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On changing a bike tire …

Pam LeBlanc

Editor’s note: This article was originally published June 5, 2013

Here’s the embarrassing truth: I suck at changing bike tires.

Twice so far this year, I’ve had to call my husband to come rescue me when I flatted out halfway to work.

I know. Ridiculous.

It’s not that I’ve never changed a bike tire. It’s just that usually Chris is with me when I get a flat, and he knows it’s faster if he just fixes it himself. Then I got in the habit of relying on him to change tires for me. Then I had a pair of tires on my commuter bike that even he said were tricky to remove in order to change the tube.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

All sorry excuses.

This weekend Chris gave me a tire-changing clinic on the back patio.

I can - and have - changed a car tire. I find it expowering. This, I decided, could be the same.

He supervised and doled out handy tips as I removed both the rear and front tires, replaced the tubes, popped them back on my bike and pumped them full of air.

Snap. Not hard at all.

There are a few tricks to doing it smoothly, which Chris shared with me. Like using leverage and angles to make the job easy.

At the end, I asked him if I’d passed.

Yes, he said.

What letter grade did I earn, I asked.

C, he said. I’d done the job adequately, but need more practice.

I’m pretty sure I’ll get it…


I wrote the preceding blog just before I rode my bike home last night.

Halfway up Lamar Boulevard, I felt my rear tire go squirrely.

Yep. A flat.

Using my recently perfected bicycle-changing skills, I quickly flipped the bike over like a roped calf, used my levers to unseat the tire and removed the tube. I slipped in a new tube, used a CO2 cartridge to inflate it and reattached the brakes.


I hopped back on my bike and resumed my pedal up Lamar.

Until, a couple miles later, I got another flat.

Sigh. No more tires. No more CO2 cartridges. Even with my newly perfected skills, I couldn’t fix this one.

I called for reinforcements.

And a margariha.

The good news? I’m confident in my tire-changing skills. The bad news? I’m getting a lot of practice.