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  1. #1
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    What to carry with me & basic maintenance

    Hope I posted this in the right place.
    OK, so I'm still kinda new to biking. I'm going to buy a hybrid soon, and during the process of visiting LBSs, I've seen in addition to bikes a number of accessories (mini pumps, seat bags, lights, etc). If planning on riding 5 - 7 miles maximum, average being more like a mile, what sorts of things do I need to carry with me?
    And whats the best way to carry them? Any optional accessories you would suggest?

    OK, question 2. Can anyone refer me to a good site with bike maintenance instructions for newbies like me? I feel the need to educate myself on maintaining and fixing a bike before plopping down 400+ dollars on one.

  2. #2
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    For any 2 mile or shorter rides I wouldn't carry anything. You can push back home easier than fixing on the road.

    For your other rides, patches, spare tube, tire levers, and a pump.

    If further than 5 or 6 miles, I would add water bottles and either a multi-tool or a couple of allen wrenches (2 or 3 might cover the sizes your bike uses and be cheaper and lighter than a multi-tool).

    The advantage of a multi-tool comes if you get one with a chain tool and spoke wrenches... But these may be repairs that you would want to wait for. For a chain issue, you could probably use your bike as a scooter to get home.

    For the things you need, probably a wedge bag for under the seat would be a nice way to carry it.

    Good sites for repair information are the Park Tool site, and also Sheldon Brown's site.

    Welcome to the fold!!!
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  3. #3
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Hi b-dizzle!

    Welcome, and yes - you're in the right place. Things you may want to add or take with you include:

    1. A card or tag with your name, your phone #, your medical insurance company name and number, your blood type, and any allergies.

    2. A home tire pump with a pressure ga. (buy a good one).

    3. A water bottle or two and a holder that bolts onto the bike

    4. A "multitool" from the bike shop that lets you tighten & adjust the bike's parts

    5. A cell phone

    6. A bicycle helmet

    You'll also find that you want to ride much longer distances (it happens to all of us...). You may want other things then like a bike bag that fits under the seat, a spare tube, tire irons, a mini-pump and/or CO2 inflator, lights if you cycle after dark, bicycle shorts, gloves, etc. Don't worry about these now - you'll know when you need them.

    The best place for good bike maint. instructions is online at the Park Tool Co. website. If you want a book, Leonard Zinn writes a good one on road bike or mountain bike maintenance. For your hybrid, either one will do.

    Happy riding and don't be a stranger!

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    Would the bag at the top of this page be a good idea? In person, the bag seemed kind of small. For people who use wedge bags, what size are yours (cubic inches)?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-dizzle
    Would the bag at the top of this page be a good idea? In person, the bag seemed kind of small. For people who use wedge bags, what size are yours (cubic inches)?
    Threads of this type are fairly common. I am truly amased at the amount of stuff that some folks say they carry on each ride. I kind of think that once you start focusing about all of the things that could happen, your burden of worry and necessary tools and spares just keeps getting heavier.

    For road bike rides I use the smallest under seat bag that I can find and carry just enough stuff in it to fix one flat tire. I generally carry my wallet in a jersey pocket. I'm writing this from home so I've obviously always found a way to make it back.

  6. #6
    Senior Member here and there's Avatar
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    Seems like a pretty good deal as you have all the things you would need to repair a flat (which are the basic materials you should carry with you). Though I would suggest getting a mini-pump in addition to the co2 cartridges.

    I use a large Cannondale seat bag. It is 140 cu and expands to 240 cu. In it I have a mini-first aid kit, 3 tire levers, a multi-tool, a mini leatherman multi-tool, a spoke wrench, chain tool, a spare tube, patch kit, and zip-ties. Those items stay in there all the time and I still have room for snacks/mini-bottle of sunscreen, etc. Expanded I can stuff a wind vest or knee warmers in there.

  7. #7
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Looks like a reasonable bag and kit... I was going to say that anything that would fit two tubes would be able to hold one tube, plus all the other small things you would need. That bag mentions the kit, plus spare tube,. wallet cell phone etc... It should be large enough for anything you need to carry.

    I have never used the CO2 cartridges, but depending on the tire size of the bike you get, filling the tire could take more than one cartridge. I have read of some people that carry CO2 and a pump... the pump to get the tire near full, and the CO2 to top it off... and others using multiple carttridges to fill some tires.

