Unless your bicycle tires are made of solid rubber you are going to get a flat tire—maybe not this month, nor even this year, but you will get a flat. When I get a flat while out on a ride I use a self-adhesive tube patch so I can get back on the bike as soon as possible. These self adhesive patches are easy to apply: just roughen the tube a bit with sandpaper, wipe off the dust, then apply the patch. I’ve used these patches several times while on the road and they have always gotten me home safely. However, these patches do not hold nearly as well as those that use a vulcanizing solvent. Therefore, once I get home I always replace a self-adhesive patch with a Park Tool Vulcanizing Patch.
The Park Tool VP-1 Vulcanizing Patch Kit has four 25mm round patches, two 25mmx35mm oval patches, self-vulcanizing fluid, and sandpaper—all stored in a plastic box that measures 2.75″x1.5″x.75″. The instructions for use are printed on the inside of the box. To use these patches you need to roughen up tube with the included sandpaper and wipe off the dust. Then spread a thin layer of the self-vulcanizing fluid around the area you want to repair and allow it to dry before you apply the patch. Once the patch comes in contact with the self-vulcanizing fluid it will bond to the tube at the molecular level—this patch is permanent and good for the life of the tube.
The Park Tool VP-1 Vulcanizing Patch Kit retails for under $3 and is available at just about every bike shop in the United States. If you visit the sporting goods section at Walmart or Target you will see products similar to this one—and some of them actually work. However, the only patches I use are the ones from Park Tool.