A lot of people talk about how horrible an experience fixing a flat tire on a Dutch bike (or any bike with a full chain case, hub brakes, internal gears, etc) is, and truly, if you really have to remove the rear wheel, you’re in for a bit of work. However, most flats don’t require you to actually remove the wheel to fix them, and honestly, it’s a breeze to fix a flat in the way I’m going to show you here.
This has also been documented by Todd of Clever Cycles, who certainly has more expertise at it than I (this being my first time).
We were at the grocery store the other night, and when we left, my wife asked me, “Do I have a flat? The bike feels really bumpy.” Sure enough, her rear tire (of course) was flat. Thankfully the grocery store is close by, so we just walked home, and while she started making dinner, I fixed her flat. If I was more practiced at it, and wasn’t taking photos, it probably would only take me 10 min or so.
Here’s how it goes:
It’s really handy to have a center kickstand for this, as it holds the rear wheel up off the ground, which makes this process simpler.
First off, you need to find where the hole is. If it isn’t obvious what punctured your tire, put some air in the tire, and listen for air escaping. In this case, it was a small piece of metal, which I took out when we saw it, because I didn’t want it to puncture through both sides of the tube. I just made note of about what distance it was from the valve, so I’d know where to go looking when we got home.
Once you find the hole, if whatever caused it isn’t still there, make sure to check the inside of the tire once you pull it off, to make sure whatever caused it in the first place isn’t still lurking around waiting to give you a new flat as soon as you hop on the bike again.
Once you’ve found the hole, let all the air out of the tire, and just pop enough of the tire off the rim to pull that section of tube out of the tire.
Next up, you need to find the hole in the tube. This proved a bit difficult in this case, because the hole was tiny. Click on the following photo to see the note in Flickr marking the hole, but it’s a tiny white speck right near the center of the photo.
Next, pull out your patch kit. There is a bit of sand paper included, use it to lightly scuff up the area right around the hole, and then apply a thin coat of the vulcanizing solution (I probably used a bit too much), slightly larger than the size of the patch you’re going to put on.
Make sure to let the vulcanizing solution dry for around 5 minutes. Then peel off the patch backing, and apply the patch to the tire. Press very firmly all around the patch to make sure the entire thing is making contact and is well-attached.
Stuff the tube back in the tire, pop the tire back on the rim, pump it up, and off you go.
This is really not intimidating, and honestly, it would probably even be easier to fix a flat this way on any other kind of bike, rather than pulling the whole wheel, tire and tube off to patch it, as long as the tube isn’t damaged beyond repair or the tire blown out. Give it a try sometime, and let me know how it goes for you!