    If the hybrid you gets has tires larger than the usual 20-25 mm road tires, then check to see whether one cartridge will do the job. Nothing against CO2, just be sure you carry enough for filling the tire.

    The advantage of a pump, is it will provide relatively unlimited pressure when needed... each artridge only lasts one use.

    Also, many people (including myself) tend to carry a spare tube and a patch kit. For the first flat of a trip, replace the tube and patch the leak at home. However for any other flats on the same ride a patch kit doesn't take much room. This also ensues that a stem probloem (even though rare) strands you without a repair option.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

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  8. #8
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    Threads of this type are fairly common. I am truly amased at the amount of stuff that some folks say they carry on each ride. I kind of think that once you start focusing about all of the things that could happen, your burden of worry and necessary tools and spares just keeps getting heavier.

    For road bike rides I use the smallest under seat bag that I can find and carry just enough stuff in it to fix one flat tire. I generally carry my wallet in a jersey pocket. I'm writing this from home so I've obviously always found a way to make it back.
    Yes, but some of us prefer to get home under our own power.

    I carry a pump, patches, and basic tools (Tire levers, multitool, zip ties)

    Sometimes I throw my chain tool into the bag, just in case (I've only had chain problems a couple times... last time I beat the chain back together with a rock and the edge of my multi-tool)

    I did have to remove my front derailleur last week to make it home... 98 degrees and 90% humidity... I got tired of trying to adjust it properly on the road and just took it off so I could ride home.

    I've used the zip ties on two occassions to hold parts of my bike together till I could get it fixed... they weigh next to nothing, well worth it for me to carry.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    On the bag, if you're going to use it to carry a minipump, the greatest length is the standard you need to apply. If it will hold the minipump, it will surely hold a tube, though maybe not one of the thorn resistant tubes. I ride on thorn resistant tubes, but carry the standard thickness for a spare.

    If you stick with your original plan, with a maximum ride of 7 miles, you may get away with carrying nothing, if that 7 miles is a round trip. 3 1/2 miles is a long ways to push a bike, but it's doable. If it's 7 miles one way, carry everything you need to fix a flat.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  10. #10
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    My limit for tool-free riding is about 2 miles. Beyond that I want at least a basic puncture kit. For longer than 5 miles I would take a multi tool as well.
    Its best to practice repairs at home, esp punture repairs.
    parktools website is good for repair and maintenance.
    I prefer to use larger bags that can carry some food and spare clothing and a lock.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    With no arguments to what has already been said, I would personaly suggest getting an Alien multi tool. Mine has served me very well for the past 7 years. Also, I can understand that you're a novice and that long rides are intimidating, but I encourage you to try to build your way up to longer distances slowly and in cofortable increments. I used to think 12 miles was an epic journey, and now 75 miles in a day is no biggie.

    Congrats on getting into bikes, and above all else stay safe and have fun.
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  12. #12
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    I carry what I need, based on experience. Right now that includes:
    1 bicycle repair book
    1 wrench
    1 spoke wrench
    1 extra tube
    1 tube repair kit
    3 large paper clasps, which work very well as cheap tire irons
    1 set spair screws
    1 multi allen wrench tool
    1 pipe
    1 spare magazine
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

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  13. #13
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    I never hop on my bike withoout a patch kit, mini tool, and frame mounted pump, and a little money.
    I commute with much much more, but the afore mentioned is my bare minimum. Spare tubes are great to have, but I have yet had the need to replace the entire tube on my bike yet.

  14. #14
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    Not sure what kind of riding you plan.

    sheldonbrown.com, parktools.com

    Flats are your #1 problem. Products like Mr TUffy and slime tubes, not to mention a good tire might be worth the $. Get the best tire lifters you can, sucks when they brake.

    I carry a multi tool for bikes.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  15. #15
    Level 60 Pickpocket 31seconds's Avatar
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    #1: It depends on your situation. I'm mostly an urban rider in a small city. So really I can get home relatively easily without taking any tools at all (some of the busses here even have bike racks). But, really if you're gonna ride, why the he|| would you wanna take the bus?

    Here are the permanent residents of my Timbuk2 bag:

    allen key set w/ screwdrivers
    chain tool
    spoke wrench
    patch kit
    tire levers
    spare tube
    small pump
    foldable spare
    blinkies
    leatherman crunch
    cigarette lighter

    I can probably do without the chain tool, spoke wrech etc., But I carry around a decent sized bag all the time (for all kinds of purposes), so one tiny spoke wrench won't matter.

