Let’s be honest — walking in your cleats isn’t fun. Things get even more complicated when the Uber or Grab driver refuses to take you in when they see you’ve brought your punctured bike along for the ride. In situations like this, asking your friends for help won’t be of much use as they’re either riding with you or doing something more important than shuffling you home. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you know the right way to pack all your stuff into your saddle bag.
Here are our top tips for roadside repairs…
Buy two bags – a small one for everyday commutes, and a larger one for those epic long trips away from home. Tool rolls are handy as they keep all of your things separate.
Carrying one tire tube will take you home, but having two is better as you don’t have to worry about reaching your destination when the second wheel gets punctured. Orange Tubolito bike tubes aren’t that affordable, but they’re almost three times lighter than conventional butyl tubes. These particular tubes are also smaller and have increased puncture resistance.
Pack your tubes in a plastic sandwich bags so that other tools or equipment doesn’t come in contact with them and accidentally puncture them. After all, you don’t want to see your backup tubes already punctured when you need them the most.
The bolts on your bikes will come loose now and then, even with the best maintenance. This is why it is so important to have multi-tool in your saddle bag.
Before you buy a multi-tool, check what kind of bolts your bikes have so you can work on all the bolts on your bike frame and parts. Most bikes typically have Torx or Allen keys. Lezyne V5 is a great choice, but for long rides, we like Blackburn’s Wayside as this dandy tool has various detachable keys and even a tiny saw. Awesome!
The Topeak ratchet pocket works wonders as well. With this, you can make adjustments and repairs with the speed of a Formula 1 pit crew. The chain tool is compatible with single and multi-speed chains up to 12 speed, NOT including Campagnolo 11 speed hollow pin chains.
This is a must-have item for every cyclist’s saddle bag. A saddle bag pump should be light, small, and with a pumping capacity of 100 PSI. The Silica Pocket Impero is a good option. This pump also comes with a nice leather handle and a 25-year warranty.
Getting the tires from the rims can get difficult sometimes, and using a set of tire levers will make things much easier and quicker.
If your bike has tubeless-ready rims — CO2 will make your life easier. AirChuck+ by Genuine Innovations is a good looking device and works reliably. This inflator is also designed ergonomically so that your hands (or tongue) don’t freeze up when you use this with your hands or put the cartridge in the mouth.
Sometimes luck isn’t just by your side. When both of your tubes are punctured and don’t have extra tubes, you’ll need patches. Park Tool Super Patches ship in handy carrying cases and doesn’t require any glue.
Keep $20 in your pocket for petrol station breaks to buy food or using it as a tire boot during an emergency. Also carry a few zip ties, a valve extender, and wet wipes to clean up yourself and your bike if things get too dirty.