Anyone who has done even a limited amount of of cycling will almost certainly know what a nuisance it can be if you have a sudden breakdown or puncture that leaves you stranded on the roadside. Yet, while such incidents will always be an inconvenience, there is no reason why they should be anything more than that. By carrying a puncture repair kit and some simple tools you will almost always be back on your bike in a short time.
So what should you carry? Over the years we have refined our tool kit to include everything you need to get you back cycling, without needing to provide a really bulky and usually unnecessary bicycle repair kit.
At Ireland by Bike we keep our bikes very well maintained. We also use the most puncture resistant tyres currently available. This means that our repair kits are almost never opened. However we still always take a “just in case” approach to providing a repair kit.
Our kit contains.
Two spare inner bicycle tubes.
A Mini Pump.
This will not pump your tyres as hard as one of the larger, better bicycle pumps, however it will be more than good enough to bring you home. It is a good idea to buy a pump with both schrader and presta valve connections as that will cover you in all scenarios. (And possibly get your friends out of difficulty too). The mini pump we use is the SKS Infusion TT. It is small, making it easy to pack and has both types of connection. There are countless brands all of which are perfectly good, however avoid buying very cheap ones as they may let you down when you need them most. Your local bicycle shop will recommend a suitable brand.
A Puncture Repair Kit.
With two spare inner tubes in your kit it will be a very, very bad day if you need to use this. However these kits are so small and light that you might as well pack one anyway. These can also be useful, if, for some reason you are unable to remove the wheel in order to replace the tube. It is often possible to repair a puncture without actually removing the wheel.
You will need these in order to remove the tyre from the rim when repairing a puncture. If you have bought one of the puncture repair kits mentioned above it may also contain bicycle tyre levers. However many of these tend to be weak and can often break when in use. It is worth while investing in metal or high quality plastic tyre levers (you will need 3).
A bicycle multi-tool.
There are an infintie number of these available. Many have a huge number of functions. However the basic ones are usually more than adequate. For minor repairs to most bikes a multi tool with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 mm allen keys (hex head) a straight and philips screwdriver and one or two TORX screwdrivers are all that you will need. If you are comfortable repairing a broken chain a bicycle multi-tool that also incorporates a chain splitter is worthwhile. Likewise if you are happy to work on a broken spoke, a spoke wrench is a useful addition. Most bicycle multi-tools are specified by the number of functions. You can be quite happy that one with 10 to 12 functions will be more than adequate. As with the mini-pump the very cheap options might not be good value. These often tend to bend under pressure and can also damage heads of screws etc.
At Ireland by Bike we also include a 15mm spanner. This is used in case you want to fit your own pedals. It is a more than adequate substitute for the much bulkier pedal wrench. It should not be necessary to include this in the repair kit you carry for regular cycling.