I was supposed to be on a ride tonight – even though I felt a bit lazy. After a harrowing search through my cycling clothes drawer for a set of shorts fit for public viewing, I finally found one of the few pairs that didn’t have a hole in them, slipped into them and headed out the door.
Because I was feeling lazy, I thought I’d just do the loop I refer to as the “flats of Mechanicsburg” – a loop of, you guessed it, mostly flat riding. One particular section – about 4 miles into this loop – includes a busy local route, the Carlisle Pike. It’s one of those main area routes that is full of retail. The berm is nice and wide, but usually littered with stones and debris left over from fender-benders, etc.
Of course, it would have to be along that busy road where I had a tire blow-out. That’s the “after” picture (to the right) – taken after I had inserted a new tube and was pumping it up enough to get me to my local bike shop (where I’d partake of one of their full-size air pumps to finish the job). Fortunately for me, there was a nice big trailer I could hide behind – so I didn’t have to worry about pumping with poise along a busy road.
Once I saw the blow-out on the side of my tire, I knew I wasn’t trying to ride any further. So, I did what every good cyclist does in a situation like this…….called my wife to come pick me up! If I haven’t mentioned it before, my wife is great – and she’s come to my rescue several times over my years of cycling.
Anyway, to make this long story short, I only ended up getting about 4 1/2 miles in before my ride was done for the day. I came back and put a new tire on my rear wheel and put the bike away.
After a brief shower and dinner, I decided that I should finally take the time to tend to the holes in all of those shorts (see paragraph 1). Now, maybe you’re wondering why I have a bunch of shorts with holes in them. Then again, maybe you’re not – but you’re still going to get the explanation.
This past year, I found that my inner right thigh was rubbing on the velcro of the saddle bag I have hanging on my bike. It never happened before this year, so I can only guess that either my original seat has been used so much that it has thinned down over the years – OR – my legs are just plain fatter this year. Between you and me, I’m hoping it’s the former reason….
As a result of the friction, I’ve worn holes into the same exact location of several pairs of my cycling bibs – some even brand new from just this year! I hated to part with any of them. If you’ve ever purchased cycling clothes, you know they aren’t cheap! So, instead of buying new ones, I’d just pick certain rides to wear the holey pants. I didn’t want to risk a wardrobe malfunction at a busy intersection.
I did some searching online for some ways to fix cycling shorts – and didn’t find any cycling-specific products. On one cycling forum, someone mentioned that they purchased Iron Mend – a product marketed to divers to repair their wetsuits. The person in the forum said it worked really well.
So, I jumped over to Amazon and found it – for less than $10! For a price like that, it was worth the shot. It sure beat throwing my shorts out and buying new.
Iron Mend: The Review
The packaging for Iron Mend is interesting. You twist off the top to get to the one 10″ x 6″ pre-cut patch, a reusable Heat Shield and the Step-by-Step Instructions. Quite honestly, the packaging seems a little much for the product. A simple bag (think microwave popcorn shape) would suffice; however, it is easy to find in a cabinet or box full of bike gear.
Once you twist off the top, you pull the patch, Heat Shield and Instructions out. They are rolled up to fit in – which is ok for the patch (and even the Heat Shield), but I found it annoying to straighten the instructions to read them.
That being said, the instructions were very easy and step-by-step (just like the package said). Essentially, the steps are:
- Pre-heat Iron to low (delicate) setting.
- Place clothing on flat section of ironing board.
- Cut appropriately sized patch that cover 3/4″ over the hole.
- Place appropriately sized patch over hole – certain side down.
- Cover with Heat Shield.
- Press iron on top for 10 seconds.
- Pick up iron. Rotate it. Press down for another 10 seconds.
- Repeat, if necessary
That was it! Even those of us who are iron-ly-challenged can easily do this. The patches are noticeable up close – but I think they’ll be virtually invisible on my black shorts on the road (and if anyone is looking that close at my butt, more power to them).
I did use the black patch on some shorts that were gray. That patch is obvious – but it beats the alternative of flesh-colored areas peeking out. I know the motorists and my cycling buddies will agree to that.
It would be nice to be available in a few other colors, but the reality is that most shorts are black (as, I suppose, are wetsuits) – so that’s probably just an unnecessary thing for the company. They do encourage you to get creative with scissors to create your own patch patterns. I wonder if they get any photos of creative patch making. My cuts are not creative – nor are they really straight. That’s not my concern. I just want the holes patched.
The patches seemed to have worked like a charm – sealed nice and tight. I’ll be testing out the patches in real-world cycling in the next few weeks. Then, we’ll see how they work as the shorts go through the wash. All in all, I can say I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen so far.
If this super-easy fix holds up through actual wear-and-tear and washing, it’ll be well worth the little bit of money spent! I highly recommend that you try this repair, too – and let me know how it works!
To make sure you get the same kit, here’s a handy link for you!