Emergency supplies

Bike kitSome people are content to put a mobile in their pocket and phone for a lift if they get a puncture.

If you’re riding out of phone coverage, though, or you want to be able to get going yourself, you’ll need to carry some sort of emergency kit. How much goes in that kit is really up to you.

The minimalists tuck a spare tube and a mini pump into a jersey pocket to keep weight to a minimum. After that every extra piece of equipment will add to your weight – and your peace-of-mind.

A pair of tyre levers is useful if you have trouble getting your tyres off. (Try rolling your tyre back on with your thumbs. It minimises the risk of pinching the new tube.)

A small puncture repair kit will get you going if you’re unlucky enough to get a second puncture before you get home. A second spare tube also provides extra insurance if you’re nervous carrying just one.

It’s a good idea to wrap your tubes up in a small plastic bag to prevent them chafing against other bits and pieces in your tool kit.

Road bike and some hybrid tyres generally take a much higher pressure than you can manage with a hand pump. A small cylinder of carbon dioxide will get your tyres back to the right pressure almost instantly.

Once again, you can opt for the minimalist approach and take just a small valve that screws onto the cylinder. Or you can carry a container that encloses the cylinder and incorporates an easy-to-use lever.

Got a little more space? Some people carry a vinyl glove or hand wipe so they’re not left with chain grease on their hands after fixing a puncture.

So you’re right for punctures now. What else might you need?

A set of fold-up hex keys can come in handy for side-of-the-road adjustments. These little packages are just as handy on your bike as a pocket knife is elsewhere,

If your bike doesn’t have quick-release wheels, you’ll need to carry a spanner in case you need to get them off to fix a puncture.

Still got more space? I’ve seen some surprising things emerge from tool kits – emergency supplies of muesli bars, fruit cake, jelly beans, sports “goo” and even a mini first aid kit.

The trick is to just carry what you need to feel comfortable you can get home again.

See you on the road soon, God willing.


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