August 29, 2009
I'm often asked by touring cyclists about tools. They are generally heavy, so you don't want to carry more than are necessary, but at the same time, not having the correct tools can leave you stranded. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when packing for the road. Terrain, climate, and bike setup can all influence your tool selection. To take some of the guess work out of the equation, here is my general roster of tools that keep me rolling with confidence.
For weekend tours (2-3 days), a basic tool kit will often suffice. This will handle almost any simple repair that will get you back up and running. Of course, make sure your bike is in good working order before you hit the road, and you'll likely bypass most major mechanical issues. Here are the basics:
Multitool (2-8mm allen keys, flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, chain tool, spoke wrench)
Frame or Mini Pump
Tube x 2
For week long tours (4-8 days), I like to take the basic kit above and toss in a few items that will add some durability to small repairs:
Duct Tape (can be wrapped around water bottles or bike frame for easy storage)
If you are hitting the road for an extended period of time (9+ day), you may benefit greatly by beefing up your tool kit, and mechanical know-how. At this point, you will not only be carrying a strong selection of tools, but you will also have a few key replacement parts as well:
Spare Spokes or Kevlar Spoke
Spare Brake Pads
Replacement Cleats (if using clipless pedals)
Spare folding tire
Extra Bolts (M5 threading is most common)
Spare Chain Link/Pin
This is a pretty general outline. If you have any special needs regarding racks, trailers, and/or mountain bikes, be sure to address those as well (special tubes, torque wrenches, hose clamps, etc).
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack, a part Adventure Cycling's Member Services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.