Be prepared Before Your Next Ride
by: Jeff Haug

Be prepared! This is the motto of the scouts and it should be the motto for cyclists. During my last cycling adventure, I realized just how important it was to be prepared. I always keep my bike in reasonably good condition and make sure that I carry a pump and at least a patch kit. Well, this is sufficient for 99.5% of bicycle rides, but sometimes you need to be a little more.

I was out for a hard peaceful solo ride and all was going well. The weather was perfect and my legs were feeling strong. About an hour into my ride I was grinding up a long uphill climb. As I transitioned from a seating to a standing position I heard that infrequent, but the very distinctive sound that occurs when you snap a chain. I quickly rifled through my bike bag to see if I had inadvertently tossed a chain breaker in. No luck. I searched the ground to see if I could find the link that came apart and had no luck. Attempts to tap another pin using a rock did not work either.

It had been a long time since I had been in such a predicament. A broken chain as far as bicycle breakdowns go is not all that bad. After all, the bike still rolls. I managed to make it back and luckily most of my ride had been uphill so I was able to coast most of the way home.

When I got back I put together some essentials to prevent from being stranded and interrupting that next perfect ride. For under 10 bucks you can put together

  1. Pump
  2. Fresh Tube
  3. Patch Kit
  4. Bacon Strips - tire patches
  5. Chain-breaker (if you use Shimano chains make tape a pin to the chain-breaker)
  6. Allen Wrench 5mm (make sure it fits your stem, brakes, cranks)
  7. Spoke Wrench
  8. Band-Aids
  9. Waterproof Matches

Other things you might want to carry in your repair kit include tire levers, some duct tape, a couple of bucks, iodine, and a couple of energy bars.

If you use a water backpack then all the items can be placed in a Ziploc bag and put in the backpack. A small seatbag and keep everything on the bike. This way you will always be prepared.