How to Attempt to Fix a Flat Tire

You know how a to-do item in our modern world can actually take four separate steps, so by the time you cross that one action item off, it’s been 3 weeks?

That’s how fixing my bike tire is going.

I THOUGHT it was going to be simple.

Last week, my tire went flat between the time I got to work and when I went to retrieve it that afternoon.  I figured I’d run over something.  The next day, I searched my house but couldn’t find any bike tire patch kits – I thought I had one but, alas, it has found a way to hide itself somewhere.  Maybe it’s having a drawer-party with all the pens and hair ties I can never find.

This past weekend, I got to a store and bought a bike tire patch kit, and a weird product that guaranteed to patch my tire with bright green sludge.  I was sold on it – squeeze some into my tire, it said, and it would magically fix the tire.

So, there I am, last night after work, patches in hand, sitting on the concrete after having flipped over my bike.  It’s dusk – there’s still daylight left, but not much.  So I’d better hurry, I figure.

I get out the little plastic tools that came with my patch kit, and begin to free one side of the wheel from the rim.  It’s hard work but I persist, and eventually work the tools, and then my fingers, around the wheel.  Then I pull out the flat tire from between the wheel and the rim.  I run inside to get my bike pump – I’ve forgotten in my haste that pivotal component.  Just a few pumps of air, and there’s a hiss!  It’s a pretty obvious hole, and I am pleased.  I grab the patches and the scuffing tool.  The tool looks like a tiny cheese grater – I am suddenly a master chef making a delicious meal with Parmesan shavings on top, not a woman holding a rubber bike tire, sitting on the ground.  Scuffing the tire around the hole is supposed to help the patch stick.  I am pleased at each step that I’m remembering just how to do everything, from watching my uncle patch tires when I was a kid, and seeing it done at a Mike’s Bikes tutorial.

There’s a little sticker of a patch – I peel it off it’s backing and slap it onto the tire.  Blammo.  I just know it’s going to work.  I tuck the tire back into its home, remembering to be careful, as I don’t want the wheel to pinch the rubber tire when I put it back onto the rim.  I tuck the wheel back on with brute force.  The sun is setting – I know I have time to put the goop into the tire, and I want the back-up solution so that it’ll be a guaranteed hole-in-one.  I follow the instructions, and within minutes I am squeezing neon-green goo into my flat tire.  I put the bike pump on, start pumping, and in a minute, I hear the distinct whooshing sound of air as my tire deflates.

No worries, the goop bottle says – the goo holds micro-particles that will be forced right to the hole and will block it, “instantly” fixing my tire.

I roll the tire around, as the instructions say.  It deflates.  I inflate it again, to listen to the whirring sound as the air passes right back out to be free in the world.

My hands got dirty, I made my best effort, but my tire is still flat.

After all my efforts. My hands collected all the dirt that was on my tire–it’s clean now! Just not (correctly) patched.

That damned bike tire glop didn’t work for shit.

Slime Tube Sealant is a shitty product.

Luckily, my name stands for victory – it just doesn’t specify how long that’ll take.  I will be back to biking, on a tire that I fixed the flat on myself – eventually!





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