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Cycling Essentials To Keep You On The Road
It’s no surprise that the more you ride a bike, the more wear ‘n’ tear, and damage, and little niggly problems it will start collecting.
Like a snowball rolling down a hill, these will start off small. You’ll hardly notice that wobble, or that squeak that happens every once in a while.
But the snowball keeps rolling, and you keep going out having fun on your bike. Then before you know it, those ‘little problems’ have turned into one almighty issue that needs sorting NOW! Because either your bike is unsafe to ride, or it’s just one solid block of metal that is too rusted and gunked-up to move.
For me, the best bike tool kit to sort out all these issues has got four main components. Because I’m a little bit naughty, I’ve also added in another couple of extras for you.
The four main components are:
- On-the-road bike tool
- Bike oil
- CO2 Gas tire pump
- Back-at-the-ranch bike tool kit
You can buy all four for less than $100. If you find a little extra cash down the back of the couch, then take a peek at these bonus extras.
- Bike repair stand
- Bike repair ‘How To’ guide
My Top Recommended Cycling Tool Kit Essentials
Let’s go through each of these in detail.
On-the-road bike tool
You can be fairly sure that most bike problems are going to become apparent when you’re actually on the bike and far from home.
For that reason, having a multi tool like this one, is a bit of a lifesaver. The bike equivalent of a Swiss Army knife, this comes with all the tools that you’re likely to need on the road, including allen keys, socket sets, and separate pry bars (for lifting the tire off the wheel rim when you’re changing a flat inner tube).
All the tools come in the sizes that you’ll commonly find on bikes, so there are no extra tool sizes that you’d never use. And because it packs up into such a small size, you can just pop it in your cycling jacket pocket and forget it’s there.
I have a confession.
As I’m a ‘Bike Guru’ you might be surprised to hear this sorry tale…
Some years ago, I bought myself a brand new road bike. It was October time and I rode it for a few weeks before the weather closed in and I needed to put it into hibernation until the snow had gone. Before I did, I thought it would be a great idea to pressure wash it and return it to its fresh-out-of-the-store sparkle. I duly did that and then hung it up in the garage to dry.
In the Spring I lifted my pride and joy out of the garage… pushed down on the pedal and… CRUNCH! Turns out that my thorough cleaning had taken off all the lubrication and the workings had then rusted solid over the winter.
One rear derailleur, one front derailleur, and a new chain later… I had learned my lesson: keep bikes well lubricated. Sigh…
So now I always keep a tin of 3-In-One handy. Every time I clean the bike, every time after I ride the bike, every time before I ride the bike, every time I even look at the bike… I dribble a few drops of oil on all the workings of my bike.
I was blown away the first time I saw one of these little gadgets.
If, like me, you’ve always struggled to get sufficient pressure in a tire when you pump it up with a standard bike pump, then this might well be the answer.
It works with CO2 gas cartridges (which are cheap and easily available) and works with both Presta and Schrader tire valves (i.e. the normal sort you find on bike tires). It’s tiny, so easily fits in a pocket, and then one cartridge is sufficient to fill a tire to any pressure you might need.
I have a floor pump for use when I’m at home but, on the road, I wouldn’t mess about with old-style hand pumps ever again. These CO2 pumps are really amazing.
Back-at-the-ranch bike tool kit
When you’re at home and space and weight aren’t issues like they are on the road, then you can invest in a larger and more comprehensive tool kit like this.
This 17-piece kit from Bikehand is fantastic. If you bought each of the components separately then it would likely come out to way more than the kit price. And that’s without the robust case to store everything in.
Check out their video to see all the components and an example of what they each do.
Having all the right tools is great, but it’s no good if you’ve then got to do all the repairs whilst kneeling on the ground, holding your bike with one hand and a wrench with the other.
A repair stand like this is very useful as it holds the bike at a comfortable height to work on. It’s fully adjustable and you can position your bike at any angle, so you can get access to the trickiest of components.
It has an arm to hold the handlebars and stop them from spinning round and whacking you in the face – very useful! And then, when it’s not in use, it folds up for easy storage.
Bike repair ‘How To’ guide
Okay, Ben, you might ask, I’ve bought all the tools you recommended, but how do I go about repairing my bike…?!
Well, it’s funny you should ask 😉
This is a bible for bike repairs.
It’s primary focus is on road bikes, however most of the advice is relevant to all types of bike. Keep a copy handy.
It’s worth keeping a few key bike tools close by because there will always be the odd niggle, or squeak, or flat tire that needs sorting. If you can do that yourself, then you’ll be able to get back on the sooner than if you had to take your bike to the repair shop. You’ll also save yourself a bucket full of cash by doing your own repairs.