Bike maintenance

Basic tool kit

If you’re going on a ride then carrying a basic tool kit can make a lot of difference and save a long walk home if you suffer minor failures. A typical kit would contain:

  • Pump (make sure it does the type of valves you have on your bike! and regularly¬†check it still works!)
  • Bike multi tool – Allen keys and screwdriver tools
  • Tyre levers (often built into the multi tool but might be rubbish)
  • Puncture repair kit or self-adhesive patches (Topeak Flypapers are excellent, some others are rubbish)
  • Spare inner tube
  • Chain link removal tool (often built into the multi tool)
  • Chain “Golden Link” or “Quick Link” (allows a broken chain to be joined together)
  • Small cable ties or bits of string
  • Disposable gloves if you don’t like getting your hands dirty!

More advanced tool kit

If you’re going on longer rides or going solo then it’s worth considering a few extras over and above the basic tool kit:

  • Leatherman/Gerber style multi tool with pliers, knife, scissors
  • First aid kit
  • Energy gel or bar
  • Second spare inner tube
  • Tyre boot, either a proper one or just an old toothpaste tube with ends cut off and slit down the middle or rectangle cut from the side of a plastic milk bottle (in case you get a split in a tyre sidewall, not unheard of on the local flint)
  • Spare mech hanger for your bike or a generic emergency mech hanger (note these are only good for QR wheels)

Puncture repair

It saves a lot of time and effort if you can just swap in a new inner tube and then fix the old one back at home, but it’s good to be able to repair a puncture mid-ride. If you’re on your own then it’s worth carrying two spare tubes. If it’s a warm day then fixing a puncture doesn’t take long.

Here’s an online guide, here’s a video and here’s our own quick guide:

  • Remove wheel
  • Let all air out of tyre.
  • Remove tyre – tyre levers usually needed.
  • Remove tube. Inflate and search for hole(s). A good method is to pass the tyre past your ear until you can feel and hear the air coming out.
  • It’s worth inspecting the inner edge of the tyre and running your finger over it to see if there any thorns or nails still stuck in it.
  • Roughen surface of tube with sand paper.
  • If using a self-adhesive patch: put this over the whole and press it on firmly for 10 seconds
  • If using glue & patches: Apply vulcanising solution, leave solution to go off for 5 minutes, stick patch on, press firmly for a few seconds, smear more solution over any gaps.
  • Partially inflate tube.
  • Have one edge of tyre in the rim, refit tube inside the tyre.
  • Fit over edge of tyre into rim – this can usually be done without tyre levers. Start opposite the valve and run both hands round the wheel pushing and stretching the tyre. Some tyres will just be too tight so use tyre levers to finish the job off but be careful not to pinch the tube.

Chain Wear

 

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