Optimize Your Ride: Patch up your relationship with inner tubes

Our optimization specialist
Tori Bortman is here to help you
gain confidence in patching tubes.
(Photos: Daniel Sharp)

Most folks don’t like to patch tubes for many reasons: “It takes too long,” “it never holds,” or “I just carry a new tube.” Carrying an extra tube will only get you through one flat per ride, and occasionally the new tube will fail. I’m always a fan of carrying a patch kit — and knowing how to use it can make the repair quick, easy and practically pain free.

A standard patch kit comes with three things: a patch, some “glue,” and a small piece of emery cloth. All of these are of equal importance in the success of the patch holding. More on this—and pre-glued patches—later.

A properly patched flat is as reliable as a new tube! Even if you don’t patch on the road, bring your bum tube home and repair it for the next ride. Ready? Here we go…

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Optimize your Ride: Fighting brake dust (and that horrible screech)

Make a clean sweep of grime.
(Photos: Daniel Sharp)

When you break it down, your bicycle only needs to do two things: Go and stop.

In our last column we discussed the go (chains), today we’ll delve into the stop (brakes).

The Pacific Northwest is known for many things, but one of the most insidious is the slow, grinding away of bike rims and brake pads. I’m no scientist; but my deduction? Our volcanic soils create tiny pumice particulate, which on rainy days get splattered all over your rims and brake pads turning them into tiny grinding stones.

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Optimize your Ride: Working on the chain, gang

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Publisher’s note: This article was written by Tori Bortman. In the coming weeks, Tori will help you Optimize Your Ride by sharing her bike repair tips, tricks and perspectives.

Lube it up, wipe it down.
(Photos by Daniel Sharp)

Today’s topic: the chain.

The chain is one of the easiest parts to maintain on your bike; but for some reason, it’s also the most neglected. Maybe some of you are intimidated by chain-tenance? Don’t be. Here’s all you need to know…

Choose a good lube. Look for one that’s not too thick or thin, preferably with a solvent mixed in. My favorite is A.T.B. Lube (which stands for Absolutely The Best). I’m a fan because I want maintenance on my bike to take as little time as possible. Go ahead. Call me lazy (I prefer “efficient”).

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