Tool Kit & Spares
Ask any serious and experienced cyclist and they will tell you to always carry a pump, a puncture repair kit (or spare inner tube) and a simple multi-tool (allen keys and spanner etc). The last thing one wants is to be cycling home and get a puncture and not to be able to fix it.
When one sets off on a long distance cycle tour, especially outside of western Europe, you really need to carry a set of essential spare parts and a suitable tool kit, so that a minor problem such as a broken gear cable or broken spoke does not become ride-stopping event. In most of Europe, you should be able to get to a bike shop with everything you need and a mechanic to help, in the next big town, but elsewhere (e.g. the Balkans, the Caucasus mountains, Iran or India) you will not have such a luxury.
So, take spares and learn a few skills in basic bike maintenance and simple fixes. We carry the following spares…
- Two spare inner tubes
- Rema Tip Top puncture repair kit
- Park Tools Emergency Tire Repair Boots
- Fiber Fix Emergency Replacement Spoke
- Spare spokes (different sizes for each of our wheels)
- Spare brake & gear cables
- Spare brake pads (V-brake inserts & disc brake pads)
- A handful of spare nuts, washers & bolts (for pannier racks & misc. attachments)
- Cable ties
- Roll of vinyl electrical tape
- Spare hook inserts for our Ortlieb pannier bags
- Good quality chain oil (small bottle)
- Small tub of grease (35mm plastic film canister)
We carry the following tools…
- Leatherman Charge TTi multi-tool with pincer needle-nose plyers
- Topeak Alien II Multi Tool (allen keys, mini spanners & chain break tool)
- Small pedal spanner
- Two lightweight tyre levers
The basic repair know-how that you will need includes….
- Fixing a puncture
- Adjusting brakes
- Replacing a broken brake cable
- Replacing a broken gear cable
- Turning handlebars & removing pedals for transporting bikes
Meanwhile, just to be safe, it is always worth having your bike checked and serviced before embarking on a long cycle tour. Bicycles are simple and robust mechanical objects, not much can go wrong and if properly checked/serviced, your bike should be fine for a few thousand miles.