If your tyre goes flat the first step in fixing it is to get the tyre off and pull out the punctured inner tube inside it. If the tyre is tight or your hands are wet or cold it can be difficult. Tyre levers hook under the tyre bead and help to lift it off the rim of the wheel.
Spare tube and Patch kit
If you are in a rush to get to work the quickest way to fix a puncture is to put in a new tube. Patch kits are a bit fiddlier, as you need to find the hole and use glue and a patch to fix it but they can save the day if you get a second puncture.
You’ve put a new tube in but now it needs inflating! A lightweight mini pump can be chucked in your bag or fixed to your bike frame so it is always there if you need it. Give it a go at home when you don’t have a puncture so you know how it works and if you need an adapter for your type of tyre valve. Better to find this out when warm and dry!
Lightweight and compact, a multi-tool takes up barely any space at all but can solve pretty much any mechanical problem you might have, plus open a beer at the end of the day. A good multi-tool will include a chain tool, a device for splitting and repairing a bike chain. It looks complicated but basically works to force out the pin that holds a link together so you can break it and rejoin it. You can also carry ‘quick links’ – these are replacement links that make it even easier to repair a chain. Ask your bike shop what type you need for your chain and they may even give you a quick demonstration!
Keeping a jacket in your bag is a winning move for those unexpected showers or cold, windy rides. Get one that is bright and reflective for added visibility in bad weather or at night. Some colours, such as yellow or high-vis clothing, significantly increase the distance that you can be seen from – a very important consideration in a driver’s stopping distance. The sooner they see you the more time they have to react.
Maintain your professional image with a quick clean up before you walk in the door. They’re good for sweat, road grime and grease and especially useful if you have had to fix a chain or puncture.
If you’ve stayed late at work to meet a deadline, never risk riding without lights, it is both unsafe and illegal. A lightweight set of LED lights can be put anywhere on your bike or kit to make sure you are visible. Spread your lights around so that you are visible from the side as well as directly from in front and behind.
What have we forgotten?
This coffee brake was provided by Cycle-SOS, The Cyclists' National Helpline.