Author Topic: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride  (Read 6474 times)

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Offline jwrushman

Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« on: June 25, 2015, 12:15:35 am »
A buddy of mine is interested in doing a cross country ride next year.  I'm trying to get my legs (and butt) in shape this year.  I've been using this website to learn about what to expect and how to prepare.

I've collected "what to pack" lists from various sites on the Internet.  Some people have extensive repair kits and back-up supplies.  My question is "What are the essential repairs I should need to know how to do and have appropriate tools to perform?".    I don't have a "cassette/freewheel removal tool".   In forty years of "riding for fun" I've never needed a cassette removal tool.  Should I buy one?  If so, I should probably take a class to learn how to use one.  How about a "chain tool" and spare links?   I know how to repair and replace inner tubes and I can adjust brakes and derailleur cables, but what else should I know how to fix?  Once when I was young, I was given a spoke wrench and totally messed up a wheel because I didn't know what I was doing.  I should have just left the wheel alone.  I'm planning on staying on popular ACA routes and not doing any off-road excursions.

Thanks in advance
John R

Online John Nelson

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2015, 08:54:19 am »
There is no clear answer. Being able to fix a flat is essential, but everything else is optional. How do you feel about hitching a ride? How much extra time do you have to deal with problems?

If the tour is long enough, you will probably need to adjust and replace brakes. You may need a new chain along the way, but you can probably acquire it en route. You may need new tires, and good ones are harder to find en route. You may need new cables. Carry an extra tube or two as not all flats are patchable. A FiberFix can fix a broken spoke until you get to the next bike shop.

I carry a cassette removal tool, but have never used it on tour. I carry chain repair tools and parts, but have never used them on tour. I'm sure many others have needed them. It's just a probability game. Everyone gets to make their own trade offs of weight and risk. And there is always anxiety involved in making the choices. When touring with others you can share the load, so you can take more.

Offline Patco

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2015, 07:35:07 pm »
As John stated, there is no clear answer. For me, it is what will make me comfortable while minimizing weight. My packing is usually a result of what happened on a previous trip. For that reason I generally take too may tubes (five) because on one trip I ran out of tubes (I had two) and found myself in a land of mountain bike tubes, but no road bike tubes (I ride 28's on tour). Like John, I will take a fiberfix, and I will also have two extra spokes. I have the necessary tools to tighten nuts and adjust cables and brakes. I have a spoke tightening tool. I do not take a cassette removal tool. I have a small container of extra nuts and bolts. I take a small amount of duct tape. I have two zip ties. I have two flat repair kits (again, overkill, but there is always a story). I do not take new cables, but I do ensure that all cables are in great shape before I begin a tour. I take extra brake pads (four). I replace my tires with new tires before the start of any lengthy tour so I do not carry a foldable spare. I have an emergency Park Tool tire boot. I take an extra battery for my cycle computer. I have a small bottle of Dumonde Tech (lite) lube. I have a chain removal tool and extra links. I am sure there may be one or two items that I carry that I am unable to recall, but as I stated earlier, some of what I carry is based on something that happened on a tour and I vowed, not again. Different strokes.

Offline mbattisti

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2015, 11:00:51 pm »
Go over your bike sometime and check every nut, bolt and screw for tightness.  The tools you needed would be prime candidates to carry.  If your touring bike has any unique parts (our tandem has several) that are hard to find at most LBS's, it might be a good idea to locate a source (or acquire some spares and leave with a friend) who could ship you a part in a pinch.

Offline bobbys beard

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2015, 05:46:39 pm »
I always carry

Allen Keys,
spare tubes,
puncture repair kit,
bike pump,
spare cables (1 brake, 1 gear),
spare clip on chain link,
Swiss army knife,
spare screws for your pannier attachments etc  (they easily work loose and riding with one pannier banging into your wheel at every corner is no fun at all) 
Chain lube.
Bit of old rag......

and one item that no one ever mentions, but I really do recommend..... a tyre boot. when my tyre got ripped on tour, the tyre boot lasted the rest of the life of the tyre, not to mention enabled me to repair a blow out and be back on the road in 15 minutes. If it ever happens, you can bet it will be in the worst possible location and  you'll be very glad you took this advice! :)

Offline jwrushman

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2015, 08:30:20 pm »
Thanks all for you input.  Since my ride is not until next year, I have time to collect input and learn something about bike repairs.

Bobbys Beard,  What is a "spare clip on chain link".  I can guess what it is.  It sounds like something that may by helpful.

JR

Online John Nelson

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2015, 12:29:26 am »
My guess is that he's talking about a master link. Many chains these days come with them for joining the two ends of the chain together. They are generally specific to the brand of chain. I carry two master links along with a short segment of maybe three or four links. Together with a chain tool, I can repair most chain failures (although I've never had one).

Offline bobbys beard

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2015, 05:16:36 am »
Yes, a master link :)  I had no idea what they were called!  I never had a broken chain on tour, but did once when I borrowed a rusty old bike for a day. Resulted in a 9 mile walk back.  Master links are very cheap and take no space at all. Well worth having just in case!

Offline Tim Cullip

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2015, 07:31:49 pm »
I've broken a chain once on a day ride (not a tour) and wished I had my chain tool with me. I also once helped a stranger fix a broken chain on a week long ride (glad I had my chain tool with me). I will always take a chain tool on a tour just for the peace of mind.


