What do pros carry on training rides? While we are lucky enough to have team cars with wheels and mechanics at the races, out on the open road we have to fend for ourselves. Here are the essentials I always have with me in my saddlebag when I’m out putting in the hours.
Tubes: 2 of ‘em, to cover the inevitable double flat in the middle of nowhere. I wrap them tightly in electrical tape to make them smaller.
Patch Kit: For after you double flat, or if you find yourself on a ride with Cory Rimmer. Make sure your glue doesn’t get dried out.
Tire boot: I cut this one out of a European race number, it’s flexible and strong so it makes the perfect fix to get you home from a cut tire. Make this part of your patch kit. In a pinch, however, a folded dollar bill or Clif bar wrapper will do the trick.
Tire levers: Usually I can manhandle the tire on and off the rim, but sometimes it’s a tight fit. Or it’s 30 degrees and my hands have the dexterity of a mashed potato… These can be a lifesaver changing a flat.
BIG multitool (with chain tool): Cover all your bases with a full range of hex wrenches and a torx T25 (torx are becoming increasingly popular for stem bolts, etc.). I like this Crank Brothers version because it has everything you need, including spoke wrenches. Also I dropped one of these on Parson’s Branch road 2 years ago, let me know if you find it.
Chain link: Chains break, more frequently than you might think. A quicklink lets you fix up your busted drivetrain so you don’t have to call your mom in for a rescue. Toss this in your patch kit box so it doesn’t rattle around and get lost.
Spare derailleur hanger: In case you run into a stick or crash. Almost all of the time the hanger will protect your derailleur itself from damage, but without a spare you’ll still be up a creek.
Couple of $$$: So you don’t feel like a goober paying for your 99 cent Coke with a credit card.
This may seem like a lot to carry, but I promise that you can fit it all into a standard saddlebag with a little creativity. The trick is to start with the tubes.
Outside of the saddlebag, some kind of pump is critical. Go for either frame pump or the half size kind that mounts to the bottle cage. These never run out of air and will help change your skinny cyclist arms from carrots to cannons!
Hopefully these items can help you out of a jam!