Thursday, May 11, 2006

Essential Tools - Or what's in my seat bag...

Before you ever get into doing tune-ups or repairs, you need to have the essential tools to get yourself home if something happens while you are riding. Most people will buy a little multi-tool, a couple of tire levers, spare tubes and a pump and call it good. The problem is, many mini-tools are missing a few key pieces that come in handy for even some minor mishaps, like broken spokes.

Here is what is in my bag, on my bike, or in my pockets every ride:
  • Spare tube, sprinkled with talc, in a sandwich bag
  • Patch kit (I've never had good luck with pre-glued patches)
  • Pump or CO2 inflater
  • Multi-tool that in addition to the standard screwdrivers and hexes includes a:
    • knife
    • chain tool
    • spoke wrench
  • Bare bones First Aid kit - Mini ziplock bag containing:
    • regular bandaids
    • finger tip and knuckle bandaids
    • a couple larger sterile pads
    • a foil packet of antibiotic ointment
    • a few pre-moistened wipes
  • A couple dollars cash and a couple of bus/train tokens
If I am leading a group ride where I know there will be more than one or two novices, I throw a rack trunk on with:
  • A couple extra tubes for both road and mtn tires
  • A schraeder to presta rim adapter (I picked up a bunch from - and all my tubes are presta)
  • A couple extra energy bars and/or gel packets
  • Sometimes an extra bottle
Know how to use what you carry

It's not enough to carry the stuff, you need to know how to use it to fix common mishaps. Take and old chain and practice with the chain tool, including figuring out how you are going to break the insertion end off of that Shimano link pin.

Practice changing and patching tubes if you haven't done that. Some tire and rim combinations make it very hard to get the tire on and off.

In short, try to be a self-sufficient as you can on your ride.

No comments: