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I work in San Francisco, and I'd estimate about 20-30 people bike to where I work. We mostly have a mix of road bikes and hybrids with a couple commuter bikes and mountain bikes too. Currently, the only equipment in our bike cage is a locking entry door, a double-decker bike rack similar to this one, and a single floor pump.

I was thinking that we could start with some basic toolkit or repair kit, spare batteries for lights, loaner headlights and tail lights, and maybe a couple loaner helmets so people don't have an excuse to ride without helmets.

What else should we stock? Are there premade kits for a situation like this?

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A water cooler :-) –  BigHomie Jan 30 '13 at 16:32
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In all my years of riding, a dozen week-long tours and several other group day rides, I've only ever seen a pedal fail catastrophically once -- the pedal locked up completely. A few other cases of the bearings going bad and grinding, but you can limp home with that. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 30 '13 at 22:29
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Upvoting question because it's so considerate! Wish all workplaces were like yours. –  dsalo Jan 30 '13 at 23:10
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I don't undertsand this - each individual should have their own basic toolkit. I always do, if you get puncture along your commute and the toolkit is at work - what good will it do you ? –  NimChimpsky Jan 31 '13 at 13:11
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As a suggestion - you may be interested in also setting up a lunchtime/evening workshop teaching people how to do their own maintenance. Either run it from the staff who have the skills, of ask a LBS to come in. –  mattnz Jan 31 '13 at 21:41

8 Answers 8

I don't think there are premade kits but other things that would be good would be:

  • Spare tire tubes
  • Tire tool
  • Chain lube
  • Pedal wrench

With so many different types of bikes, it can be hard to have custom tools. But your list along with these extras, you should be good to go!

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imbus for bolts 4,5,6 –  Davorin Ruševljan Jan 30 '13 at 8:07
    
allum key, I think it is called something else in the US, but I cant find the post with glossary/US-UK translations. –  robthewolf Jan 30 '13 at 9:13
    
Allan key, not allum. –  Rory Alsop Jan 30 '13 at 9:28
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To be precise it is Allen: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hex_key –  Jaime Jan 30 '13 at 12:16

I'd maybe ask the cyclists themselves - maybe ask them to bring useful spares and have an amount of petty cash on hand to reimburse them. They might be able to bring in old lights (let's face it many of us always leap to the newest kit and have drawers full of old kit lying around).

The basic tool set should include tyre levers, an adjustable spanner/wrench or combination bike tool, Allan keys (hex wrench).

If you're prepared to keep things topped up with consumables as well, that would be great - but you'll be forever replacing the inner tubes, but while you might need a mix of sizes, starting just with a few 700x25c would work.

I'm not convinced about spare helmets - apart from the whole obligated helmet wearing debate - you might be opening yourself up for liability if someone got badly injured in an accident while wearing one of the loaner items.

Many lights these days are rechargeable themselves, either through USB or directly to mains, so making sure that there are charging sockets and a charged USB hub could be good, maybe a battery charger would encourage people to switch to that style of battery.

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I like the idea of a battery charger. I had Duracell charger at home that could charge 4 AAs or AAAs in 15 minutes. Sadly it died. If you invested (or had everyone chip in) for something like this at the office you could have a charging station that could probably charge just about everyone's batteries throughout the day. Although if you work in an office environment, most people will have a spare electrical socket near their desk so it might not be that necessary. But buying one charger for everyone to use might save a bit of money. –  Kibbee Jan 30 '13 at 14:58
    
+1 for the idea of bringing left overs. –  dhill Jan 30 '13 at 19:31
    
+1 - I probably have a whole bike of "used but useable" conditions bits sitting around in boxes I would willing donate to a bike shed at my work. USB wall chargers with decent length cables would be a real bonus. –  mattnz Jan 31 '13 at 21:35
    
I would stay away from too many consumables Patches would be high on my list, A peg with second hand tyres and tubes (get the people who use the shed to donated their old ones). Plenty of really keen riders replace these while they are still useable. –  mattnz Jan 31 '13 at 21:38
    
I'd also include torx ("star") wrenches. Those are far harder to find than hex wrenches, and are commonly used on disc-brake assemblies. –  Andrew Heath Feb 1 '13 at 6:05

Other things are more important than the "equipment" --

  • A secure place to lock up bikes
  • Room to change, and, ideally, showers
  • A place to store bike clothing, etc
  • Space (maybe a workbench) for making repairs such as tire repairs

In terms of "equipment", probably the pump is the most important thing. Beyond that, simple tire repair tools, a few wrenches, etc.

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Along the lines of a secure place to lock bikes, you could have a gated area that goes around the bike racks with keycards for who gets in, This would probably go a long way to preventing theft and vandalism. Also, if it was secure enough (possibly with cameras), People wouldn't have to carry locks with them or at least be able to carry lighter locks. They have this at my old university (not that they ever let the students use it, staff only). –  Kibbee Jan 31 '13 at 0:52
    
I think what is or isn't practical varies a lot with the situation. Some places have lots of unused space, others are cramped. Some have a good sized budget to throw at employee amenities, at others you'd have to take up a collection. In some places you'd have trustworthy coworkers, in others not. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 31 '13 at 1:58
    
It really depends on the "culture" where you work. At my office, they take out the two pregnant parking spots in the summer and designate them for motorcycles only. They get about 5 or 6 motorbikes in two spots which helps create more spots for car. I imagine improved bicycle parking could have the same effect. Better parking for bicycles means you clear ups some space for cars. I left my bike unlocked once completely by accident, didn't realize until 2PM when I saw my lock sitting beside me. My bike wasn't stolen, and it's a nice bike. In some places it would have been gone for sure. –  Kibbee Jan 31 '13 at 2:46
    
I just do not see these as the "other things". To me, these are the major, and possibly only things. IMHO, a biker who depends on his workplace to provide essentials like a repair kit, spare tube, helmet, and etc. will run into other problems once these are provided. –  StefG Feb 6 '13 at 8:36

I'm going for a bit of an exhaustive list here.

