I was running late Saturday morning, and rushing a bit to get ready for my ride. The cool morning had something to do with it. For some reason, I have to push myself to get out the door when the weather turns cool. I figured if I waited an hour or two longer than usual, I’d be able to ride in more moderate temperatures.
It was well after noon before I finished all the around-the-house chores I’d set for myself, and I was finally able to climb into some cycling clothes. I filled my water bottle, grabbed my cycling computer, and went out to the garage to get the bike.
The front tire was flat. I had ridden the day before, in late afternoon, and had no problems. But I must have hit something on that ride, because even though I made it home all right, it was clear I was going nowhere this morning until the tire got fixed.
I pulled the tire and got the tools out of my seat bag, then headed for my personal bike repair venue — the kitchen. I pulled the tube from the tire, but couldn’t find a puncture. I ran my hands around the inside of the tire, and found nothing with a sharp edge. So I pumped up the tube, filled the kitchen sink with water, and slowly rotated the tube under water to find the source of the leak.
I found it — a tiny blemish on the tube that was leaking one air bubble at a time. I took the tube from the sink, ran a towel around it, let out all the air, and found a patch kit.
Ten minutes later, I had a patched tube (it was one of the better quality tubes I own — I have a bunch of low quality cheapies) and in short order, it was in the tire, mounted on the rim, then on the bike. I took off for my ride about 20 minutes after discovering the flat.
Normally, I would replace the punctured tube with the spare I carry in my seat bag. I thought about doing that this time too, but since I was at home and working in comfort, rather than outdoors miles from home, the patch seemed to make sense.
I’ve got a lot of patched tubes in the garage — some with three or even more patches. And I’ll be spending one cold, dark, winter evening sometime soon with a little chore:
All of these tubes need to be patched. I’ll do it, too. Riding on patched tubes is not an issue for me.
How about you? Are there situations where you would patch a tube rather than replace it? Do you ride on patched tubes at all? And do you have a favorite brand of tube? (Seems we talk about favorite tires a lot, but no one ever mentions their tube preference — if any.)