Now that you have your bike tuned up and ready to hit the road, it might be helpful to be prepared for the possibility that something might not go right. If you look around at cyclists who spend a lot of time riding a little bit away from civilization, you’ll likely notice that most of them will have a small seat bag on their bikes that holds emergency supplies for mechanical issues that might occur during the ride. The most common issue being a flat tire, that is the smartest thing to anticipate. This in mind, having a few emergency supplies in your bicycle seat bag might be a smart (and aggravation-saving) idea.
So what should be in that seat bag, anyway? The basic emergency kit should include:
- An extra, unused inner tube (make sure it’s the proper size for your tires)
- A good patch kit
- A fold-up multi-tool (especially a good one that also has spoke wrenches and a chain tool)
- At least two tire levers
- A CO2 inflater and two CO2 cartridges (if you aren’t sure how to use one, a good pump that you carry on the bike frame works, too)
That should be enough for the basics. There are also a few other little things you can stuff into the bag that will also help, such as…
- Tire boots (slightly oversized tire patches that can help with sidewall cuts in your tire. A dollar bill will work in a pinch)
- Another extra tube
- ID and extra cash (if you’re not already carrying this on your person)
- A small first aid kit (at the very least, a few band-aids wrapped up in cellophane)
- Some baby wipes (quick and easy cleanup if you have to do a roadside fix)
- A cellphone (again, if you’re not already carrying one on your person)
- An energy bar or energy gel packet for a quick nutritional pick-me-up
Of course, having all this stuff in a neat little bag hanging from your bike seat isn’t all that useful if you’re not all that familiar with what to do with the stuff in your neat little bag. Take some time to figure stuff out. Open up your multitool and take a good look at what’s on it and what it can do. If you’ve never used a CO2 inflater, get used to how it works and how it inflates. Practice fixing a flat on your bike if you can so you know what to do and how to do it – it’s a cyclist’s most useful skill besides actually riding the bike.
If you prepare yourself for when things might go wrong, it makes it all the sweeter when things go right. Once your confidence is up, you can move beyond riding on just your neighborhood streets and broaden your horizons out on the open road.
Good luck and happy trails!