Friday, June 29, 2012

Often I carry these

Handy multi-tools with many bicycle applications

Often I carry one or both of these while riding. That's in addition to a bicycle-specific multi-tool with a chain breaker, a 15mm wrench for axle nuts, along with a mult-torx folding tool just in case.

From fixing eyeglasses to opening cans to getting hold of something that needs a little extra torque, to cutting things, these have both performed essential and helpful jobs on many rides. On more than one occasion, I've used the pliers to extract cactus spines from a human, and also a dog.

Too much? Unnecessary weight? Be prepared, I say. Ready for whatever comes. But as I look at the minimalist loads carried by other cyclists, I start to wonder if I am all alone out there, in terms of carrying stuff like this. Anyone else carry something along like this, just in case? Or should I start counting grams, perhaps cut down to a minimal bike tool and titanium axle wrench? 


  1. I carry real tools on my bike but one of these is on my belt and a folding knife in my pocket. They go with me everywhere. I have never been sorry I had them even though I didn't need them but on the occasions I forgot them, then need them, I was.

    1. Oldfool, I've been in enough situations both bike-related and not where a decent tool would save the day that I also never leave home without tools, typically a small multi-tool, and a small flashlight. The flashlight is a whole other story.

  2. I always carry a pump and a fairly comprehensive set of tools, as well as wet weather gear and lights. It definitely adds weight - but I share your wonder at other cyclists' failure to carry such essentials.

    I learnt the hard way about these things at the age of 20 when I got marooned with a flat tyre 45 miles into an 80-mile ride from home back to university.

    As of this week, I'm carting the tools (and a pannier bag that carries what others would in a briefcase) around New York, where I'm in the process of moving (as explained here:

    All the best,


    1. Invisible, taking a long walk while rolling a disabled bicycle alongside just because I failed to bring the right tool along feels like failure to me, particularly when I actually have the tool at home, and carrying it would have presented no undue difficulties. So, yes, I also carry a few zipties, some duct tape, and a few extra links of chain.

  3. Too many tools are barely enough,in my book.Can't leave home without a full size floor pump!



    1. ian a full size floor pump is indeed miles ahead of most portable pumps and CO2 inflators in terms of usability, reliability, and power. They are a bit unwieldy, though, to carry all the time. However, after much trial and error, I've attached myself to the Road morp and Mountain morph pumps, because they are the closest thing I've found.

  4. Bulk is more important than the weight.

    1. Also reliability is more important than the weight.

  5. I'm probably guilty of being OCD, but I've also virtually never been stranded on any ride because of a bike repair problem. These are the tools that I normally carry:
    1. Frame pump
    2. Spare tube
    3. Tire "irons"
    4. Patch kit
    5. Park Multi-Tool ((AWS-9)
    6. Spoke Wrench (Park)
    7. Chain Breaker Tool (Park CT-5 Mini)
    8. Spare links
    9. FiberFix Spoke emergency repair

    All this is carried in a small zippered bag. The tool I'd probably least expect to use is the chain breaker. I did have one on my bike, years ago, and it certainly saved me a long walk back to my car (riding from Amado to Arivaca in Southern Arizona).

    1. Pimadude, I carry those items, plus a tire boot, which has saved me and others more than once. Except for the FiberFix Spoke repair, I have to look that one up, thanks!

    2. John, I haven't actually used the FiberFix spoke repair kit to date (thankfully, no broken spoke!). Based on the reviews I've read, it seems to be easy to use and it works.

      I do have one local acquaintance, an experienced bike adventurer, who has used the FiberFix emergency spoke. He indicated that it worked well.

      As you do, I also carry a tire boot in my tire patch kit. Again, lucky me, I've never had an occasion to use it!


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