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How to Repair Common Bike Problems on the Trail

These solutions to common bike problems can get you out of the woods, or at least to the nearest bike shop or car.


  • Step 1: Carry supplies Carry a tire repair kit, pump, adjustable wrench, oil, spoke wrench, chain tool, and set of Allen wrenches with you when you ride.
  • Step 2: Fix flat tire Fix a flat tire by using tire levers in your repair kit to get the tube out. Re-inflate and patch the tube. Check the inside of the wheel for sharp objects before putting the tube back in.
  • TIP: Carry a spare inner tube. Punctures are easy enough to fix with your repair kit, but a patch won't be large enough to cover a tear or rip in your tube.
  • Step 3: Address brakes malfunction Loosen the brake pads and realign them using your wrench. Tighten the cables if they become slack or loosen them if the pads rub against your rims.
  • Step 4: Fix wobbly wheel Look straight at your wheel as it spins to find where it's rubbing. Use a spoke wrench to true the bad spots.
  • TIP: If your wheel is shaped like a potato chip after a crash, lean it against a tree and kick it back into shape with your foot.
  • Step 5: Fix stuck chain Spin your pedals while applying oil to the chain. If the chain is broken, use a chain tool to push out the pin, remove the bad link, and reconnect at the next one.
  • TIP: Don't push the chain pin all the way out of the chain link or you won't be able to get it back in. When it's almost out, you can wiggle the links apart.
  • Step 6: Cranks and brackets Tighten the bolt that holds your pedal cranks on if they feel loose or make noise. Jimmy the bottom bracket lockring with a flathead screwdriver to adjust or clean it.
  • Step 7: Diagnose shifting problems Diagnose shifting problems by checking the condition of the derailleurs and cables. Switch from index to friction mode if your gears still skip or won't change.
  • FACT: The multi-use Trans Canada Trail will be over 9,000 miles long when it's completed -- the longest trail in the world.

You Will Need

  • A tire repair kit
  • A bike pump
  • An adjustable wrench
  • Bike oil
  • A spoke wrench
  • A chain breaker tool
  • A set of Allen wrenches
  • A flathead screwdriver
  • A spare inner tube (optional)

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