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Bike Maintenance: Repair your Bike With Duct Tape
Bike Repairs With Duct Tape
Seven ways that duct tape can save your ride.
ByBrian Fiske
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At some point in my formative years, I heard someone say, "If you have duct tape, it ain't broke."


It's true. The supersticky gray-cloth tape is a proven, if temporary, solution to problems ranging from drafty windows to Apollo mission emergencies. (Look it up, you'll see.) A $2 flat-pack roll (9 feet; 1.7 ounces) fits easily into your hydration pack or jersey pocket, and will let you execute any of these seven bike repairs. Why only seven? We ran out of room.


Make a patch You already carry a patch kit for tubes, but duct tape can patch many other things, too. Sliced a sidewall? Placed inside the casing, the 1.88-inch-wide material easily closes the gap. Damaged your saddle? A liberal application of tape will hold it together and see you home. Ripped your shorts? Two bigger-than-the-tear pieces of tape--one covering from the inside, the other from the outside--should be enough to end your shame.


Hold your shoe Manage an unexpected sole separation or mesh upper blowout by sealing the worn areas with bits of tape. Good news here: Duct tape comes in a wide range of colors--even plaid--so you won't necessarily be stuck with silver highlights. Another foot/tape use: Apply duct tape to unexpected hot spots on your foot during epic rides and it will effectively prevent the development of a painful blister.


Cover your spokes Rim strips wear out and, inevitably, yours will quit in the middle of a century ride. A quick round or two of duct tape will prevent what might otherwise become frequent spoke-related punctures, though at a weight penalty. After the ride, visit the shop for a new rim strip.


Affix a light For a broken light or computer mount, tape the mount back in place. If you're not able to secure the light mount tightly enough, try taping the light itself, if it doesn't get exceptionally hot. Or, grab a flashlight from your pack and tape it to your bar. Use as much tape as you need to secure whatever you're taping--after all, the roll cost you only a couple of bucks.


Quench your thirst If you lose a bottle cage bolt, or break the cage itself, you may be able to hold the thing in place with a few wraps of tape and still not impede the bottle's removal, or at least ensure nothing falls off. The same goes for any dangerously loose accoutrements: Frame pumps, racks, panniers and more can be made secure with duct tape.


Immobilize an arm Bad things can happen to wrists, arms and shoulders in crashes. If help is far away, tape an injured arm in place or against the injured person's body, or use the tape to secure a makeshift splint until the experts arrive.


Get creative Tape a busted helmet clasp. Use a strip to hold sterile gauze over a cut or scrape. Wrap a dangly broken spoke around a neighbor spoke, and tape it safely out of harm's way. Use duct-tape paper (overlap 8-inch strips, sticky side up, then cover with more strips, sticky side down), to fashion protective pouches for your multitool, tube and pump, or a wallet for ID and emergency cash.

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As a long distance AT hiker, duct tape becomes very valuable. The only thing it can't be used for is toilet paper.
Carrying duct tape with me as a repair resource did not occur to me. However when I do a century ride I use duct tape to affix my GU gels to the top tube so that I can just rip them off one at a time. While doing Florida Ironman 2012, there is a section of road that is extremely bumpy, this caused my gear shifter to come out of the carbon fiber aerobar that was housing it. I would put it back and it would wiggle out.I tore a piece of duct tape off my top tube, wrapped the shifter, and jammed it back in. I made this repair without stopping. Worked like a champ. I do also suggest keeping some cable ties with you as well. I get mine from I keep some cable ties in my Bento box. I have used cable ties to repair bottle cages. Even use them as the primary connection device for cages on carbon frames with no holes right where I want them. If duct tape is the cement, cable ties are the re-barb.
When cycling ( mountain biking as an example ) all we have in our backpack is our wallet, a few energy bars, cellphone and maybe some extra liquids, especillay if we're hitting a long trail. It has never crossed my mind to have a good old roll of duct tape in the backpack while on a trip. From now on a roll of duct tape will be in my rucksuck at all times.
I rode the last 120 miles of a double century (Fireweed 200 in Alaska) on a tire held together by duct tape. The side wall split occurred no where near a bike store, but the duct tape held up through Thompson Pass, including a long descent.
As an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, we learned that duct tape can be used for almost everything... except toilet paper!
Look up duct tape plane.