Places I have been
India and Neighbors
/ Canada / USA
SE Asia / China
How I started
Equipment Pages Index
What do you have in your panniers to tackle those roadside emergencies and breakdown?
The most common Roadside Repairs - Three levels of tools to carry on a bicycle tour
Touring bicycle often require roadside repairs. The Tools and Spares carried in your panniers are possibly the most important components of your bike touring gear. Your tool kit is unlike most of the other gear onboard, it's the part you dread having to put to use. The right tool or spare can save your bike tour but tools are heavy and having too much will weigh a cycle down. there's no point in carrying tools you don't know how to use even though they could save the day. Emergancy repairs will require expierance with tools and lot of ingenity to make on the fly repairs So here is the dilima; as a bike tourist you want to be independent and keep your touring bicycle rolling no matter how bad your luck but you never want to carry too much because the engine of your adventure is you the cyclist.
Determining Factors to Help You Choose Tool Kits
When building your tool and spare kit, consider where and how long your trip will be, along with your mechanical aptitude. In my experience, the longer the tour, the bigger the tool kit you'll need.
Travel in less-developed countries requires carrying more spare parts, as there will be less real bike shops. A two-year tour through Asia will require an extensive set of tools and spare parts. Developing countries do have bike shops, but rarely carry high end parts. Relying on bike shops saves lots of weight, but leaves much more to chance.
On the other hand, a loaded tour lasting one to six months in a developed country (US/Canada/Europe) requires a smaller tool and spare kit. For example, a three month trip across the USA requires minimal tools. Bike shops are abundant in America and, assuming you begin with a well-maintained set of wheels, three months is not really enough time to expect major breakdowns
For touring cyclists on extended trips through undeveloped parts of the world, riders should be prepared to deal with the occasional breakdown and major repairs. Of course, just having the right tool is not enough. I recommend taking the time to learn and practice bike repairs before the trip begins. It's much easier to learn to replace a broken spoke in a workshop than on the side of the road. (read more about determining factors for bike tour tool kits)
Tools for bicycle touring have to be lightweight enough to be carried in bike panniers or a seat bag yet be adequate to cover all the emergency road side repairs and regular maintenance. In my opinion, mini folding all-in-one tools are not optimal for long tours.
What Are The most common Roadside Repairs?
This take a bit more than paragraph to explain so I made a page about the most common breakdowns and repairs touring cyclist experience. Basically, on a short tour, under three weeks, you may not have any mechanical issues but after 3-6 months problems should be expected and you need to be prepared with enough tools and spares to be self contained and self sufficient
Of cauerce a lot more can go wrong than the list below; I have experienced about everything possible, but it will give you a good idea of what most travelers on a bicycle can look forward too
Three levels of tools to carry on a bicycle tour
I spend a whole page explaining this in more detail but here is a summery. There are a lot of ways of categorizing tool kit but I like to boil it down to three different levels of riders/travelers. This does not include some emergency parts like Zip Ties and hose clamp (see my full gear list here) make page with this stuff
What Do I Do?
More Information Here
list of tools - title = recommended Bike tool kits for bicycle touring
link to other repair kits - stove - tent - pannier - sewing - sleeping pad
32mm head wrench/pedal wrench combo (if not using a thread-less system)
Brookes saddle wrench
Disk brake torque wrench
pictures of hose clamp - zip tie more
spare spokes spare bolts and screws of all sizes chain lube (illegal to carry Teflon based lubes on airplanes now) grease (waterproof grease) cable ties duct tape
Pump, Tire Levers, and the Basics
I have used several brands of bicycle panniers and
highly recommend Ortlieb.
See Why I switched to Ortlieb waterproof Panniers?
2002 - 2020 © DownTheRoad.org (TM) All Rights Reserved