Trail Talk: Essential Tools can Prolong Bike Rides

Safety and Maintenance Director, Bill Prall

There are days when a pleasant time riding the trails is interrupted by a mechanical breakdown. What to do? If you are prepared and carrying a few things with you in your seat bag, you can get rolling again.

In the flat tire repair photo you’ll see a spare tube, tire irons, and an air inflating device. The mini pump mounts to the water bottle braze-on threaded holes and sits beneath the water bottle cage. The other option is a Co2 cartridge with a tire valve adapter to inflate the inner tube. I’ve also included a patch kit, but a new replacement tube is a quicker, more reliable fix.

Tire Irons

The tire irons (left) used to remove the tire casing from the rim have duct tape wound onto them. Why? A little duct tape can be very useful to “boot” a cut tire casing and there are other times you may use the tape as well. Be sure to get the proper replacement inner tube to install. If you are not able to do the repair yourself, at least you’ll have the part and equipment to allow a good Samaritan to help do the repair.

If there is interest I will do a flat tire repair clinic this spring at the Trail Center.

Trail Tools

In the trail tools photo you will see an Allen wrench multi-tool. This tool has most of the metric Allen head bolt sizes you have on your bicycle. It also includes a Phillips and Standard screwdriver tool. The Serfas multi-tool includes an 8-, 9-, 10-, an 14-mm wrench, spoke wrench, bottle opener/screwdriver, serrated cutting blade, chain rivet extractor, 2-mm and 7-mm Allen wrench, and large tire iron. There are two spoke wrenches, a small Finish Line Chain Pup chain rivet extractor, and a separate 5-mm/6-mm Allen wrench – two wrenches combined. My favorite thing about the wrench is it fits the most common size allen bolts on your bike.

There are also some zip ties, Velcro straps, and a baby Bungee cord. You may find occasions where these come in handy. They don’t take much space and weigh almost nothing. The other tool I am very fond of is the very lightweight channel lock pliers. I have used these on many occasions to draw cables tight, straighten bent chainring teeth, and tighten or loosen many various sized nuts and bolts.

Seat Pack Examples

The third photo shows small and large seat packs to carry the equipment on your bicycle.

Now you don’t need to carry every tool that is pictured, but definitely a flat tire repair kit as that will be your most common breakdown. The Allen wrech set is also desirable. Pick and choose what you think you’ll need. If you don’t understand how to use a tool, perhaps that good trail Samaritan will show up and help you out. Consider attending my repair clinics at the Trail Center this spring and you can learn how to use these tools to keep you rolling!

Happy Trails