Folding Bikes Blog

The Essentials – Tools to Ride With

If you’re a regular bike commuter, you know that bikes need maintenance, adjustments, and from time to time, parts just break. There’s nothing worse than being stuck far from home without a patch kit, extra tube, or the proper tool to tighten that loose stem bolt. I always ride with my messenger bag and I keep a few essentials in there for just those occasions.


    1. Extra tube – When you get a flat and need a quick change, nothing is more convenient than having an extra tube handy.
    2. Patch Kit – It’s more cost effective to patch a tube once or twice before replacing it. If I have the time, I’ll opt for the patch.
    3. Tire Levers – Very helpful for removing difficult tires (and as a last resort when installing them).
    4. Mini Pump – To inflate that freshly patched tube. This particular pump can accommodate both Schrader and Presta valves.
    5. Pedal Wrench – An open end wrench to fit any pedal size.
    6. Chain Lube – Although this isn’t a necessity to carry on every ride, it’s nice to know I have it when it’s needed. And when I’m riding with others, there’s always someone with a squeaky drivetrain (and that’s a pet peeve of mine).  It can also be used to lubricate any other moving parts. Getting difficult to turn the key in your U-lock? A few drops of chain lube will help.
    7. 15mm Box End Wrench / Lockring Wrench – 15mm is the standard size for bolt on hubs, so any non-quick release wheels require a wrench like this for removal. On this particular tool, the other end is a lock ring wrench. I often ride fixed gear and the rear cog is held in place by a lock ring. If it ever needs to be tightened, this can be a difficult tool to find.
    8. Multi-Tool (pictured below) – More than meets the eye! Aside from a patch kit, this is the most useful thing I carry. It includes 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm hex wrenches, flat and phillips head screwdrivers, a bottle opener, spoke wrenches, and even a chain tool.


Not everyone wants to carry as much extra weight as I do, and really, I might be airing on the side of overkill. Regardless, I would recommend always having at least a multi-tool and a patch kit with you. You could easily stow these in a small seat bag. You won’t have to carry anything on your person, and they’ll always be there – just in case.

One more thing I always keep around is zip ties. They’re light weight and very versatile so throw a few in your bag, you never know what might need to be held together. I’ve fixed a broken fender bracket with a zip tie, and it’s still holding up to this day. What else do you carry on your ride? Anything I’ve forgotten?

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  1. Lee
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    In addition to these very useful items, I like to carry a compressed air cartridge and adapter, since pumping up a tire with a tiny little air pump is tedious and slow (not good things while on the way to work!), and they allow me to get the tire air pressure high enough to reduce the risk of a pinch flat on the rest of the ride. I also keep some tools (full size air pump), tubes and spare batteries for lights at work. Just in case.

  2. Posted November 27, 2012 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    The C02 cartridge is a much faster (and less tiring) option, great suggestion. Luckily I don’t have to use the mini pump too often. And we do have a few tools here at the Montague Bikes HQ :)

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