As most of you I’m sure would know by now, there really is nothing more frustrating than getting out on your bike and breaking down mid ride. This problem, coupled with the expense of having your bike serviced and maintained is what initially lead me to publishing the eBook “7 Biggest Bike Maintenance Secrets”. I felt as if there were genuine hints and tips that were less commonly known to the average cyclist that I have learned over my many years as a passionate bike enthusiast which I could share with you.
I have to say that the response has been quite overwhelming, with over 500 downloads in the first 3 days since its release. My peers have regularly told me over the years that I should make some of my knowledge available as they consider me to be an expert in this field, so I am very humbled that so many people would take the time to read it.
I still remember when I bought my first mountain bike. I rushed out for a ride and 30 minutes later I had my first flat tyre. Stranded in the middle of a busy mountain bike trail, it was a long, frustrating and somewhat humiliating walk back home.
When I reflect on this event, I laugh now at how truly unprepared I really was. Due to my inexperience my first ride ended quickly and miserably, yet it didn’t have to.
With the hope of saving somebody else the heartache of experiencing this, I have assembled a quick guide with the 4 Must Have Tools For Every Ride. Hopefully, armed with this information, you can purchase the correct tools to take out with you on a ride, so when the unfortunate does happen, you will be adequately prepared to get back on your bike as soon as possible.
1. A Multi-Tool
A Multi-tool is exactly what it sounds like: multiple tools all in one tool. Most decent multi tool’s will feature a combination of hex and torx keys, screwdrivers, spoke wrenches, chain tools and more. These tools are an absolute must and one of the best things about including one in your pack is that they are surprisingly small and can fit in your pocket or in a wedge bag quite comfortably. A good multi-tool will make it possible to complete almost all repairs mid ride. In fact, if a multi tool can’t do it, it is probably not a repair that you will want to be doing on the side of a road anyway.
2. Tyre Lever
Whilst it is possible to change a tire and tube without using a set of tyre levers, they do make the process a lot faster and easier, which guests you back on your bike quicker; the name of the game right? A tyre lever is essentially a length of nylon or steel that is thing and is used to pry the bike tyre off the rim so that you can take out the inner tube and then replace it. As a general rule, the smaller the tire is, the more difficult it is to pry up and remove from the rim. Given this, if you are riding a road or commuter bike, you will want to make sure that you definitely have a great set of tyre levers as it can be extremely difficult to change a tyre without one.
If you purchase a good quality multi-tool, such as the Topeak Hexus 16 Tool, it actually comes with a set of tyre levers on the side of it. This further enhances the functionality and usability of a multi-tool, as you won’t need extra room on your ride to carry a separate set of tire levers. In order to use the tire levers, you must slide both levers between the bead of the tire and the rim about 5cm apart from each other. With both levers in position, push the lever towards the rim one at a time and pry the tyre up over the rim. As with most things in life, this task is no different, it gets very easy with practice over time.
3. A Spare Tube
If you do end up with a flat on the trail you are usually left with 2 options. Walk back, patch the tube or fix the flat with your spare tube. As I said in the eBook, it is one of the biggest mistakes that I see amateur cyclists make, trying to repair a punctured tube. Always keep a spare and replace the punctured tube with it. You are far better off in the long run with a new tube, unless of course you fancy the long walk home!
4. Tyre Inflator
It goes without saying that if you get a flat tyre and replace the tube, you are going to need an inflator to pump up the tyre. A new tube with no air in it still equals a long walk home, so make sure that you have either a good quality pump or a CO2 inflator packed inside your wedge bag.
If it doesn’t worry you whether your tyres are filled with air or CO2, the only other thing to consider is which is easier to carry. You may find you are better off with a hand pump that can attach to your frame or drink bottle cage, rather than carry CO2 canisters and an inflation adapter in your wedge bag or pocket. The CO2 Cartridges are easy to use to inflate, however I prefer to have a hand pump as it mounts to the frame of my bike easily, is very light weight and means I don’t have to carry more in my bag.
And that’s basically about it. These 4 simple tools will ensure that if the worst happens to you next time you are out on your bike, you will be adequately prepared to deal with it quickly and get back out on your bike!
I hope you found this post valuable. Let me know if there is another tool or part that you carry with you that would be great for other people to know.