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.
- Extra tube – When you get a flat and need a quick change, nothing is more convenient than having an extra tube handy.
- 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.
- Tire Levers – Very helpful for removing difficult tires (and as a last resort when installing them).
- Mini Pump – To inflate that freshly patched tube. This particular pump can accommodate both Schrader and Presta valves.
- Pedal Wrench - An open end wrench to fit any pedal size.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?