There’s no point risking it, because that’s the point when you’ll definitely need your tools with you on your ride. We run you through the seven essentials you shouldn’t leave home without…

1. Pump / gas canister

7 of the best mini pumps

A mini pump or gas canister are definitely a necessity

If you puncture you’ll need an implement with which to fill your replacement inner tube. If you can’t do this you face the indignity of getting a cab or train home. Or, worse still, calling your partner/parent/sibling to come and pick you up. There are two options here – a pump or a gas canister.

The best pumps are frame fit. The longer, larger barrel means you can push more air with each pump. The mini-pumps are much easier and lighter to carry. Gas canisters are the quickest, inflating the inner tube in a couple of seconds. Beware, the canister will freeze when the CO2 rushes out, so if it’s not covered, then make sure your hands are.

>>> How to fix a puncture

2. Inner tube

Inner tubes

Two’s company, three might be a crowd when it comes to inner tubes

One inner tube is a bare necessity. Two is better still. Three might be overkill. Who knows how many times you may puncture on a ride. If it’s a short ride (under one hour) one tube will probably suffice. If it’s a long wet day out, you could need more. Basically it’s up to you.

Just remember, there’s nothing more annoying than to be asked ‘you don’t have a spare tube, do you? I forgot mine.’ Be a good cub scout and go prepared – and remember you’ll need long valves if you have deep section rims.

3. Tyre levers

puncture repair

Save your hands, get some levers

If you’ve got very strong hands and tough skin on your fingers, well done you. If not, you’ll need tyre levers, at least two. Slide one under the bead of the tyre, then put the second one in a few inches along the rim. Hold one in position while sliding the other one around the wheel rim which will release the tyre. Whatever you do, don’t put the tyre back on the rim with the levers, you’re likely to pinch the tube between the lever and the rim. This should be done by hand.

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4. Multi tool

7 of the best cycle multi-tools

A tool for every occassion

There’s a lot that can go wrong with a push bike, and the chances are they’ll go wrong when you’re at your farthest point from home. Nine out of ten things can be fixed with a four or five millimeter allen key. That one other time you’re likely to need something else.

Your best chance of having the right tool is to carry a multi-tool with a selection of items. The smallest, lightest ones will have few tools, the bigger ones will almost allow you to strip and rebuild a bike by the road side. Which one you carry depends on the amount of carrying capacity your jersey and saddle bag have and the technical knowledge you have to wield said tool. We’d recommend one with allen key options and a chain breaker.

5. Emergency patches

patches

Patches can be a space-saving alternative to more inner tubes

If you’ve only got room for one inner tube, or you ride over tacks in the New Forest, you could find yourself stranded. A packet of emergency patches will of the job of a dozen inner tubes if you hit real problems. Better still, you can give one of them to the rider who has forgotten to bring a spare tube.

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6. Old strip of tyre

puncture repair

An old strip of tyre can come in handy to temporarily block up tears and rips

There will be times when an inner tube won’t suffice. If a tyre gets a big hole punched in to it, slit or cut, the inner tube will bulge out. An old strip of tyre – about six inches long – with the side beads cut off will fit between the tyre and inner tube is a better option than a sticky old gel wrapper from your back pocket, and will fit easily in your saddle bag. Cut up an old tyre though, not a new one.

>>> Are wider tyres really faster?

7. Credit card

card

Don’t get stranded without your plastic

Never leave home without it.

  • Gerald H.

    No phone?

  • Mike Kennedy

    ID and ICE (in case of emergency) details are always good to have.

  • Pbody

    Also some type of handy wipes to clean hands after dealing with greasy chains or, surgical gloves! On my training rides I use a camelback for all my tools and tubes and plenty of water. Yes it may weigh up to 12 lbs but at least I have everything I need and the added weight gives me a better work out, especially going up hills!

  • Harvey

    Some other, light, but can be necessary things:

    1.)Railroad Pass–some trains don’t allow bicycles without a pass (I’m on Long Island and this is a must).
    2.)Chain Link pin and the tool to put it in. Today’s narrow chains are much more likely to break than yesteryear’s chains.
    3.)Cell Phone–great in an emergency and can help you predict the weather if a sudden thunderstorm, etc., comes up.
    4.)Your medical card, in case of a medical emergency.
    5.)Small First Aid Kit.
    6.)An ID that includes people to contact, blood type, etc.

  • rlinger

    Bike Headlamp and a backup light that goes over your helmet.

  • Mike

    I think an ID should be also mandatory, in the event of an accident, especially if you are riding alone.

  • Texas Roadhouse

    one “essential” not included – your bike!!!

  • Jon

    I would swap 6″ of old tyre for the following:

    Tyre boot cut from toothpaste tube
    Gear cable
    Chain link pin (if you have a Shimano chain)
    Cable ties
    CR2032 battery
    Some sticking plaster and an antiseptic wipe
    A tenner in case café doesn’t take cards