Any experienced cyclist knows that carrying a spare tube is an essential part of your gear for any ride. For many, the spare tube is often a used tube that is either still in working condition, or is a patched tube that nearly derailed a previous bike outing.
Regardless of the tube’s past, it needs to be deflated and folded correctly in order for you to not only save valuable space in your gear bag, but to ensure the tube isn’t damaged, and retains its functionality. After all, you never know when you’re going to need it.
Although it sounds simple, deflating and folding a bike tire tube isn’t as easy as you may initially think. Don’t worry, this quick guide will tell how to do it the right way.
DEFLATING THE TUBE
The first thing you need to do before folding and storing the tube is getting the last bit of air out.
Getting the majority of the air out is the easy part, but ensuring the rest of the air is gone takes a little more effort.
Presta valves are going to be easier than schrader valves.
Start off by getting all the air out that you can by letting the tire deflate on its own first.
Once the air is out enough to remove the tube, fold the tube in half, with the valve sticking outwards in the middle of the two halves. Carefully roll each side into itself, while you keep the valve depressed.
If you have a schrader valve, you can use different things to keep the valve engaged to make things easier.
You can wedge a pen cap inside, or even find something small like a ball bearing or small rock, and screw the dust cap onto the valve with it inside, pressing the valve stem and releasing the air.
FOLDING THE TUBE
After you’ve gotten all the air out, unroll or unfold the tube, fold it back in half again with the valve facing out, and carefully fold the separate ends back and forth on top of themselves equally on each side.
Once you’ve folded both ends up, use a soft string to keep the tube compacted.
Don’t use rubber bands, as they can eventually bond with the tube.
Once you’ve impacted the tube down, it’s best to fit the tube into an old sock, wrap it with a small rag, anything to keep the tube covered and protected. And make sure the valve isn’t touching the rest of the tube.
You can now fit the tube into your saddle bag, backpack, or whatever else you use to carry essential bike gear and tools in.
Properly storing your tube ensure that it will be ready when you need it. Never cram the tube, and never allow other objects to touch it. With just a little caution and the right methods, you’ll always have a tube on hand that is ready to go, and in usable condition.
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