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?

  • 4
    A water cooler :-)
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 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. Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 22:29
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    Upvoting question because it's so considerate! Wish all workplaces were like yours.
    – D.Salo
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 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 ? Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 13:11
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    @MarkRushakoff 3 miles is not a long commute, its a short one. Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 16:08

11 Answers 11


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.

  • 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
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 14:58
  • +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
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 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
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 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.
    – Drew
    Commented Feb 1, 2013 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
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 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. Commented Jan 31, 2013 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
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 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
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 8:36
  • +1 for saying the workplace should have a pump. It should be a floor pump. It isn't necessary to travel with a pump in your bag if you have a floor pump at home and at work.
    – ahorn
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 11:21

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
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 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
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 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
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 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. Commented Jan 31, 2013 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
    Commented Feb 1, 2013 at 2:24

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!

  • imbus for bolts 4,5,6 Commented Jan 30, 2013 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
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 9:13
  • Allan key, not allum.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 9:28
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    To be precise it is Allen: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hex_key
    – Jaime
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 12:16

We have 50 cyclists at work, out of 170 people. When I started the spares were the odd tube on a desk, perhaps without holes, and the only tools in the place was a floor pump and about 60x 6mm hex drivers.

I had a cleanout and rationalise at home, and brought in some surplus screwdrivers and so on. Other people have done the same, so there's now a work toolkit which is woefully incomplete, but cost nothing.

I also put two cardboard boxes on the table, one labelled "dead tubes" and one holding "good tubes" We periodically take the bad ones home and patch whatever is reusable, then return the okay ones to the good box.

We're lucky in that 1 of our 4 floors is unused, so its a huge area for bike storage.



  • Cable ties - cos they're good for a lot of things.
  • a range of normal sized spare tubes. Staff take one and replace it in the next couple days. 700c 18-25, 700c 28-34, 26" 1.5-2.25, 29" 2-3 would be the four "common" sizes, but depending on your population you might choose to strike the 26" and the wider 700c. Look for multipacks of tubes from somewhere like Wiggle to get stocked up. Don't buy expensive tubes for stock.

...and that's all. People will "forget" to replace them, and its not necessarily the low-paid staff!


  • A reliable floor pump, that does both presta and schrader.
  • Some philips and flat screwdrivers, possibly some torx ones.
  • Crescents / adjustable spanners OR some ring spanners of suitable sizes.
  • Pliers (sideys / dykes / something for cutting wire)
  • Tyre levers
  • A spoke key
  • Allen/hex keys of various sizes, probably metric 2/2.5/3/4/5/6/7/8/10 mm Maybe skip the 7mm one, that's a weird shimano size on some road bikes.


  • Floor covering, if required. We have big blue tarpaulins taped to the carpet, for wet-day storage/protection.
  • A table - something ugly that can get scratched up. Or a table covering - we use 4 carpet tiles taped together.

Why no more tools? Why not a repair stand? Work is for working, its not for fixing and servicing your bike. The tools at work are just enough to fix up common road problems without carrying onto a full service.

Notice there are no oils or lubes or cleaners in my list? That is because there's always one person who doesn't think, or fails to clean up and ruins it for everyone. Imagine oiling a chain inside?, and the mess it would make on carpet.

I observe that the suggested tools listing is pretty much exactly what's in my on-bike toolkit, except for a chain breaker and some master links, and a presta/schrader adapter.


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.
  • +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.)
    – D.Salo
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 23:08

Its now late 2016 and a new need has cropped up for my workplace. That's charging points for ebikes.

Most people with powered bikes will charge them overnight at home, for the day's usage. But some people live more than half-a-charge away, so they choose to buy two chargers, and leave one at work.

Some ebikes support removing the battery for charging at your desk, but not all.

So a couple of bike parks near power sockets would be good, and having some kind of convenient shelf or ledge to keep the charger off the ground, and the cable routing safe and convenient too.

(not really a toolkit item though)


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!


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.

  • This is very situation-dependent. When I last had a puncture on my commute, I was only about a mile from work and I preferred to wheel my bike in and fix it at my own convenience later in the day, rather than fixing it on a busy city street. And, in cities where many people cycle, there will be plenty of people who cycle a short to work but don't know how to fix a puncture and don't carry spares. For them, it's a choice between finding help at work or getting a bike shop to do the work. Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 13:23

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.

  • 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. Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 2:36
  • That's what desks and lockers are for. Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 3:18
  • In any fair-sized office there will always be "users" who will take but not replace. Food would be a continuous cost - the tools are mostly "buy once" items
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 19:35

I noticed @Benzo mentioned zip ties in his answer. I think those are indispensable. All the lists are very good.

I would add 1,000/100 mile an hour tape, or duct tape.

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