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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 05-14-08, 09:36 AM   #1
sauerwald
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What tools do you carry with you on your commute?

I have a trunk bag in which I carry a spare tube, a patch kit, a multitool, a pump and a set of irons, along with arm and leg warmers, a light rain jacket, and a lock. I commute 30 miles RT daily, and have had very few mechanical issues (last flat was over 4000 miles ago), I do most of my own maintenance and am pretty good at keeping up on things. On this mornings commute, while starting off from a red light, my chain broke - the chain is a SRAM 9 speed chain, with 1500 miles on it, and it had stretched about 0.75% - It was going to be replaced this weekend even before it broke. At the time the chain broke, I was with another commuter, and was chatting with him and he stopped to help. Neither of us had a chain tool or a pair of pliers with which to repair the chain. I ended up flagging down a Cable TV service van, and borrowed a pair of pliers from him which allowed me to get the chain fixed enough to get me the last 2 miles to work.

In any event, it got me thinking - what tools do other regular commuters carry with them on their commute. How many of you would have been self sufficient and been able to get back on the road with a broken chain?
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Old 05-14-08, 09:53 AM   #2
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I tend to pop my chain every 500mi or so, being a clyde. I keep a multitool with a chain tool on it and can repair a chain like a nascar pit crew changes a tire . I learned my lesson the first time I busted my chain and didn't know how to use the tool, so I had to walk home 5 mi in my cycling shoes even though I had the stupid tool with me!
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Old 05-14-08, 09:56 AM   #3
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multi tool, tire levers, spare tube, taillight, some spare change, and a reflective strap that keeps my pants out of the chain.
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Old 05-14-08, 09:56 AM   #4
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multitool & tire levers that's it.
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Old 05-14-08, 10:24 AM   #5
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I have the tiny Topeak tool box. I can't remember what it's called, but has all the tools of your standard multi-tool, allen wrenches, screwdrivers, tire levers, chain tool, etc. but as separate pieces in a little box. It also has some patches, and I put a few extra chain links in, too. I've never had to fix a chain on the road, but I think I've got what I need to get it done. I also have a spare tube, a pump, an adjustable wrench, and my Robo Grip pliers.
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Old 05-14-08, 10:37 AM   #6
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I live pretty close (and will be even closer next week) to pretty much everywhere I need to go (work, school, grocery store, friends' houses, etc) so if something out of the ordinary happens (pretty much anything but a flat) I can just walk with no issues. I'm lucky enough to have a really cool and laid back boss. I can literally work any time of the day I want, for any amount of time.

I almost always have:
Tire levers
Patch kit
hex wrenches
lights
light jacket

edit: I also have a road morph and lock attaches to my frame, so those go everywhere too.

Last edited by toThinkistoBe; 05-14-08 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 05-14-08, 10:56 AM   #7
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Spare tube, tire levers, CO2 cartridges and inflator, patch kit, multitool. Taillight in case I have to work late. That's it. If anything that can't be fixed with those tools comes up, I'll abandon the commute, lock up the bike, and return later with tools to fix it.
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Old 05-14-08, 11:04 AM   #8
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Commuting bike (In backpack/messenger bag/rear rack trunk): New tube, patch kit (only for emergencies - second flat), presta-to-schrader valve adapter, pump (Topeak Road Morph, baby!), Specialized prybabies (The best!), park mini chain tool, folding set of allen wrenches, two small adjustable wrenches and a roll of electrical tape (Duct tape is too heavy/bulky). I too carry a headlight and clear UV lenses just in case it gets dark, and a cargo net to bungee down unexpected swag. I always keep a folded windbreaker back there and some painkillers....ya never know.

I used to also carry a set of folding screwdrivers and a small Swiss army knife, but someone gave me a knock-off leatherman (I call it the "Pleatherman") which does all that plus gives me pliers and a nail file.

After specific commutes, I've wanted to add a .357 magnum or a baseball bat at times (wait - are those 'tools'?)

Road bike (under saddle bag): two spare tubes, abbreviated patch kit, tiny bike multi-tool, mini swiss army knife. Same pump, strapped to frame or shoved in rear jersey pocket.
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Old 05-14-08, 11:36 AM   #9
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topeak multi tool, two tire levers, a patch kit, two tubes, and 12 inches of 2inch wide duct tape wrapped around my seatpost.
I'm only interested in making a bike rideable. I'll fix it at home.
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Old 05-14-08, 11:47 AM   #10
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In my work bag:
-Pedro's Multitool
-2 spare tubes
- Pliars (small cheapies from my wifes house tool kit - She steals my Mechanics tools, fair is fair )
- Stubby screwdriver (tried to use screwdriver in the multitool?????)
- U-lock
- Cable lock
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Old 05-14-08, 11:58 AM   #11
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I've got a Cranl Brothers multitool-17 that I keep in my pannier, along with tire levers, spare tube, patch kit, pump, lock, spare batteries and bungee cords. The CB multitool has spoke wrenches and a chain tool, but I've never used them on the road.

