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
- Fresh Tube
- Patch Kit
- Bacon Strips - tire patches
- Chain-breaker (if you use Shimano chains make tape a pin to the chain-breaker)
- Allen Wrench 5mm (make sure it fits your stem, brakes, cranks)
- Spoke Wrench
- 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.