As the resident Gear Diary bicyclist, I usually get the first crack at investigating bike gear. Since I live and bike in an urban environment, flat tires are an unfortunate frequent reality of my cycling experience. That’s why I was excited to hear about the new Patchnride bicycle flat repair kit that promises quick and easy emergency rescues from flats.
Patchnride’s unofficial slogan is “Getting a flat tire sucks. We make it suck less.” I can identify with this emotion. I try to be a prepared cyclist, with a set of tire irons for removing the tire to access the tube in the event of a flat, a spare tube and either a CO2 cartridge or mini-pump to inflate the new tube. But there are a few problems with this scenario. First, when I’m on a serious ride, I usually have the full clown suit attire on with some cycling jersey with random Italian brand names emblazoned all over it, stretchy spandex/lycra bike shorts that usually have bib straps over my shoulders to help them stay up and specialized cycling shoes that clip directly into my pedals to improve efficiency and make it virtually impossible to walk in them.
This means that in the event of a flat, I’m dressed exactly wrong for doing repair work on the side of a road. Worst of all, most flats are the result of some glass or nails that are swept to the edge of the road by traffic. Yeah, I really like sitting on a sidewalk dressed up like Bozo as I wrestle with removing a chain from the rear tire and shredding my knuckles with tires irons as I battle with getting the tire off the rim while traffic barrels by and throws trash at me more often than you’d ever imagine.
I’ve also found myself in the unenviable situation of riding far from home when I ride through the the remains of some litterer’s 40 oz. malt liquor bottle which flats both my tires at once. Oops, I only had one tube, because despite the fact that I’m hauling 180+ lbs. on my bike and carrying a bunch of extra weight in water bottles, cycling computers, pumps etc., we silly cyclists like to try to do anything to shave a few grams off of our payload. Two flat tires + one tube = a long walk home (in those damn shoes) or an embarrassing phone call to a buddy with a bike rack on his car to come pick you up.
That’s where the genius of the Patchnride really shines. The device is a simple system that acts sort of like Fix-a-flat does for a car tire. If you get a flat, all you have to do is insert the needle of the Patchnride into the hole and then cycle the lever. This injects a liquid patch directly into the tube, which you can then quickly reinflate with a either pressurized cartridge or a pump. You don’t even have to remove the wheel to complete the repair, which is a huge plus. You can watch a short video of the whole repair process here.
The Patchnride is also a green solution because you don’t have to throw away a used flattened tube, but can instead repair it and keep on riding. Single use cartridges with the patch material are lightweight and compact, so there’s no difficulty stashing a couple in the back pockets of your jersey. (And if you get more than two flats on a ride, maybe you’d better look for a new place to exercise…)
The Patchnride is still just in presale, but if this sounds like something that interests you, the special deal is the Patchnride tool, two patch pods and two leak detectors for $25 (a $50 value) at www.patchnride.com. The pre-sale is a limited time offer so act soon. The Patchnride units will ship in Fall of 2014. See you on the road! (and hopefully not on the side of the road)