Tire levers have a spoon-shaped side
to gently pry up the tire bead without
pinching the tube. Use one to pry off the
bead, then use the hook on the other
side to hook a spoke, keeping the side
of the bead pulled up. Then, insert a
second one next to it and gently move it
along the rim all the way around to take
the tire off one side.
Tire levers usually come in sets of
three, and you’ll need to use at least
two. We carry a nesting plastic set made
by Park Tool. They’re light, take up little
room and work great.
None of the above will matter without a pump. There are two types: a
traditional pump and a quick-fill CO2
cartridge. Neither of these should be
confused with a floor pump, which you
should have at home, but that’s fodder
for another article altogether.
A good set of tire levers make ;xing a ;at or changing a tube much easier. This
set of nylon levers from Park Tool is lightweight, easy on your tires and wheels,
and has lasted many years.
Always take your phone. You can use it to
call for help, navigate to your destination,
and even ;nd a great restaurant or bike
shop along the way.
You’re going to need a pump to
carry with you. The smallest and easiest
is a CO2 pump, which is often as simple
as a nozzle that attaches to the top of
a CO2 cartridge. Some are more elaborate. Be sure you always have spare
CO2 cartridges too.
As an option, you could instead
carry a good-quality hand pump (often
frame-mountable). These never run
out of air, and a good one will last you
years of use. They take a little effort
depending on the size of the tube
you’re inflating, but they’re always ready
to go. And in case you run into someone who uses a different type of valve
than you do, they’re often reversible
and can accommodate both.
There are also a variety of hybrid
pumps that offer the ability to use either
a pump or CO2 as well.
Given that bicycles are inherently
mechanical, it’s also a safe bet that
your bike will need some adjustments
from time to time. If you’re fastidious
and wrench on your bike every day after
a ride, you may not need other tools
in the field. But, as we all know, stuff
happens, and even the most dialed
machine can slip a little or suffer some
damage on a routine ride. You can carry
several wrenches and a set of hex keys
around with you, but that stuff gets
heavy. Instead, there are quite a few
solutions on the market that incorporate
the most commonly used hex keys,
wrenches and screwdriver heads into
one compact tool.
The best of these also include a
chain breaker tool. If you’ve ever broken
a link on a ride, you know that you’re
stuck unless you can fix your chain. We
always carry one of these, and most of
the time end up using it to help some
stranded rider who doesn’t have one
but needs one. Get one of these, practice using it and carry it with you.
It should go without saying that you
should take your phone in case your
breakdown is worse than what you
can fix on the road. Of course, it can
also help you navigate to where you’re
going, help you on sightseeing trips,
etc. Also, don’t forget to use it to take
photos of the sights, as well as selfies
of you and your friends on the ride.
ID AND CREDIT CARD
You should always carry your identification in some form on a ride; you
never know when it might come in
handy. And, a credit card or cash can
help you if your phone dies or you need
to stop by a bike (or coffee) shop along
the way. For emergency services, Road
ID has become a popular wristband
accessory for thousands of cyclists.
There are times when you can’t
patch a tube. If you damage your tube
too much, it’s often a good idea to just
replace it. Pinch flats, full blowouts,
damaged valves and the like aren’t
usually patchable. Either heavy-duty or
Slime-filled tubes are a good bet, especially since you have the luxury of extra
power assist, which will make rolling the
heavier wheels less painful.
WHERE TO CARRY IT
You can actually carry most of this
stuff in an under-seat bag. The pump
can go in a pack or, better, stay mounted on your frame. Many people prefer
hydration packs for the useful twofer
ability to carry water and spare parts
With the right tools you’re ready
for most things you’ll encounter on an
average ride. A flat tire or the need for a
little adjustment won’t slow you down,
and you’ll enjoy riding even more.
Now, get out there and ride! ■