When you’re out touring the countryside or riding your bike in town here are six bike maintenance items to carry with you to help fix the most common problems you may encounter. The good news is that these will all fit in the small pack underneath your seat or in your rear jersey pockets. And, if you don’t already have the bike maintenance tools or items, you can mostly likely pick them up for a reasonable price at your favorite bike shop.
1. A Spare Tube is Essential for on the Road Bike Maintenance
If you’re going to be out and about, the most likely problem you’ll have with your bike is a flat tire. So bring along a spare tube. They are fairly compact, easy to change out, and you’ll be back riding in no time. Never changed a flat tire? Here is an easy instruction video on how to change a flat.
In addition to a spare tube, you will want to carry a patch kit. If you get a second flat, or a friend you are riding with has multiple flats, you’re going to gain some extra points for having that kit. Plus, using a patch in a tire adds a tough skin protector to a surface area when you aren’t able to find the sharp object that created the problem in the first place.
2. A Set of Tire Levers
If you’re going to fix a flat tire, you’ll need tire levers. These small tools slide under your tire and help pull it off your rim so that you can remove the tube to patch it or replace it with a spare.
They fit easily in your pouch or jersey pocket, and you really don’t want to be without them
3. A Pump or CO2 Inflator
Whether you repair your tire with a patch kit or spare tube, you will need to inflate the tire again after the repair. That’s where a small bicycle frame pump comes in handy for bike maintenance on the road. Usually clamped to your frame, these little pumps will put enough air in your tire to get you back on your way.
Some riders prefer to carry CO2 cartridges – these small cylinders deliver a burst of pressurized air to refill a tube in a matter of a few seconds. They are lighter, but require a bit of practice to use or else you can blow out the tube you’ve just replaced. Plus, they cost about a dollar a piece for what is typically a onetime use. For information on how to use these inflators, check out the Youtube Video talking about it.
4. Multitool Gadget
For any number of potential fixes or adjustments you might face on the road, a multi-tool is a handy gadget that you’ll want to take along no matter how short or long your ride.
A multi-tool typically comes equipped with a dozen or more individual tools in various sizes including Allen wrenches, hex bolt wrenches, screw drivers, a chain tool, and more. Tucked neatly into one small package, it’s like a portable tool box for fixing your bike – in more ways than you can ever imagine. Plus, many come outfitted with a bottle opener too for when you are back and ready to celebrate another fun ride.
5. Mobile Phone
Every wonder how we got by, in the days before cell phones? It’s nice for calling home to get picked up in case of breakdown or for calling your buddies who may be ahead of you, or behind you, on those longer rides.
There is no reason not to carry a cell phone, especially with all the apps for mapping, cadence, and speed.
6. Cash/Identification and Insurance Card
This is one of those just-in-case items that you bring and hopefully will never use. Take along a few dollars for drinks and snacks along the way. And, in case of a split in your tire, a dollar bill can be laid along the split inside your tire to keep your tube from bulging out too badly until you can get it repaired. Also, be sure to bring along copies of your identification and insurance cards. God forbid you get into an accident, but in case you do, you’ll definitely want and need these items.
Tip: On the backside of these documents, write down your list of emergency contacts as well as any special medical instructions or allergies to medicine you might have. Also, if you have any pets home alone, this can be noted along with your emergency contacts so one of the contacts can take care of the pet if the need arises.
Now, with these items stowed away on your bike, it’s time to leave your troubles at home and enjoy the trails and roads. Most of all, it’s time to have fun!