Getting around by bike is all about fresh air, freedom and a feeling of getting from A to B under your own steam. However, the utopian dream of free-spirited, low-impact travel can die a death very quickly when you hear that dreaded hissing sound from your tyres. The sinking feeling of a flat half way from home, half way to work, can be a real pain – unless you come equipped. With this in mind here’s what I carry on my bike at all times – and, without sounding too preachy, it’s what I’d suggest you carry too.
- Spare Tube – make sure it’s the right size and check it regularly for air-tightness
- Pump – make sure it fits the tubes on your bike
- Tyre Levers – Three of them will remove even the most stubborn tyres. Plastic ones are best.
- Multitool – with flat-head and cross-head screwdriver plus 2-8mm Allen Keys
- Chain tool (if you know how to use it)
- Pliers – handy for pulling nails/chunks of glass from tyres plus a whole raft of other uses
- Puncture Kit – to be used as a last resort if your inner tube fails
- Mobile Phone – the ultimate get you home accessory (store the numbers of a few local taxi firms)
- Cash – If all else fails – for taxi fare home.
- Pair of latex gloves or a small pack of wipes – to keep your hands clean when doing repairs
- Lock – even if you don’t plan to leave the bike
All of this (with the possible exception of the lock) will fit in a small bag which should be permanently attached to the bike, so you never leave home without it. Everyone has their own variation on this ‘essential’ list so feel free to chime in with your suggestions, or to point out any frightful omissions!