"It's all a part of the adventure",
Tim Cullip

Offline andydaoust

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2015, 10:18:54 pm »
The tools and spare parts you carry will depend on the remoteness and length of the journey. I carry two spare tires, 5 inner tubes,  and Park tire boots. I got about sixty miles on a new tire and ran over A glass bottle bottom at the bottom of a puddle and cut the tire rim to rim. Also after 3000 miles you'll need new tires. I'm using the continental Cyclocross Speed Cross 700C x 35. They are really light but not as bullet proof as some tires. I prefer to carry a little extra weight on the bike and save rotational weight.

Spare Spokes. I've had to repair and true other people's wheels not mine but I've learned from those experiences that having the ability can save your tour. In order to replace the spokes on the cassette side you need to remove the cassette. The best way is with a J.A. Stein tool. It weighs an ounce and makes removing the cassette freakishly easy.

I learned how to true wheels by trying it and it was in the days without YouTube. It easy once you do it and gives you confidence on the road.

I also suggest replacing your cables before you go, and do it yourself so you can feel confident that you can do it on the road. Carry one each spare.

I also carry a couple of spare cleat screws as I learned that one the hard way.

Go over every screw on your bike and be prepared to tighten them. If you plan on using a multi tool try it on every screw. There's nothing more frustrating than having the right size Allen that can't fit into the area to tighten the screw. I carry a multi tool for the spooke wrench and chain break tools. Then I carry which ever Allen key is needed that I can't fit the multi tool into. An example of something that could rattle loose that wouldn't normally cross your mind, pannier screws. I have Ortlieb panniers that have Torx T-15 screws that loosen up so I carry a separate T-15 key and check the screws every few days.

I might go over board but I like to be independent and some of the places I go don't have a LBS readily available.

Offline DaveB

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2015, 08:05:41 am »
Yes, a master link :)  I had no idea what they were called!  I never had a broken chain on tour, but did once when I borrowed a rusty old bike for a day. Resulted in a 9 mile walk back.  Master links are very cheap and take no space at all. Well worth having just in case!
Remember, master links aren't universal.  They come in a variety of widths to match 7/8, 9, 10 and 11-speed chains and you need to have the one that matches your chain.   

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2015, 10:18:12 am »
The tools and spare parts you carry will depend on the remoteness and length of the journey. I carry two spare tires, 5 inner tubes,  and Park tire boots. I got about sixty miles on a new tire and ran over A glass bottle bottom at the bottom of a puddle and cut the tire rim to rim. Also after 3000 miles you'll need new tires.
I am curious where you tour that you feel the need to carry all of that.  Do you tour in some really remote places?

I have only toured on road in the lower 48, but have been in some fairly remote places.  How remote the trip is might make a difference how many spare parts you carry, but I figure that anywhere I have been on tour I wouldn't carry a spare tire let alone two.  I have found that a tire that is so bad that I can't boot it somehow and limp along is exceedingly rare (as in never in my something approaching 60 years of cycling).  In that exceedingly rare case, hitching a ride wouldn't be the end of the world, even on low traffic roads.  I have had to hitch now and then for other reasons as have some of my friends and a wait of less than 20 minutes is typical unless you are on roads where there is only a car every hour or two.  The good news on those is that almost every vehicle will stop for you.

As far as carrying tires because I might need them in 3000 miles I'll pass on that too.  I have had to settle for a different tire than I wanted sometimes, but when replacing tires mid tour I and always been able to find something available.  If not I'd order some to be next day shipped or have some one at home send me some.  It has never come to that though.

As far as tools go my suggestion is to take the tools that fit the stuff on your specific bike.  The list will vary with the bike.  I typically make it a point to do most of the set up and maintenance on my bikes at home with my touring tool set for that bike, that way I know that it works OK before I need to rely on it on a tour.

Offline andydaoust

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2015, 03:34:00 pm »
Yes, I feel like the places I go are remote enough, Alaska and Canada, as in no bike shop within hundreds of miles, that I carry enough stuff to be self reliant and to self rescue. I guess I could get anything I needed overnighted. For me though, I don't mind the extra weight so much in exchange for peace of mind. Normally I always carry one spare tire, even in the days before folding tires. Of course in those days the tires didn't last like they do now. On this trip I'm taking two spares as I really like the Speed Cross and they aren't readliy available and I know I'll be wearing them out before my trip is done so it'll be convienient that I have the spares with me.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2015, 02:21:50 am »
This thread really inspires me!

On my first trip in 2000 I also carried waaay to many tools. I have reduced it down a bit now. Still, on my last trip I carried a chain tool, some chain links, a cassette removal tool etc. But in the future I will probably not anymore, because: I have now pedaled 1000s of miles and never ever used these tools. I have never broken a cable nor a chain or a spoke. Doing a cross country trip you will not need to adjust your brakes - if you ride during the summer. I believe if you use some Loctite 243 thread locker your screws and bolts will never unwind unless you did not clean the threads before application.

At one point you might want a new chain and maybe a new cassette, but you can just go to a bikeshop, buy the items and pay them 10-20 dollars for putting it on. of course you can be 100% self sufficient and carry a new cassette a new chain a new tire etc yourself ...

So basically it boils down to having a puncture repair kit :-)

One should also consider that you can walk up to a farm and ask if you can use their wrenches etc for a few minutes.

Lucas

Offline DaveB

Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2015, 09:15:19 am »
One should also consider that you can walk up to a farm and ask if you can use their wrenches etc for a few minutes.
I wonder how many farm have a set of metric Allen wrenches.  Some tools you should carry with you.