    #2: Piss on that online stuff. Just plunk down some cash and get a decent book. You want something that has a quick reference _and_ has lots of detailed instructions. My copy of "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintainance" has a nice collection of oily fingerprints by now.
    SJL / CJY / C-ML

  16. #16
    your god hates me Bob Ross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    I prefer to use larger bags that can carry some food and spare clothing

    +1

    I've occasionally taken grief from some candy-assed "A" riders because my saddle bag is bigger than George Costanza's scrotum after a frolic in the cold surf. I find this "my seatpack is smaller than your seatpack" elitist philosophy perplexing: In >35 years of cycling I can count the number of flats I've gotten on one hand, I have *never* had to use a chain tool, a frame pump or mini pump has always been cheaper than CO2, & under duress I can ride without wearing a bona fide Cycling Jersey and still not miss out on whatever cargo capacity those rear pockets would otherwise be required for...

    However, I have on numerous times found myself experiencing a dramatic and unanticipated change in temperature between the start & end of a ride.

    Ergo, the absolute most important criteria for saddlebag capacity in my semi-rigorous empirical research is that it be able to carry a windbreaker or rain jacket or base layer. Your mini nutsack 25cu. Pedro's swag ain't gonna cut it, period.

    ===============

    As to the OP's question: I carry (2) tubes, a multitool, tire levers, & a minipump everywhere I go; they're on the bike at all times. If I'm going more than 5 miles (which is pretty much all the time) I throw at least 1 water bottle on the bike, 1 power bar in the saddlebag, and (ostensibly most importantly) a cellphone & a wallet w/ ID in my pocket.

    Helmet on head goes without saying.

  17. #17
    NJS my life! roughrider504's Avatar
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    Also remember a small first-aid kit. It could be just a little cut, but with the kit, you can bandage it up and keep riding!

  18. #18
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    I'll bite, 31seconds. What's the cigarette lighter for.

    For what's it worth, I also carry a few packaged alcohol swabs. Cheap, take virtually no space, and sure make it easier to patch a tube after washing of the talcum powder. Honestly, though, I would much rather use the spare tube than patch while squatting in the dirt, with wind blowing dust on my freshly laid coat of glue. Maybe that's why some people carry glueless patches. I don't.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  19. #19
    Level 60 Pickpocket 31seconds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nermal
    I'll bite, 31seconds. What's the cigarette lighter for.
    I hate to sound all Clan of the Cave Bear, but I can't leave the house without a knife and a device for making fire.

    One time my bar tape came loose and was annoying me to no end (the end cap fell out). But it just so happened that I had some heat shrink wrap with me (yeah, don't ask). Problem solved.

    Also another time my friend's backpack gave up the ghost so we had to do some quick surgery with the remainder of the the strap. Of course when you cut nylon straps you gotta melt the ends or they'll just fray and split.

    And of course there was that time at the bar when that cute dark-haired girl seemed to need a smoke real bad...
    SJL / CJY / C-ML

  20. #20
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Yeah, what they said, and a cell phone. I was bitten by a dog a while back and would have liked the cell phone to call the police/home. Instead I had to ride the 8 miles back with a bloody and painful ankle. Also, if anyone should happen to harrass you on a ride, you can always flash the phone. Cell phones make mean people nice....

    Also, on the long rides 2 hours or more, it is a good idea to bring some food like a powerbar or banana for each hour on the bike. But you probably aren't ready for that yet.

  21. #21
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    Thanks for all the help so far. I used ParkTool to adjust my old bike's front derailleur, the cable had stretched out.

    I'll probably get into longer rides, but on an every few weeks basis, and probably not for a few years (get ready for this) because I'm 15, so I can't drive to local bike paths yet, and the neighborhoods around my tiny one are pretty shady. Once I build up and can drive though, I've got this to look forward to (it's pretty far north of where I live).

    Again, thanks for the help, I already have a fair amount of the stuff you guys are suggesting, just not a bag, pump, tube, chain tool, or patch kit. here and there, an expandable bag like yours sounds good, I'll have to see what they carry wherever I get my bike, or get something off the internet.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    Thands, 31seconds. That was more interesting than I expected.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

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