Patches, tubes, and other flat solutions.

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to get a ride in on some trails with a friend. He doesn’t ride a whole lot, but he keeps some pretty nice kit. While we were out he got a flat. It was a classic pinch, and he pulled out another tube, said he’d patch that one later. Unfortunately, the extra tube he was carrying around had been in his pack for a year or so, and it split when he pumped it up. It brought to mind an issue I think about sometimes.

Typically I don’t carry a tube with me when mountain biking. When on a road bike, I always carry a tube, but I’ve had this same thing happen where the tube basically dry rots in the pack. Of course, I always, regardless, carry a patch kit. I think maybe the difference for me between mountain biking and road biking is that I can patch the tube sitting in the woods, and the worst I have to worry about is what, a passing cyclist, or hiker? Ok, maybe a bear. At the same time, I’m not keen on sitting on the side of the road for any length of time. I mean, you just never know today, right? Especially when it comes to people behind the wheel.

On the flip side of that, when I went riding with my brother over Christmas, he stuffed a tube in my pack. Now, he has miles of mountain bike trail to get lost on, and tubes do come in handy sometimes. It’s not like he’s in one of my local parks when seven or eight miles of trail covers the whole loop, and it takes at max a mile or three to get out of the woods. If he can’t patch a flat he has to hike 10 or 20 miles sometimes.

So, I’m taking to carrying a tube with me now on my mountain bikes as well. I’ll just have to be more cautious about how long I carry it around with me, otherwise it’ll be useless. Speaking of useless, I was riding with a friend who got a flat and pulled out some of those new glueless patches. That held for about 3 minutes. As near as I can tell, those things are horrible.

So what about everyone else? Tubes? Patch kits? How do you feel about patching a tire on the side of the road? In the woods? Let me know.


3 thoughts on “Patches, tubes, and other flat solutions.

    • So they work for you short term? That’s handy to know. Any tricks to them, or just slap them on? When you replace them, do they just pull right off and leave a clean surface or is there a process you have to go through?

  1. The glueless patches can last a long time, but I don’t trust them as well — their adhesive is not very strong and the patch is basically held in place by friction. Every time I use a glueless patch on the road I always replace it with a vulcanized patch as soon as I get home — a vulcanized patch “melts” into the tire and will hold through anything. I posted a review of the glueless patches at:

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