Whether you’re planning a club run or entering a sportive, every cyclist has a responsibility to be as self-sufficient as possible. There is of course, a limit on what you can take as your pockets will only carry so much. Plus, there’s no point spending money on lighter kit if you’re going to weigh yourself down with several hundred grams of tools!
So what do you take?
There is a basic minimum that every cyclist should carry with them at all times. You will obviously need your bike, proper cycling shoes and suitable clothing. If you’re out for longer than an hour, drink and maybe something to eat too. But we’re in the Bikes ans Gear section of Road Cyclist, so we’re obviously more interested in tools.
So when out on a ride, I carry:
- Spare tube
- Minipump or CO2
- Puncture repair kit with tyre levers
- Multitool with chain tool
- Speed link
- Phone and money
A spare inner tube is an essential ingredient in any cyclists kit. Unless you’re riding tubeless, you should always have a spare tube, even if you’re carrying a puncture repair kit. A patch can’t fix a blown valve and is only effective a couple of times, so always carry a tube.
Minipump or CO2
The debate about carrying either a minipump or CO2 is a long and hotly contested one. I carry CO2 because it fits into my toolkit. I carry a Lezyne CO2 pump with two 16oz cartridges. Despite being single use, I have used a single cartridge to repair two punctures on a really bad day. Just use gloves or cover the pump when you use it!
Puncture repair kit with tyre levers
There are a number of puncture repair kits on the market, some come with tyre levers and some don’t. Lezyne does a nice one called the Lever Patch Kit, with two levers attached to the case. It isn’t the best out there and the levers do bend alarmingly sometimes but it hasn’t let me down yet. Alternatively, use something like Park Tools patches and a couple of spare levers.
Multi tool with chain tool
It’s easy to spend silly money on a multi tool that has lots of features you’ll never use. I have a Park Tools Rescue Tool and I never leave home without it. Despite being a mountain bike tool and having a bottle opener, it’s actually very good. Get one that has the right mix of Allen keys, a chain tool, flathead and phillips screwdriver at the very least.
Even though your chain might be new and you have a chain tool, having a smart link or chain connector on hand will save time and greasy hands if the worst happens. At the very least, it stops your club mates becoming bored if you have a mechanical halfway through the ride!
Phone and money
If you ride alone, it’s always worth having your mobile phone and some cash with you in case of emergencies. You can use the cash in a payphone if you’re in a not spot, to buy water, to pay for a taxi ride home or whatever you need. I fold up a fiver and keep it in my phone case for emergency use only. It weighs nothing and might rescue me one day!