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Old 07-07-08, 08:21 AM
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Cycling gear and stuff you need to carry

The more you carry the harder you'll have to work at riding, so 'keep it light' is the best principle. The following are what I'd consider the bare minimum necessities.

Tyre pump:
You'll probably have a more substantial tyre pump at home, but a lightweight, frame-mounted tyre pump is a 'must' when you're out on the road. There are many different types on offer, and having it mounted securely and out of the way is the important factor. Talk to your bike shop owner about which would suit your particular bike best.

Generally, a 'swiss army knife' type cycling multi-tool will be adequate for most minor roadside repairs you might encounter. It'll contain the spanners and allen-keys needed for tightening up nuts, bolts and fastenings which might work loose or need to be removed for repairs. Also always carry a set of tyre levers. Lightweight nylon ones are fine, but whether you choose those or more substantial metal ones, I always find that a set of three makes easier work than just a pair of them when removing a tyre.

One (or preferably two) spare inner-tubes. That's basically it! Until you maybe start venturing out on much more adventurous touring or activities, you won't need to cart spare parts. Maintaining your bike regularly and keeping everything well oiled will ensure that more substantial repairs happen at home, not out on the road.

Please, don't rely on a rear vision mirror alone to know what's behind you or overtaking, but at the same time don't go without one either. It's essential to be aware of your surrounds whilst cycling, and a nuisance to be continually turning your head, but at the same time that turn of the head is a visual signal to the motorists around you.

If your bike hasn't already got a water bottle holder fitted, be sure to add one. If you're riding any further than just down the corner store and back, it's essential to carry water with you for hydration.

Bike lock:
Whichever of the gazillion forms of bike lock you choose, remember that they are only a deterrent to casual, opportunistic theft. Walking home isn't fun, so even when locking the bike think about where you're leaving it sit. If you are choosing a chain or cable lock, be sure it's long enough for you to feed it through both wheel and frame, and around the structures you'll be attaching it to.

Some thing to carry it all in:
Bicycle pannier bags are a nuisance unless you're maybe doing the week's shopping or heading off on a long, multi-day road trip. Saddle or handlebar-mounted bags are generally roomy enough to fit the few things you are carrying with you. My personal preference is a handlebar-mounted bag with side holders for a couple of extra water bottles. It's more than roomy enough for the few tools and spares, a bike lock, my wallet, and even some snack bars for longer rides.

..And an optional extra:
It might see strange to include cycle speedometer in a list such as this, but when starting out I found it perhaps the most useful accessory I added to the bike. As you are developing your riding skills and capabilities a speedometer will give you constant feedback about how well you are doing, help ensure that you don't slip back into lazier habits, and give you positive reward for your attainments!

Last edited by Catweazle; 07-05-18 at 11:07 PM.
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