The dollar bill trick

Buying a fountain drink in the middle of a long, hot ride: $0.99.
Being able to fix a flat tire despite the huge slice in your tire: priceless.

If you read “What you should carry with you on every ride” then you may remember the reference to the magic of the dollar bill. If you ever find yourself in the middle of ride with a big hole, cut, or separation in your tire, this dollar bill will come through as a simple, short-term solution.

You probably don’t carry an extra tire with you when you’re out riding—and I’m not suggesting you should—but without some sort of solution, replacing or patching your tube when you your tire is damaged probably won’t get you home. The problem with big holes, cuts, or other separations in the casing and or rubber of your tire, is that the tube can bulge out through these gaps, easily leading to a puncture. A dollar bill is a good, quick fix because it can help prevent the tube from bulging out of the damaged part of the tire. The wrapper from an energy bar or gel can also be used, but the shape of dollar bill is part of its effectiveness.

To use the dollar bill, replace or patch the tube as you normally would, then before reinserting the tube into the tire, inflate the tire just enough so it’s no longer in a flattened shape (your mouth provides plenty of pressure if you’re quick enough closing the valve stem. Now with the tube taking on it’s normal shape, wrap the dollar bill around the point in the tube that matches with the damaged portion of the tire. Fully insert the tube into the tire, checking to ensure the dollar bill in lined up correctly with the damaged spot in the tire. Once the tire is fully mounted, inflate the tube and you’re ready to ride. The dollar bill will hold the tube from bulging out of the tire, and you should be able to make home.

Paper money does not resist puncture the way a healthy tire does, and given many miles your money will start to get brittle and crumble. Trust me on that one. So once at home, you need to replace the tire and remove the dollar bill.

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