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Sustainable Living: DIY Change a Flat Bike Tire

I can firmly say I’m all in when it comes to doing things for myself – like reasonable things that won’t potentially rip a finger off. But for full transparency, I have been an avid bike rider since I was four years old – the definition of avid being 3 cross-state rides, a century, and a bunch of charity rides, and I have never changed my own flat tire until this morning.

Earlier in the season, my husband got a flat, and as usual we dropped it off at the bike shop around the corner from our house. And, as usual we felt like we got ripped off. This is a very perfect example of what i call the cost of convenience. He paid almost $50 because the bike shop convinced him he needed a new tire, not just a tube.

That was all we needed to declare that changing our own flat bike tires was now going to be added to our agenda of DIY tasks.

So over the weekend I got a flat tire, thankfully while my bike was on the bike rack coming home from our ride.

Now I’m all for YouTube University, as I call it, for showing me what I need to do. However I could not find anything on how to remove the back tire of a Hampton Cruiser. So here it goes…



3/16 Allen wrench

Phillip’s screwdriver

Adjustable wrench

Bell Tire Levers, Black

Bike Tube – I chose to go with the Slime Smart Tube Presta Valve Bicycle Tube (26 x 1.75-2.125) because a.) we purchased this product previously for my son’s bike and it was put to the test and worked. b.) the Slime tube cost less than 2 tubes so even if it only held up once, it still saved money and more importantly the hassle of changing a flat tire.

The hardest part about changing a flat tire is removing the back wheel – unless you have a quick-release, then it’s a snap. I don’t have a quick release.

Here is how to remove the back tire on a Hampton Cruiser – it may be similar for other bikes, too.

1. Use your 3/16″ Allen wrench to unscrew the gear contraption that is covering the tire bolt on the side of the chain.

2. Adjust your wrench to fit on the bolts on either side of the axel that hold the tire on. Unscrew.

3. There is one more pesky attachment on the side of the kickstand.. You’ll see that you need a Phillip’s screwdriver AND a wrench (on the opposite side) to remove this.

4. Once everything is unscrewed you can push the wheel towards the frame, making it easier to pull the chain off.

Now your wheel is removed and you can proceed with replacing the busted bike tube.


Basic Directions for How to Change a Bike Tube:

1. Hook one tire lever into and under the bike tire where it tucks into the wheel frame. Secure it in place by hooking the opposite end of the lever onto the nearest spoke.

2. Take the second tire lever and run it along the tire lip all the way around the tire, opening one side of the tire. Mine pretty much completely came off the wheel frame.

EORtire_levers  3. Remove the old tube.

4. Replace with your new tube, starting with threading the air nozzle through the tire. Then tuck it in all around the tire.

5. Start to push the tire back onto the frame, holding it in one place and working the rest on. You’ll need the tire levers at the farthest point to pop the rest of the tire back on the frame.

You can pump up your tire now, or put it back on your bike and pump it up – which ever you prefer!

How to Repurpose Your Old Bike Tube

I hope you didn’t think I’d leave it at that…with a rubber tube laying in waste!

Here’s a few thoughts on what to so with your old bike tire tube.

1. Patch it and reuse it. I could have done this in the first place but I wanted to have that self-healing tube instead. But, now if my front tire goes while I’m on a ride, I’m going to have this one in my bike bag for backup.

2. Use your tube for resistance training. My son started doing this because he “saw it on The Goonies.” Say goodbye to lunch lady arms with these arm exercises courtesy of your old bike tire tube.
EORrepurposed_tube3. Collect a few old tire tubes and weave them into a non-skid welcome mat.

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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2 Responses to Sustainable Living: DIY Change a Flat Bike Tire

  1. Riccardo October 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    We were repairing our tubes many times for our training bikes in order to save money. Going off road it happened that the tubes got a flat really often and then it was a need to find a way to easily repair them.
    The problem was to find the correct glue, withouth spending the money requested by shops for special tube reparation kit. Then we discovered that the common yellow glue used for wood and plastic stuff was the best for that purpose.
    This way we had to buy only the patches
    I hope this solution can help other people. :)

    • Eve October 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Thank you for the tip! Patching the tire is definitely the most eco-friendly solution.

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