|Once the tube is off the rim, the next step is to figure out where the leak is (unless you already know). We pump the tube up a little bit and 'listen around the tube' to see if we can hear air hissing out anywhere.|
|If we can't (i.e., it's a fairly slow leak), we take the tube to a bucket of water and look for bubbles. This happens a lot if it's a puncture leak, like we somehow managed to ride over a tiny pin at exactly the right angle.|
|There she be! Looks like solid B+ level work.|
|Work around the rim, popping the bead of the tire back into place, being very careful not to pinch the tube in between the edge of the rim and the tire. The job will get progressively harder as you near completion. Some say to avoid leaving the part by the valve stem for last, but we like to end at least near the valve stem because the tube is sort of anchored to the middle of the rim there and seems least likely to interfere with popping the last section of tire back onto the rim. It should be possible to pop the tire back on with just your thumbs, but it will take considerable effort. Fingertip pushups will help (over time), which is an additional translatable nugget from learning kung fu (in addition to manual almond chopping).|
|Time to flip it over and pump it up to test! If it holds, you can ride off into the sunset on your newly repaired bike (depending on which way you need to go).|
This method of patching bike tires is probably the most convenient available. It's also very inexpensive, but it's not quite homemade-enough for us. We'll continue working on this skill and report back when we have a more homestead-friendly version! In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on how to improve our technique, either to improve our results with this method, or a more DIY version, tell us about it in the comments section below!