There’s no need to carry a large number of tools and spares when you’re out for the day (or less). If something breaks which can’t be fixed you’re not hundreds of miles from home on one of our rides (if you do have a problem, others on the ride will give you some help). Of course if you’re touring abroad you might want to carry a few more.
Consider taking these on our rides:
- Inner tube
The most likely problem you’ll have (although some cyclists go years without one) is a puncture. So take a spare inner tube (or more than one), making sure it’s the right size and has the right valve for your wheels.
Very few people repair a puncture on a ride; it’s much quicker to replace the tube and leave the repair until you get home (and some punctures can destroy inner tubes making a replacement necessary). But you might want to carry a puncture repair outfit anyway (for those rare occasions when you get a second puncture and only carry one spare tube).
- Tyre levers
You won’t be able to take the tyre off to replace the tube unless you have a couple of tyre levers, either metal (but be careful not to damage the inner tube) or strong plastic.
And, having replaced the inner tube, you’ll need a pump to inflate it. Either a long one which fits in the bike frame or a short one which you can carry in your bag.
- Allen/Torx keys
Most bolts on a modern bike have either hexagonal socket heads or star-shaped (Torx) ones. Take a set of keys suitable for your bike (you might need both) or, if you want to save that little extra bit of weight, take just those keys which fit the bolts on your bike. If you find you have a bolt with a slot head take a small screwdriver as well.
A puncture will almost certainly be caused by a thorn, a small flint or a piece of glass and if you leave it embedded in the tyre you’ll get another puncture. If you can’t prise the object out with a fingernail, something pointed like a penknife will be needed.
The most common use for spanners on a ride is to adjust mudguards. A multi-tool (see below) might be sufficient for that.
Most bikes these days use quick release skewers or through-axles that don't require tools to remove wheels. If your bike needs a spanner to remove your wheels, you should bring one strong enough to do the job - there's a good chance no-one else will have one.
As an alternative to taking the above tools, many cyclists carry a multitool. This is a device about the size of a large Swiss army knife which includes all the basic tools you will need. All will have Allen keys and might also include a screwdriver, chain tool, tyre levers, spoke tool, hexagonal spanners, pliers and even a bottle opener. None of them will pump up your tyres though.
There are many other tools and spares you could take with you: adjustable spanner, cable cutters, chain rivet extractor, spare spokes, gear and brake cables, folding tyre. In fact, a lot of things which you might only need once every few years. If you don’t have the right tool or spare, we will try to help you out. If we can't fix your problem, we have some 'get you home' remedies up our sleeves.