I would make up a toolbox with:

  • Tire Levers*
  • Patch Kits*
  • Tubes in a few sizes: 26inx1.75, 700x23c, 700x28c, 700x32c
  • Quick links for 8/9/10 speed chains.
  • Chain Lube*
  • Multi Tool with the following (Preferrably full size versions of all this, but a multi would suffice for most basic stuff)*
    • Allen keys (needs to have 8mm key for tightening cranksets)*
    • Chain tool*
    • Phillips Screwdriver*
    • Flathead Screwdriver*
  • Chainring bolt tool (to hold the back of those shifty chainring bolts)
  • Crescent wrench (with at least 15mm capacity for bolt on wheels)*
  • Pedal wrench
  • Assorted Zip ties*
  • Electrical tape
  • Razor Knife
  • Fixed Gear Lock Ring tool
  • Chain Whip
  • Shimano / Sram cassette lockring tool.


Other Stuff:

  • Full size bike pump*
  • A few good bike racks (not toaster style, inverted U style is best)
  • A spare ulock and key (in case someone forgets a lock, we have this at the bike cafe)
  • AA / AAA batteries
  • CR2032 batteries
  • A few cheap red blinkies (battery powered)
  • A few cheap front lights (battery powered)
  • Nitrile gloves (optional)
  • disposable blue shop towels*
  • Gojo / Hand sanitizer to wash hands without water (optional)
  • A Repair stand if you have the space. Could get a folding one if you don't have a lot of space to keep it setup most of the time. A shop style repair stand would be good and could be bolted down if you prefer.

Items with a * are the most important in my opinion.

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Really, the important stuff here is the stuff to fix a flat (patch kit, tire levers), and some allen keys (A full set of long handled allen keys is probably best), and an adjustable wrench. –  Benzo Jan 30 '13 at 14:59
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Stocking tubes and batteries, while convenient, is likely to become a hassle unless you expect a decent bit of loss here. It may not be worth it to you. It's surprising what people will do with consumables. Why else would businesses install locks on public toilet paper dispensers? –  Benzo Jan 30 '13 at 15:02
    
A park tool home mechanic tool kit is also a good start and includes a lot of the basics, I don't think it's a great value, but the tools are solid. Add a crescent wrench and some extra patch kits and you're doing pretty well. –  Benzo Jan 30 '13 at 15:17
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It might be better if consumables are available on request from reception. Good if you're caught out without a working light or tire, but not going to be used routinely. –  James Bradbury Jan 31 '13 at 10:51
    
@Benzo: Good idea. You can get cheap tool kits that are useable for most repairs, for the same price as a single Park tool. How many people would be extracting cranks and replacing Star nuts at work? A Park tool kit will be missing 90% of the bits in a very short time, or as likely, be full of bits from cheap kits while the Park tools sit in someones shed... –  mattnz Feb 1 '13 at 2:24

Assuming you want to keep it as compact as possible I'd suggest:

  • A pump (preferably a floor pump) with presta/schrader capability or an adapter.
  • Tire levers and patch kit
  • A multitool
  • A chain tool if the multi does not have it.
  • Chain connector
  • Adjustable wrench, pedal wrench.
  • Pliers
  • Battery charger / powered usb ports.
  • Clean rags
  • First aid kit for minor injuries.
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+1 for an extra first-aid kit. (There's probably one somewhere in the business already, but I've certainly arrived at work with a scratch or scrape a couple of times.) –  dsalo Jan 30 '13 at 23:08

I suggest a spare bike lock or two. I can't be the only person who's forgotten to replace the lock on the bike after washing the bike, and ridden happily off to work the next day without noticing. The great thing about this is that a rider should only need the lock during the workday!

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I'm not convinced by the need to keep much by way of spares and tools. If a tyre blows half-way between home and work, the commuter will need to fix it there and then. In other words, cyclists would routinely carry all of that stuff with them when they cycle. More important than carrying those spares would be the facilities that have already been mentioned. When I commuted to work by cycle the things I desperately needed but didn't have were changing facilities, showers and a locker. Although a general purpose toolkit -- assortment of wrenches, pliers, allen keys and so on -- is useful in any workplace, never mind whether people cycle there.

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Unless I'm stark blind, I see no one has mentioned anything about energy bars or protein shakes, or even facilities to cater for the making of the latter. I'm sure that a few riders already do use them, and may find it convenient to do so in work, instead of at the week end.

Maybe that wasn't what you were thinking about, but it's worth a thought, to a degree.

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We actually do have energy bars in the office, but not in the bike cage. But, upvoted because that's a good idea for other workplaces with a similar setup. –  Mark Rushakoff Feb 2 '13 at 2:36
    
That's what desks and lockers are for. –  Daniel R Hicks Feb 2 '13 at 3:18

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