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Bike Tools to Take When You Ride

Part of the Bike Maintenance and Repair For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Before you hit the road on your bike, assemble an emergency tool kit so you’re prepared in case of a breakdown. Take the weight and size of bike tools into consideration when you’re loading up your tool kit, you don’t want tools that will weigh you down or not fit into the tool pouch. Include the following tools in your emergency tool kit. (After you have some biking experience, you may decide to change or add to it.)

  • Small frame-mounted tire pump: A flat is going to strike eventually so unless you want to walk home, take along a pump.

  • Tire-patch kit: When you have a flat, you’ll need a patch kit to repair it.

  • Spare inner tube: A spare tube is important to have on hand when you blow a tube and a patch kit won’t do the trick.

  • Tire levers: For most bikes, tire levers are necessary to remove and install a tire.

  • Allen wrenches: Use these for adjusting parts of your bike.

  • Screwdrivers: Both types — Phillips and flathead — are required for adjusting derailleurs and other parts.

  • Spoke wrench: Make sure you have one that fits the spoke nipples on your bike.

  • Pliers: If you have to work on cables, you’ll need pliers.

  • Rag: A rag will help keep your hands clean.

  • Small light: A light is important to have in case you get caught out at night.

On extended trips (more than a few hours at a time or for multi-day trips), bring all the preceding items, plus the following:

  • Spare tire: If you tear up a tire, you’ll be glad you had a foldable spare tire on hand.

  • Extra tubes: If you blow out both tubes on a ride, you need two spares — one isn’t always enough.

  • Chain tool: A longer trip increases the chances of having issues with your chain, and you’ll need a chain tool to take apart the chain and reconnect it.

  • Chain links and rivets: Because there’s always the chance of breaking a chain, it’s good to have replacement links handy for reconnecting the chain.

  • Spare spokes: Have a couple extra spokes available. Make sure you have the right size for each wheel.

  • Spare cables: Extra cables for the brakes and the derailleurs are useful for longer trips when a weighted-down bike puts extra strain on the cables.

  • Lubrication: As you ride on extended trips, parts will need to be lubricated. Keep a small plastic bottle of lube that you can apply to your chain, pivot points, and cable.

  • Duct tape: This all-purpose tool can get help you solve many problems, at least long enough to hold something together until you get to the next town.

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