|On the Bike
What do you pack on the trail? Obviously, not your whole garage. Also
obvious: it's not smart to go "bare" if you're riding a dozen
miles away from help.
Your needs may differ. But here's what I pack every time. And so far,
I've never had to hike out. But my biking buddies (who came to rely on
"Mr. Prepared") have hiked out when I didn't go with them.
||A. Multi-tool. Includes hex wrenches, phillips and
standard screwdrivers, brake wrenches, spoke wrenches, tire levers, and chain tool.
This one also has an open-ended wrench for the bolts on my
B. Press-on patch kit. Quickie patches for tiny punctures.
C. Spare tube.
D. Patches. Medium and big glue-on patches for big flats.
E. Sandpaper. To buff the tube before patching.
F. Glue. Fresh and unopened.
G. Cleat screw. Just in case one falls out.
H. Quick link. For chain repairs without loss of length.
I. Pump. Fits schraeder and presta valves.
|You can do a surprising amount of bike maintenance and repair with just the
multi-tool. You can true the rims, tune the brakes, adjust the derailleurs, move
and replace gear, repair flats, and fix the chain. If you're not heavy into bike
repair, this (plus an odd wrench or two from the garage) could serve as your
entire bike repair kit.
Including the pump, multi-tool, repair kit and spare tube, your on-the-bike
kit will be around $50.
A. Crescent wrench. Used to hold the outer nut on head sets, wheel hubs,
etc, so you only need one each of cone wrench, headset wrench sizes.
|In the Toolbox
(Mechanical tools -- explanations are below)
|A. Crescent wrench
B. Phillips and standard screwdrivers
C. Needle-nose pliers
E. Small parts (brake nuts, boots, cable caps...)
F. Crank extractor
G. High pressure (shock) pump
I. Cassette lockring tool
J. Headset wrenches
K. Cone wrenches
L. Spoke wrenches
M. Tire pressure gauge
N. Tire levers
O. Chain whip
P. Pedal wrench
Q. Bottom bracket tool
R. Cable cutter
B. Phillips and standard screwdrivers. For setting the limits on the
C. Needle-nose pliers. Crimp and uncrimp cable caps, grab things in
D. Small parts. Extras of brake nuts and spacers, cable boots, cable
caps, chain quick-links, spoke nipples, shoe cleats and bolts...
F. Crank extractor. Used to pull the crank-arm off the bottom bracket,
for both male- and female-threaded spindles.
G. High pressure (shock) pump. Add or remove stiffness from air
H. Multi-tool. Mighty useful. Includes hex wrenches that fit
everything on your bike, phillips and
standard screwdrivers, brake wrenches to fit the nuts that hold brake pads, spoke
wrenches for truing, tire levers for changing tires, and a chain tool for fixing
broken chains. (I have another multi-tool in the underseat pack of the bike. I
leave it there, so it won't be lying on the garage workbench when I'm out in the
I. Cassette lockring tool. Specific to your cogs. This is a
Shimano-compatible cassette tool. In combination with the chain whip, removes
the lockring that holds the cogs onto your rear wheel, so you can replace spokes
or damaged cogs.
J. Headset wrenches. Used to take a threaded headset apart to
service the bearings. Also used to turn the bottom bracket tool.
K. Cone wrenches. For taking the axle of your wheel apart to adjust or
service the bearings in the hub.
L. Spoke wrenches. Handy and quick, these wrenches tighten or
loosen spokes easily. Makes wheel truing a breeze.
M. Tire pressure gauge. Replaces the "squeeze" test in
deciding when the tire pressure is right for the ride you've planned.
N. Tire levers. Freestanding smooth levers get those tight tires off
the rim without (much) cursing.
O. Chain whip. Restrains the cogs on the rear wheel while you undo the
lockring, using the lockring tool.
P. Pedal wrench. Thin but long and beefy wrench takes frozen-on
pedals off the crank.
