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As most of my riding is limited to intra-city commuting (on bus routes) or on bike paths, I have not really faced a dire need for a repair kit while riding. I am looking into pulling off a three hour ride soon (one way, and then back two days later) and would like an idea of what to pack for emergency repairs while riding.

As I will have camping gear with me I am looking to have a minimal amount that can fit on my back. However, getting stranded two hours into the ride doesnt sound like fun and, aside from flats and a broken chain (?), I am not sure what else to prepare for or what to bring.

What emergencies should I prepare for? Are there repair kits already assembled (I have an old Ross road bike)? And what size pack am I likely to need?

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could someone add 'repair-kit' as a tag? That's really what I need to plan for and have a vague grasp on. –  mfg Aug 27 '10 at 12:23
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Changed gear tag to equipment to avoid confusion. –  Amos Aug 28 '10 at 10:38
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7 Answers 7

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Here's what I normally bring:

  • Spare tube
  • Tire levers (for changing the tube)
  • Pump (or CO2 inflator)
  • 4, 5, and 6mm allen wrenches (for adjusting/tightening the saddle or seat post during the ride, but also to tighten many other things on the bike that could come loose)

To me, for the long rides that I do, everything beyond this basic equipment provides diminishing returns. Any number of things can go wrong, and you can't prepare for all of them. Last year I didn't see a speed bump in the road and was thrown up on the handlebars; the back of the bike rotated in the air and when it landed it bent the rear wheel so badly that I had to disengage the brakes for it to turn at all. No matter how much repair gear you bring, things can always happen that will end your ride.

I think if you take good care of your bike, the chance of your chain breaking is fairly low. But I suppose the chain repair stuff doesn't take up much space, so you could bring that too if you want.

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Good list. Add a small patch kit for when the second tube goes flat because you forgot to remove the small thorn from your tire :-). While not technically repair items I would also add a cell phone and some cash to help you get home if all else fails. –  jenglert Aug 27 '10 at 16:07
    
thanks for the reassurance, probably would have neglected to bring the allen wrenches; and the patch kit is a good idea since it takes up a tiny amount of space. i guess i should have noted i will have a phone and wallet, but thanks for the basic list. –  mfg Aug 27 '10 at 16:34
    
I would add a chain breaker if you don't have an enclosed chain. –  Ian Sep 3 '10 at 21:16
    
Interesting, never heard of a CO_2 inflator before... for those similarly unfamiliar, check this youtube video for a demo. Looks like a great thing to carry for emergencies. –  eykanal Aug 23 '12 at 19:43
    
@freiheit -- I think it inappropriate to modify another's post to and change the meaning he expressed when the question was something of a "survey" -- he could, eg, be violently opposed to CO2 inflators for some reason. Either make your addition as a comment or as a separate post. –  Daniel R Hicks Aug 23 '12 at 21:15
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Here's what usually I'll bring on commuting more than 50km:

  • tire patching kit (tire lever, patch kit)
  • spare tube (actually it goes first, if its get another failure, the i'll go with the patch kit)
  • multi-tool (never hurt for me to add few ounce to more than allen key)
  • human repair kit (aka. first aid kit), you'll never know what happens next
  • additional water bottle (i use one bottle and one hydration pack on my bag). water is very important

note: Mostly i use singlespeed bike, and above package is the one suits me (on my current condition, elevation, and climate), there must be difference

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+1 For extra water. –  rschuler Sep 3 '10 at 16:28
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i might be a wee bit excessive but just for everyday commuting i carry:

  • patch kit
  • spare tube x2
  • hand pump
  • foldable tire
  • multitool
  • pocketknife
  • first aid kit
  • chaintool
  • tire lever x2
  • allen keys
  • dumbbell wrench

also this is the greatest cycling wrench ever http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=dumbell+wrench&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=17793775178922196830&ei=Er2ATM-NEITSsAOhnpz3Bw&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CB8Q8wIwAQ#

hope this helps

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I never ride far from civilization, so I don't bring any repair kit.

My policy is prevention:

  • take care of my bicycle everyday
  • bring it to a repair shop for periodic maintenance and for checks before a long ride.

Then my repair kit is composed only of a VISA card in case of emergency.

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Good care won't prevent flat tires, though. –  Vache Oct 14 '10 at 10:36
    
Good care also means right equipment: see schwalbe.com/gbl/en/produkte/tour_city/produkt/… –  mouviciel Oct 14 '10 at 10:53
    
Well said and I'm the same way. (I don't even carry water, I just stop somewhere for a drink when I get thirsty). –  Ash Machine Sep 7 '11 at 17:45
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Gus's recommendations are solid. The only other things I would recommend is:

  • quick link (I carry an 8, 9 and 10spd regardless ... help out others!)
  • money of some sort
  • tyre boot (thicker plastic liner that can be placed in the tyre if tyre gets sliced)
  • duct tape (yeah, it CAN solve everything)
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Remember to bring tools that are specific to the bike you are riding.

I took one of my fat tire bikes up to an event. On the way there, I got a flat, which wouldn't be a problem, except that that bike had theft-prevention skewers on the wheels that only a specific wrench can unlock, a wrench I didn't have with me. I couldn't remove the wheel to fix the flat. This would not have been an issue on my regular commute because there are bike shops on the way, or I could easily catch a bus home.

The kit on most of my bikes includes: patch kit tire irons 4/5/6 Allen keys

I have decent frame pumps from another era. The ones they have now, including CO2, are only meant to get you limping again, but they're often better than nothing.

There's also something to be said for swallowing your pride and making a phone call.

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Some knowledge might be a good emergency kit. I straightened a wheel by hitting against the lawn after being run over by a car.

See this question for those.

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