Tools of the trade.

In a mechanic’s shop you’ll see walls and drawers of tools, shelves of components, it’s a treasure trove; with these resources you can handle anything.  When you’re on your bike it is certainly a good idea to be similarly prepared for the unexpected things the road can throw at you –  from simple things, such as a flat tire to loose bolts and chains, and the like.  As much as it would be ideal to be prepared for anything, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to try to carry around everything that fits in a bike shop.  (Not to mention you wouldn’t get very far very fast.)  New commuters learn this over time.  Knowledge in repair comes from experience and, for some, study or curiosity.

Tools for commuting

So when taking on the roads of the world, just what do you need exactly? Each person will tell you something different, as this is question is answered according to taste, level of experience, and type of cycling.  The set-up above contains (from left to right) a carrying pouch for all the things, a trail multi-tool, handwarmers, spare tube, tire levers and a portable air pump.  The bottom set of wrenches includes a saddle  wrench, allen wrenches (also known as hex keys), a spoke wrench and several wrenches of other sizes.

A set-up like this allows the cyclist to be prepared for a number of occurrences; although there are advantages and drawbacks to each selection.

-The air pump has features that support both Schrader and Presta valves, but it can take a long time to get a tube up to pressure.  Some cyclists prefer CO2  cartridges, which in the same vein as a scuba suit’s air tank, is a cartridge containing pressurized carbon dioxide that allows one to quickly inflate a tire up to pressure.

-Many of the wrenches on the bottom are available as one multi-tool, saving space and weight.  When traveling with your bicycle don’t be surprised if airport security would like a more detailed explanation of your multi-tool.

-There are many colors and types of tire levers on the market, knowing what works best for you by changing a few tires at home first can help when you’re on the road.  Bicycle tires with a Kevlar bead can be especially challenging to change if you’re not familiar, the rigid bead makes them less flexible, so some extra finesse is required.

-The top multi-tool is not cycling specific, but has functions for camping or trails.  Perhaps not the most necessary thing for an urban cyclist, but on tours and randonneur rides out in nature, these extra functions can be most useful.  (Don’t try to get one of these on an airplane. )

-It would be a great idea to keep a patch kit in a tool set-up like this, then a tube’s life could be extended.

– It may be summer now, but those handwarmers can save the day in the cold winter wind.

The Joys of Industry Standard

Here at Montague HQ we make bikes that take industry standard components.  That means that you don’t have to out and buy special tools just to work on your folding bike.  The entire variety of options on the market are available to choose from.  Whatever you deem necessary to be ready for the roads of the world is what you can take with you; these folding bikes don’t require tools to fold so it’s entirely up to you what to take on the journey.

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