How To Fix A Flat Tire Without A New Tube Or Patch Kit

You’re miles from home with a flat and reach for your trusty patch kit, but it’s not there. Don’t panic. Use these in-a-pinch tricks designed to get you back on the road or trail in a flash!

Method 1 (aka Bush Fix )

This flat fix from would make any bush mechanic proud (see video above).

What You Will Need:

– A sunglass strap or shoe lace. (Don’t have one? Then see Method 2 for an alternative fix tip).
– Leaves or grass
– a pump

Step 1: Remove the wheel

Turn your bike upside down and remove the wheel. Then use your hands or a bike handle to separate one side of the tire from the rim.

Tip – It’s possible to fix a flat without removing the wheel, but much more difficult.

Step 2: Take out tube

Take out the deflated tube and determine the location of the hole.

Step 3: Use a sunglass strap

Wrap the strap from your sunglasses around the hole in the tube like a tourniquet, tying several knots around and next to the hole to create an airtight seal.

Step 4: Fill with leaves

Fill the tire with as many leaves as possible if you don’t have a strap. If there are no leaves available, fill the tire with grass, molding the grass to the outer part of the tire and working inward.

Tip – Make sure to fill the tire completely and evenly with the leaves or grass.

Step 5: Replace wheel

Put the tire back onto the rim and replace the wheel.

Step 6: Ride home

Ride directly and slowly home to avoid damaging your rim. Remove all the leaves or grass before putting in a new tube.

Method 2: (aka Knot Fix)

This great alternative trail side repair from is designed to get you home and all you need is a pump.

Step 1: Remove the wheel

Remove tire and flat tube. Figure out exactly what caused the flat in the first place as this fix can only be used once per tube. Using your pump to inflate the tube sightly will make finding the puncture much easier. It’s time to perform a bit of surgery once you’ve found it..

Step 2: Cut it in half at the puncture.

If you carry a folding knife or Leatherman you can use it to cut the tube across its diameter exactly where the puncture is located. If not, you’ll need to use the teeth on your chain ring to do the job. If your bike uses a single ring and guide, lift the chain up and off of the ring. Go carefully – the straighter the cut, the more likely it will hold air.

tube repair bush1 tube repair bush2 tube repair bush3

Step 3: Tie the two ends together in a very tight knot.

Keep enough slack to easily tie the two ends together in a tight knot, but don’t use too much of the tube length as it will make reinstalling the now too-small tube back on the wheel more difficult.

Step 4: Pump it up!

Pump some air into the tube once you’ve finished tying your knot, and check if any air is leaking at the new joint. You may have to undo your first few tries to get a tighter knot before it becomes air tight. The ”repaired” tube will now have a much smaller diameter, making it a bit trickier to install than when you first put it in. Put one side of the tire onto the rim and then work the tube up and onto the rim. Now install the other bead and pump up the tire to a bit less than your usual pressure. Remember that this repair is only to get you out of the bush – go around any jumps or drops that you would usually hit and ride well under your limits, stopping frequently to check the tire’s pressure. This is especially true if you’ve repaired your front tire.



Cover photograph by Kirsten Wilkins


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