Many of us have been there, you’re out enjoying your new bikes maiden ride only to suffer the dreaded puncture. To make matters worse, in all of the excitement of getting your new bike, you’ve forgotten the all-important kit that you need to repair your puncture. To avoid making this faux-pas, why not check out our list of the key essentials for every ride?
1. Debit/Credit Card
Never leave home without it. You may need to buy food to stave off the dreaded bonk, emergency spares and of course, the café stop.
2. Inner Tubes
One tube is good, two is better. No matter the distance of the ride you should always have at least 1 tube with you. If it’s a longer ride we would thoroughly recommend that you pack 2. Don’t forget, when buying inner tubes you need to take into account the depth of the wheel rim and tyre width. If in doubt check the tyre’s sidewall for it is always printed there.
Having a spare tube is all well and good but if you have nothing to inflate it with you are going nowhere fast. Invest in a decent pump, there are a number of options available.
- Frame pump – This traditional style of pump is pretty long, it’s intended to be frame fit. Because of the added length, more air is pushed into the tube with each stroke.
- Mini Pump – The trusty mini pump is small, light and convenient to carry. Compact enough to be mounted to a bottle cage, in a bag or even in a jersey pocket.
- CO2 cartridges – A gas canister is by far the fastest way to inflate a tube, push a button or turn a lever and instant inflation. Take care though for the canister and valve get very cold. Take care to cover your hands when using a CO inflator.
4. Tyre Levers
If there is one immutable fact in cycling it is this, some tyres are a royal pain in the ar#e to fit. Whereas others will pop onto the rim with the minimum of fuss. It is worth noting that due to the prevalence of tubeless compatible rims tighter-fitting tyres are much more common. For those of us who don’t have granite-like digits tyre levers are the only recourse.
To remove a tyre simply slide a lever under the bead of the tyre and hold in place. Some levers have a hook at one end so you can hook it around a spoke. Then insert the 2nd lever an inch or 2 from the first and remove the tyre by sliding the lever around the bead of the tyre. When refitting the tyre, try to avoid using levers, it’s very easy to trap the inner tube between the tyre lever and rim. If you accidentally do this, be prepared for the loud boom as your inner tube gives up the ghost.
Earlier in this piece, we mentioned that taking spare tubes is highly recommended. But if you have a restricted carrying capacity or are unlucky enough to puncture the spare tube as well, there is always the repair patch. Patches take up very little room and are highly recommended in case you hit real trouble.
6. Tyre boot
When an inner tube simply isn’t enough you may need to plug a slit, cut or hole. You need a temporary repair to help you ride home or to a bike shop. There are a couple of options here
- Tool manufacturer ‘Park Tools’ produce a tyre boot which you can fit to cover the offending damage. Simply place the boot between the tube and tyre and inflate the tube as normal.
- Cut approximately 6 inches off an old tyre, remove the beads and ‘voila’ you have a tyre patch.
- The new £5 note is made from a really durable material. This can also serve as an emergency tyre boot.
Pushbikes have a lot of moving parts and there is plenty that can go wrong with them when far from home. The majority of issues can be fixed with a 4 or 5mm Allen key, but for those that can’t, you may need more options.
A multi-tool is equipped with a selection of tools to enable you to carry out roadside repairs great or small. The smaller models will have a very basic selection of tools. Whereas the larger, all singing/all dancing versions enable you to practically strip and rebuild the bike should you so wish? At the very minimum, we would recommend a multi-tool with a set of Allen keys and a chain breaker.
Now if it’s a scorching hot day, admittedly, you may not need this. Though in the UK you never know even then! We all know that weather reports are about as reliable as well the weather, don’t we? If the skies are not pristinely clear of clouds, pack a waterproof just in case. It need not be anything too intricate, just something that can be stuffed into a jersey pocket or bag. Something that can be whipped out for protection when the skies darken ominously.
There’s a lot to be said for spending quality time together in the great outdoors. That’s why Hannah ordered her one-bike-to-do-it-all a CustomColour CGR 725. Read about it here.
Meet ex semi-pro rider and showroom manager of The Mailbox, Birmingham, Joe Fox. Click here for his cycling story.