Why carry any tools?

Globalti

Legendary Member
Let me see if I can explain this: there's a thread in Cafe asking how you become a real cyclist. Some have replied that a real cyclist is anybody riding a bike, full stop. Others say that you qualify when you can maintain a bike and you understand the importance of checking it before riding.

Now I would say that a good cyclist might not be able to do repairs but should at least be competent in the basics of bike maintenance, which means ensuring the brakes and gears are adjusted, everything is in good order and the tyres at the right pressure. This is required by the Highway Code anyway. That cyclist should be able to tell you without looking about the condition of the bike and how it is set up. This means knowing how worn the transmission is and how much brake pad is left because they will have checked all that before setting off on a long ride or at least weekly when giving the bike a routine clean and check over. Not knowing the condition of your bike is a bit like driving your car with your rear window wiper going or your fog lamp illuminated - it says you don't know what's happening around you.

Now if the rider has checked the bike over they will know that it is in good enough condition to do the day's ride. Which brings me to my point: if that's the case, why bother carrying tools? For me the minimum is a spare tube, pump and two tyre levers; if anything happens beyond a puncture, it's a structural failure or an accident and so it's outside my control. If the problem can't be adjusted out or I can't borrow tools from a nearby house or farm it's probably beyond immediate repair anyway and it's time to call for rescue or stick out a thumb and hope a van or an estate car comes along.

Mountain biking has a slightly different ethos because MTBs are subject to much greater stresses and likelihood of damage and a breakdown in remote country could be positively dangerous. But on the road, with other vehicles passing and habitation nearby, I stick with the tube, pump and tyre levers and sometimes a phone. Sounds a little conceited I guess but what do others think?
 

Landslide

Rare Migrant
I figure I'd rather be prepared for things outside my control. For me, (hopefully needlessly) carrying a multi tool, spoke key and chain tool is far preferable to being stuck miles from home and dependent on others.
 

Smokin Joe

Legendary Member
How much bother is it to carry a multi tool? Bolts can loosen in use and you can hardly be expected to check every single link in the chain before every ride. I'd rather be as self sufficient as possible without having to rely on begging for help from someone in the middle of nowhere.
 

ramses

Active Member
Location
Bournemouth
Much better to be self sufficient. I wouldn't want to get stuck in the middle of the New Forest, miles from anywhere.

I always carry a multi-tool (with chain link tool), puncture kit, co2 pump, and spare inner tube, in the event that I can't repair the tube. I believe I should be able to repair pretty much most things and get home.

I also carry some electrical tape with me, just encase you need to strap anything down!
 

Davidc

Guru
Location
Somerset UK
Rough roads, potholes, general vibration, and more, can and do loosen and break things. Punctures are random. Chains are highly stressed and can fail. I can think of more.

Carrying a multi-tool, pump, spare tube and PRK, spare lamp batteries, chain link and small rivet extractor, and any other basic tools as appropriate is just sense. I put a 0.5kg limit on my tool bag though.

If I'm just going out around town, within 2.5 miles of home, I don't bother. Too much hassle to keep taking it on and off at every stop, and the most I'm in for is about 40 minutes walk.
 

Bman

Veteran
Location
Herts.
I dont carry a multitool. My tools are at work and home.

I carry just enough to be able to change a tube/fix a p*ncture. I dont need tools to do that, the wheels are quick release. Everything else is checked periodically anyway.
 

rh100

Well-Known Member
I carry a multi tool and pliers as well as a PRK, and I keep meaning to get some quick links for the chain aswell rather than carry the splitter and some pins. If I ever get to go long distance/touring I intend to carry a spoke key and one of those cassette tool jobbies for on the road.

I do believe that anyone putting themselves in the position of being a bit stranded should have the noddle to do enough to the bike to at least get them home, which is why I try to learn as much about the mechanics of it all.
 

Panter

Just call me Chris...
I probably carry too much, multi tool, pliers, chain tool, spare links, cable ties, tape, two tubes, puncture repair kit, spare batteries, spokes, spoke key... and probably other stuff I've forgotten about.

I keep my bike in the best condition I can, but as above, I want to be self sufficent and my commute is desolate and remote in places.

EDIT: Also, just to add, it would be nice to be able to try and patch something up in the event of a crash or accident.
 

Davidc

Guru
Location
Somerset UK
rh100 said:
I keep meaning to get some quick links for the chain aswell rather than carry the splitter and some pins.
I've always wondered how you get the removable link in if you can't get the rivets near the break out. That's why I carry a small extractor tool.

What would the AA say if, being a member, you called them and asked for assistance with your broken down bike? You can if you're on a motor bike after all!
 

tyred

Legendary Member
Location
Ireland
I always carry a few basic tools on my bike or in my car. I have rarely needed to use them but it's nice to know I have them if an unexpected problem crops up.

In reality, you can't prepare for everything. A few months ago, the swaged crank on one of my bikes started to slip and I was faced with a 14 mile walk home. By chance, I spotted someone welding something in his back garden so I popped in and asked him to weld my crank. Worked a treat and going. It just made a mess of the chrome.
 
Location
Midlands
Globalti - Its a matter of probabilty - if something goes wrong how far is it that I am probably going to have to walk

It depends where I am going - popping out to prague I carry most everything to cure common problems - punctures, bits falling off - down to the shops nowt
 

rh100

Well-Known Member
Davidc said:
I've always wondered how you get the removable link in if you can't get the rivets near the break out. That's why I carry a small extractor tool.

What would the AA say if, being a member, you called them and asked for assistance with your broken down bike? You can if you're on a motor bike after all!
Good point - can you tell I haven't had chain related issues at the roadside yet :rolleyes:

I wonder if anyone has ever tried calling the AA? Might be good for a lift at least? lol
 

numbnuts

Legendary Member
Location
Home
I wonder if anyone has ever tried calling the AA?
I have written to the AA and the RAC if they would do bike rescue if the owner was also a member with a car/ motor bike - answer NO, but one day we might - don't hold your breath
As for tools I take a shed load with me well you never know what can happen on a ride
 
Location
Midlands
rh100 said:
I wonder if anyone has ever tried calling the AA? Might be good for a lift at least? lol
Never heard of it but - my membership says something like in any vehicle - someone must have tried it and got laughed at
 
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