They say, not unfairly, that the only upper body workout cyclists get is having to pump up their tires. That's certainly one reason fixing flat tires is such a bummer. To give your feeble T-Rex arms a break, and to save you mysophobes from a day of despair, check out the skepticism-inducing-yet-promising tool from PatchNRide.
The PatchNRide system is a little oblique, modeled largely by CAD drawings and a distractingly good-looking actor. From what we can gather, it works like this: you locate the source of your flat, remove offending debris, push the pointed business end of this tool into the hole, depress a needle into that hole, inject a rubber sealant into the inner tube, remove the tool, and refill the tire with air. In less than 60 seconds your ride has gone from bummertown to back in action. No tire removal and minimal grumbling at the side of the road. Don't look at the strap*It's supposed to work with any type, size or thickness of tire, from strollers to mountain knobbies to skinny neurotic tubulars. They claim it can patch holes up to 3mm wide. At 5 inches long (sub-100 grams, to you jerks who care), the tool itself is small enough to keep in a backpack and most seat bags. It carries a single charge at a time, like a CO2 cartridge, and is refillable with "patch pods," which would keep mess down and utility up, though I think the use of "pods" might put a ding in the company's axe to grind about reducing waste by patching. The only other qualm I can muster is a general concern about intentionally widening an existing hole in the tire, which could then (depending on the tool, the tire, and your enthusiasm) make a bigger target for debris. But having seen nail-sized punctures virtually disappear, I'd bet it's fine.
Can it all be so? These things aren't on the market yet, so for the time being we can only take their word for it—they being the "group of passionate cyclists ranging from road racers, endurance athletes, mountain bikers, commuters and pleasure riders" who developed it. But if it's as quick-acting and genuinely effective as they say, this could be a nice alternative to current sweaty, messy or wasteful options. They're offering a 50% discount on preorders, and aren't saying exactly how much refills will be (Gillette model, anyone?), but for $30 it's an interesting gamble. Their claim that no one to their knowledge has ever failed to operate a Patchnride tool is a bold one, but the number of seasoned riders who live in fear of the multi-step ordeal required to patch their own tires is high. I love working on bikes as much as the next hateful ex-mechanic, but a little elegant simplicity would go a very long way in this process.
*Did you look? I bet you looked. They used a Di2-equipped Serotta and don't know how to wear a backpack without looking like this winner? I'm not surprised, just offended. Unless this is an elegant prank...