Q. Bottom bracket tool. Specific to your bracket type. This one fits
the teeth inside a Shimano cartridge-type bottom bracket. Turned with a headset
R. Cable cutter. Makes quick clean slices through cables and
You can spend as much as you like on bike tools. Shop around for the best
prices. Expect to spend $125-200 for a reasonably full set of tools. The
toolbox, the supplies box (below), and the workstand go with us anytime we're
biking more than an hour or two away from home. We do some serious work in motel
|In the Cleaning and Supply Box
Yes, believe it or not, all the supplies you see below go with me on those
weekends in Moab or St. George. You'd be surprised how often it saves the day.
(Often, it saves the day for the unprepared biker who's with me.) Our on-line
store has a full line of brake pads -- if you don't see your pad, call.
||A. Cantilever brake pads. These pads attach by
clamping the post. (I carry a full set of 4 brake pads for every bike that goes
with me. I have kids.)
B. V-brake pads. Threaded-stem pads for V-brakes.
C. Cartridge pads. For linear-pull rim brakes.
D. Disc brake pads. These are harder to find "in the
E. Presta valve tubes. For high-performance tires. This is in
addition to the extra tubes in the underseat packs.
F. Schraeder valve tubes. For the kids bikes.
G. Tires. If you cut a big slash in the tire, it's nice to have a spiffy new
one for the next ride.
|A. Degreaser. To clean chain and pulleys.
B and C. Wax chain lube. Doesn't pick up dirt.
D. Pressurized dry lube. Blow dirt out of the cable housings, lube derailleur
mechanism and levers.
E. Light oil. For the kids' chains, because they leave their bikes
in the rain.
F. Heavy oil. Chain lube for creek-dipping or roads.
G. Bearing grease. For threaded joints that will be taken apart or adjusted
H. Sunscreen. Backup. Sometimes I forget to pack sunscreen with my personal
I. Chain cleaner. There's nothing like a clean
J. Cleaning brush. Scrub the gunk off the pulleys so they track correctly.
||A. Cable ties. Very useful for securing cable housing, speedometer cable,
B. Dog leash.
C. Swap-out pedals. For alternative terrain.
D. Light system. In case we decide to take a moonlight cruise, headlight and
E. Extra patches and glue. To replace what you've used from your on-bike
F. Electrical tape and duct tape. Bind down errant cables, tape a stick to a bent cable
housing. Lots of uses.
G. Rim tape. When the rim tape is old and the spoke holes are cutting your
tubes, new rim tape fixes it.
|H. Helmet mirror. Suppose -- heaven forbid -- I have to make a long trip
I. Derailleur hanger. You WILL bend your derailleur hanger sometime.
J. Chain links. For chain repair.
K. Loctite. For bolts that should stay put -- chainring bolts, crank bolt,
disc brake mounting bolts.
L. Spokes. Take an extra spoke or two in YOUR size.
A repair stand sounds expensive, but is well worth the money. Once
you've tuned your derailleurs and brakes on a repair stand, you'll wonder
how you ever worked on a bike without one. Even for minor repairs, it gets
your bike up away from the snow and mud, at a comfortable height for
The repair stand goes with us on trips. It's soooo nice to ride a
well-tuned bike on the second and third day at Moab.
|The Park repair stand above has an adjustable, rotating clamp that holds any part
of the bike while you move it higher or lower, tilt it forward or back. You can
even get a rim truing mechanism for it.
| Repair stands run from $50 (for
something that simply props your bike up) to $250 for a professional model.
A hitch rack or trunk rack can do a lot of the same work as a cheap repair
stand. Just let the bike dangle from the rack while you turn the crank and click
A full-blown truing stand is great for perfecting your wheel's
performance. It's especially useful if you like close tolerances on your
rim brakes, but spend your biking day dropping off ledges and logs.
Frankly, the typical biker doesn't ride hard enough, or often enough,
to warrant the expense of a formal truing stand. Just have the rims trued,
along with your general tuneup, at the bike shop.
For whipping a rim into true during a bike trip, we usually just do a quick'n
dirty spoke adjustment with the wheel on the bike, using the brake pads as a
guide to direction and degree of rim wobble.
A dedicated truing stand will run from $60 to $250.
[Fix-it Index Page]