I do some mountain biking in remote parts of wales. I usually carry a minimal tool kit: pump, spare inner tube, and multi tool.

I'm wondering if you have any temporary 'get me home' repair tips I might need one day for when something breaks?


13 Answers 13


You should also have a survival bag, mobile phone, whistle, torch and small first aid kit as well as a map and compass. Remember it may be you that is broken not your bike!

  • you may not always have cell reception so a 'spot' or other GPS device is good. Runkeeper for iPhone has a live feature that could come in handy. Commented Oct 5, 2010 at 21:48
  • 2
    @curtismchale, If you know how to use your map and compass, then you don't see a GPS
    – Ian
    Commented Oct 5, 2010 at 22:22
  • 1
    Yeah but that doesn't let anyone else see how you are at all so any help is farther away. I never said a compass was bad or that a mobile phone was bad. If you're broken then a compass does you little good really since people have to locate you not your locate how to get out. Commented Oct 5, 2010 at 23:21
  • I recommend carrying also a patch kit - something that will help you fix that second flat, or the tube you replaced badly.
  • Always carry lights, you never know when you'll take longer than you expect and be stuck in the dark.
  • Have a friend with a car and a bike rack, for the really extreme issues :)
  • If your lights are battery-driven, an extra couple batteries is a good idea as well. Pack them carefully to avoid corrosion or damage.
    – D.Salo
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 19:39

Zipties! Zipties! Zipties!

  1. Shoe splits - ziptie it

  2. Centre pull brakes cable breaks - ziptie it

  3. Saddle post emergency - ziptie it

  4. Front chainring pops - ziptie it

  5. Replacement lights - ziptie it

  6. Broken bone - ziptie plus sticks

  7. Split tyre - stuff with grass, ziptie it if needed :)

"When a man has a hammer, everything in the world looks like a nail"

  • I actually have zip ties in my emergency repair kit! Way more useful than tape because of their size/weight. Commented Oct 23, 2010 at 20:10
  • @sixtyfootersdude: cannot be, I just lost my brakes in my folding bike due to poor zipties' hack, lost brake nuts earlier with a prototype during riding. Then I used electricians' tape and I got back to home with brakes, actually drove a little without brakes ;)
    – user652
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 22:28
  • Another good tip, you can chain zip-ties together to make longer zip ties. You can either create a chain by looping them together, or my favorite, feed the flat end of one into the locking mechanism of the other, and you got an extra long zip tie. You can chain together as many as need for the required length.
    – Kibbee
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 14:44

When everything else fails:

  • Hybrid MTB/hike shoes

MTB shoe

  • 2
    How is this a repair? So you can walk if the bike dies? Commented Oct 7, 2010 at 4:04
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    This got me home (or at least to a road) too many times :-( When the bike, or myself, is beyond repair.
    – GvS
    Commented Oct 7, 2010 at 7:35
  • I like the twist, yes they have saved my knees a number of times... ;)
    – user652
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 22:21

I always carry a bit of electricians tape or duct tape. I have done several impromptu repairs using the tape.

The best one was a time where I ripped open the sidewall of the tire about 6" long. I wrapped the replacement tube with tape going from about 4" before the ruined sidewall to about 4" after the rip. Was able to pump up the tire enough to roll 5 miles home.

  • 1
    how do you carry small amount of electricians' tape? Electricians' tapes I have are large.
    – user652
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 22:24
  • When using the electricians tape for non-bike stuff whenever I was near the end of a roll I tossed the roll in the bike bag. With the duct tape I was able to unwind from the roll directly to rolling around a small piece of corrugated cardboard. I did this without touching the sticky parts (except at very beginning/end where it went on the cardboard) and the tape worked fine so long as the sticky parts only touched the shiny back of the tape. Commented May 11, 2011 at 20:38
  • Cut a short piece of plastic pipe. Wrap tape around that. Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 21:55
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    I always carry an old plastic card ( credit card type ) in my wallet. I have duct tape, electrical tape, and a safety pin and paperclip included with this "fastening repair kit". The length of the tapes can depend on the size of the package you want. I always carry this emergency fastening kit with me and have made friends their own. You'd be surprised how often it comes in handy for something that gets loose on a bike trip or a step saver around the house.
    – user4975
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 17:54

Multi tool w/ a replaceable derailleur hanger as part of it. Or just a universal derailleur hanger. Pretty nice. Mind you, if you are touring you might as well carry your proper hanger as a 'just in case'.

Having a phillips head screw driver can save you. I have snapped the head of the front shifter cable mid way through a 160km point to point ride ... I just dialed in the limit screws and blocked the gear in. Same can be done for the rear derailleur to get you home.

