Anytime you hit the trail—boots, kayak, running shoes, or bike—there will always be a list of essential items to have with you. More often than not, this list consists of things like helmets, water, first aid kits, and a GPS unit—things designed to maintain safety and comfort should the worst happen. A little while ago, I shared with you a list of the basic items you should always have when mountain biking, which included gloves and a helmet. Today, I’ve outlined the items I believe every mountain biker should carry to make up the ideal repair kit for their bike, in case of a malfunction or unexpected problem on the trail.
A tire pump is a key item for any bike owner to have and portable pumps are a great, inexpensive product to include in your everyday bike riding, let alone an emergency repair kit. Due to their compact size, they can fit easily into a pack (I keep mine in my hydration pack when I ride) and some can even be attached directly to your bike’s frame for easy access. Keeping your tires filled with air ensures a smooth ride, solid friction on slick or unreliable surfaces, and keeps the tire frames from bending under the strain of too much weight.
Another key item(s) to have is a patch kit and/or spare tire tubes. There are times when a sharp object can penetrate through the tire tread and puncture the tube. If this happens, you’ll need to replace the tube or patch it with a kit, because refilling the tire with air isn’t going to do anything at all.
In order to replace the tube with a spare, you’ll need the use of a tire lever. These little beauties are designed to help you remove and replace tires easily, and can be a Godsend in emergency situations. Pedro’s Tire Levers are a great product and have been a consumer favorite due to their durability and larger size, which makes them easier to handle.
Lastly, I strongly support the practice of keeping an Allen wrench multi-tool on hand whenever you ride. Having a tool with a variety of Allen wrench sizes available offers peace of mind if a screw or nut loosens and impedes your ability to ride.
Having a small emergency repair kit really does go a long way towards ensuring a safe, comfortable ride and can mean the difference between carrying or walking your bike home and riding it home at the end of the day. The nice thing is most of the items are small enough to fit inside a small pouch that can be fastened to your frame or handlebars. Do yourself a favor and pick them up the next time you’re at the store. After all, no one wants to walk their bike back home through the woods.