Whenever you are out cycling there is a possibility of getting a flat tire. Glass, debris, sharp rocks and potholes can all puncture your tire and end your ride. This is why it is important to know how to change a bike tire. We talk about a traditional tire and not a tubeless tire!
Changing a bike tire is not difficult once you know the procedure and have some basic equipment. Investing some time into learning how to do it will save you the hassle and money (why pay for it in a bike shop when you can have it done in no time at all).
This is what you need; a completely new tube (do not patch the old one up and reuse it, it will not last and you will be back at square one tomorrow), a tire lever (or a small wrench) and a pump. Any pump will do, whether it’s a hand pump, a floor pump or an inflator.
The first thing you have to do is remove the entire wheel from the bike. If it does not unhook or it does not have a quick release button you will have to use a small wrench to remove the bolts. Once this is done deflate the tire completely by pressing on the valve stem.
Now comes the tricky part. You have to remove the inner tubing without damaging the tire. There are several ways to do this but here is the simplest one. Push the valve all the way up and insert a tire lever between the tire and the rim. Hook the edge of the rim with a lever and pull it out. Hold that edge in place (ideally, insert something between the edge and the rim, a screwdriver will do). Now continue to work along the rim of the wheel with the tire lever pulling out the edge of the tire until you work around the entire wheel.
Now that the tire is completely free to pull the valve out of the rim and slowly pull the tube out. Inspect the tube for punctures. Inflate it and locate the puncture to get an idea as to how it happened. Once you find it inspect the tire. After inspecting the tube you will know what to look for. It might be glass, a piece of wire or anything else. Carefully clean the inside of the tire with a cloth and repeat the procedure for the outside of the tire as well. You will want to make sure that nothing is caught in the thread of the tire or all of your work will be for nothing.
Once you are certain that you have cleaned the tire properly it is time to replace the tubing. Slightly inflate the new tube to make it easier to pop it back inside the tire. Start slowly, insert the valve into the rim and start packing the tire with the tube. After the new tube is in the tire inflate it a bit more so it takes the right shape.
Now it is time to pop the edges of the tire back into the rim. Do this carefully taking care not to damage the new tube by trapping it between the rim and the edge of the tire. Once the tire is completely set back to its previous position inflate the tube to around 20 psi and check the tire to see if everything is properly seated. If everything is fine inflate the tire to your liking (try not to exceed the recommended psi as overinflating damages the tube) and reattach the wheel back in place.
As you can see, it is not that difficult once you know the steps and are willing to put a little effort into it. After some practice, you will be able to replace a flat tire in under 15 minutes!