A quicklink or power link is exceptionally useful to have on a ride. You can fix a broken chain enough to simply get home or if it was just a tweaked link, replace it, and have a fully functioning geared bike to ride home (or continue on your ride).

For mountain biking a spoke key can be essential. Break a spoke? Over tension the two opposing spokes to even it out. You can wrap the broken spoke around its nearest or, if you have tape, tape it to the other spoke.

A friend has stuffed a tyre full of grass (seriously) enough to ride the trails home. It did ferment a bit inside and was fairly odiferous after but it worked really well.

  • +1 for blocking the derailer in place with the limit screw. I never thought about that before. Is the screw usually long enough to block it in a reasonably low gear? Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 12:03
  • @sixtyfootersdude - you can usually get a couple of cogs - enough to get you home. The screws are not long enough though to go to your lowest couple of rear cogs.
    – Anthony K
    Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 13:07
  • A stick in the right place is enough to block front derailleur on second, but a screwdriver is a good idea anyway.
    – dhill
    Commented Oct 8, 2010 at 12:35

Carry a banknote for when you have a tear in the tire casing.

Wrap the note around the tube (that you just had to fix twice until you realized what was going on) and gently inflate the tire. The banknote will contain the pressure until you get home.

Unfortunately, your burger budget is now trapped in your bike!

  • This dollar bill trick is one of my all time favorites. A dollar in the repair kit can be most handy indeed.
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 0:48

The best 'repair' I saw that got our group home was when a guy snapped off his headtube. We grabbed some sticks and jammed them down the tubes and got to the car (1 hour away) so carry big sticks?

  • 1
    I'd carry a knife to whittle sicks down. Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 0:45
  • ...but that is a pretty cool bike hack. Commented Oct 7, 2010 at 4:05
  • yeah I had pictures but I can't find them anymore. I'll have to drop him a line to see if he has them. Commented Oct 7, 2010 at 4:43

About to years ago, I had a brand-new Trail Rat battery die on me in the middle of a ride. Luckily, I had a maglite on me as a backup, and I rigged this up: Rigging

(photo credit)

That's twine and zipties holding it onto the bar.

A few miles later, the maglite died. I rode in the taillight of the guy I was riding with.

Then it started hailing. We had no experience riding on slush so we called for help. (I've since ridden on ice, but I was young and not yet stubborn enough to tough it out.)

These days, when I'm on tour, I bring along those lamps you put on your head on a strap. I use them as reading lights in my tent, but they also serve as backup headlights.


You can straighten a bent wheel by hitting the lawn (or something soft -- not to damage the braking surface). You need to take it in hands on 8:00-4:00 with the bulge pointing downwards and hit appropriately hard. Repeat few times correcting for the bulge position and direction until you can ride.

I did that twice and both wheels are still in use. One of those is so true (after some spoke tweaking), that you would never say that it was bend to the point it wouldn't go through the fork. The brake pads leave less than 1mm space on both sides.


A spare link of chain and tool - or an entire chain if you are really far past where your legs can carry you if the route is remote.

  • 1
    Yes. Or, instead of a link take SRAM Powerlink's or equivalents which are far easier to fit and are supposed to be as strong as normal links. Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 15:33
  • I've heard they work very well for compatible 8-, 9- and 10-gear chains.
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 17:15

This isn't a "need" so much as a "nice-to-have," but I certainly appreciated having handy-wipes (alcohol-soaked individually-packed wipes) along after fixing a flat on my trail ride last Friday. Also useful if whatever you're looking at is so grimy/dusty you can't see or handle it properly.

If weight/bulk is not at a premium, in the States it's possible to buy a can or square of diaper wipes. Same idea, different branding, works just as well.

You may find that your first-aid kit has these already; in that case, just keep 'em stocked!

  • And they're good for.... wiping, too. Try and find biodegradable ones though.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 9:05

I know this is an old question, but it was recently bumped up. Here are a few more suggestions:

  • FiberFix Kevlar emergency replacement spoke.
  • Grease Monkey Wipes for clean-up after a greasy repair.
  • A tire boot to put between the tube & the tire if the tire casing gets cut. In a pinch, a candy wrapper, gu packet, or paper money will also work.
  • Don't rely only on CO2 cartridges, carry a pump as well.

+1 on the zip ties and power link recommendations. I once saw a photo of an emergency field repair to a broken chainstay using only Popsicle sticks and zip ties.

  • How do you take a photo using only popsicle sticks and zip ties? *baddum-tsh* Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 17:27

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