proficient at fixing flats that we could do it in about 5 minutes. As soon as one of us heard the pssst of air escaping, we’d hop off our bike, locate the puncture, use tire irons to remove that section of tube (with the wheel still attached to the bike), patch it, stuff the tube back in the tire, pump it up, and be on our way again.

Of course, that was back in the days before the advent of kevlar bike tires made such changes less common, and I got rusty. My last roadside tire change probably took 15 minutes or more. Patching a puncture takes far longer.

In addition to becoming rusty at flat-fixing these days, I’ve come to realize that the tube of rubber cement dries out between the infrequent patches. In fact, that’s something I can do tomorrow: Head to the local bikes store (they’re considered essential businesses in Washington state), buy a fresh patch kit, and attack those punctured innertubes draped all over the garage.

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1 comment

  1. Hi Gene – I reckon 15mins to swap out a tire is still impressive!

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one with a garage full of tubes waiting to be repaired. Must admit that, these days, I’m more likely to reach for a fresh tube than a tire patch. Throwaway society, I guess.


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