Recently I got a trunk bag so I can go light on the days when I don't need to lug my boat anchor of a laptop around, and I bought a second set of the above tools except that I went with the Topeak Mini-9 instead of the CB multi-17 (because I'm cheap, not because I'm a weight weenie), thinking I didn't really need the chain tools. Now you're story has me thinking maybe I should have forked out the extra $20.
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Old 05-14-08, 12:09 PM   #12
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I have the usual: tools, tube, tire levers, CO2/pump, lights.... I leave the lock at work though. It is totally worth it to not have to lug it back & forth.
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Old 05-14-08, 12:20 PM   #13
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my cellphone

(and two tubes and an airpump. anything more difficult and i'll be walking home.)
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Old 05-14-08, 12:20 PM   #14
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In my work bag.. excluding my work clothes and supplies.

700c tube
three tire levers
5 chain link and chain breaker
15mm wrench
presta adapter
phil wood grease
U Look and a small cable to lock up the front wheel.
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Old 05-14-08, 12:31 PM   #15
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Old 05-14-08, 12:41 PM   #16
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Spare tube, patch kit, allen wrench, needle nose pliers, pump. Swiss army knife (goes w/me everywhere because you never know when you might need to scale a fish or open some wine!)
Also small first aid kit (bandaids, neosporin, gauze, anti-bac wipes)
And a couple of bus tokens
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Old 05-14-08, 12:50 PM   #17
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Wrapped in a bandana at the bottom of my bag - 15mm wrench from Autozone, lockring wrench, tube, Park tools patch kit, tire levers.

In various pockets - An old Schwinn frame pump (circa 1998) and a typical bike mulitool.
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Old 05-14-08, 01:10 PM   #18
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I've had chains break mid-ride and as long as I have a chain tool I can fix it and get home. With Shimano it doesn't work as well, because their pins are crap. With SRAM if you can balance it then you can get it back in and it works just as well as new.

For the longest time I carried a big, shop chain tool. It was my birthday last week, though, and I got a multi-tool with a chain tool on it....nice.

WAS carrying:
Tire levers, patch kit, two allen sets (metric and English), pump, chain tool

Now I carry:
Tire levers, patch kit, multitool, tube, pump, rain cover for seat.

I consider extra clothing as part of the day, not a took kit.

I like to have a phillipshead and a flathead available, but until I got my multi-tool I didn't typically have either. Having a tube, I found out, is a big priority because valves can pull out.

Good tire levers are key, because bad ones snap (heck, even good ones snap).

Spare quicklinks are handy, and I was carrying one and some extra linkage for a while, but I feel like chain emergencies are so few and far between, and I can fix them with just a chain tool as long as I have a pin that I'm not worried about it. Plus, I already used my emergency quicklink. I'll put another one in the kit next time I run by the LBS.
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Old 05-14-08, 01:16 PM   #19
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I like to pop off 2+ hour rides 2-3 times per week either before or after work, and carry the following tool items in my trunk bag with my work-clothes and lock:
  1. 2 spare road tubes.
  2. 1 spare mtb tube (in case I pass someone in need).
  3. Patch kit with at least 5 patches.
  4. Multi-tool with chain-breaker and built-in tire levers (topeak)
  5. Spare batteries for my headlight (never know when rechargables are going to die).
  6. 3 meters of duct tape, wrapped to lay in a flat rectangle (about 2" x 3").
  7. Extra 5-led, red flashing light to attach to my jersey in case I get stuck at work after 10 PM.
  8. Topeak roadmorph pump (highly reccomended).
  9. 3 six-inch long zip ties (weigh nothing, and have come in handy plenty of times too).
  10. Basic first aid kit with gause, bandages, a few sizes of bandaids, and some antiseptic wipes. Been thinking about adding some "quick clot" gause that a lot of field biologists have started carrying at work over the last couple of years.
  11. Two sets of reflective ankle/wrist bracelets.

I used to carry less, but I tend to head up into the foothills or out onto the prairie for my training rides, where it is pretty isolated and there is no cell phone coverage. I had a couple of LONG walks in my bike shoes, before I expanded my list of stuff to carry.
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Old 05-14-08, 01:30 PM   #20
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cell phone. But my ride is only 2 miles.
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Old 05-14-08, 03:52 PM   #21
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During my commute I carry no tools.
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Old 05-14-08, 04:39 PM   #22
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No tools. I have a policy of living within an hour walk of work, so after a flat I walk it.
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Old 05-14-08, 05:01 PM   #23
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Patch Kit, CO2 inflater or Turbo Morph, levers, multitool w/ chain tool and a single pack of Wet-Ones for cleaning my hands. I have Marathon Plus tires though, so I haven't yet needed to use the inflater or patches.
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Old 05-14-08, 05:29 PM   #24
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Spare tube, patch kit, multitool with tire levers, schrader-to-presta converter, several zip ties, moist towelette, rubber gloves, ID, $10 of just-in-case cash, um, I think that's it.
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Old 05-14-08, 06:47 PM   #25
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2x spare tubes, duct tape (Nothing repairs a shredded tire better), 2x co2 + inflator, tire levers, multi-tool, wallet (id, cc, medical info), cell phone, spare batteries. After reading this, a chain tool & first aid. My commute is 20mi each way, and there is plenty of room in the saddle bags for this stuff.
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