A saddle bag that’s correctly kitted out with the correct tools and parts will get you out of all sorts of trouble. Picture yourself 3 hours away from home or maybe even 80 km away and it’s worse case scenario, your chain has snapped & your rear mech is ripped off. Now, what would you do in this situation if you didn't have the correct tools? Yeah, maybe you could call family or a friend, maybe even a taxi… But what if your mobile phone is out of power and no one is around to help you out. This is why it’s extremely important to have the correct tools with you and know how to use them.
Now the beauty of this blog is to help you pack all the essentials that will get you out of almost any situation; unless the bike has snapped in half, of course, that may require something more advanced.
First things first what should I pack my stuff into? An old bottle is a good option, but then this limits how much water you can take on a ride. So a decent saddle bag is by far the best option.
#1 Saddle bag
Having the correct saddle bag is at the top of the list. If you got for one to small, then you might not be able to fit the essential items in; but too big and you’ll have a forever constant rattling noise under your saddle unless you pack more stuff inside. A great thing to look out for is firstly the ruggedness, after all, it will be with you in wet, wind and the summer sunshine. The next thing to look out for is the accessibility of the bag, how many pockets does it have inside to separate items?
We found the Topeak Aero wedge medium to be a great all round performer. It’s large enough for everything but not too big. It offers a reflective strip along with an attachment for a light.
#2 Inner Tubes
Packing spare inner tubes is by far the best way of sorting a puncture out. It’s quicker, more reliable and generally less hassle than using a patch kit. Having two spare inner tubes Is the best option, you’ll have more flexibility if two punctures occur within the same ride.
#3 Patch kit
This is the last resort if you have used all inner tubes. They are great to take for an emergency but we would recommend replacing the inner tubes as soon as possible afterwards for reliability.
The most compact pump available is probably not going to get your tyres pumped up very hard, meaning you could, potentially get another puncture. Co2 canisters are cheap and fast, they are compact and easy to use, Unfortunately, they are one-time use only, so taking 2 on a ride is probably the best option!
Bianchi Offer a Pump/Co2 combo so you are never out of the air, but this would have to be fitted onto the bottle cage mount.
#5 Tyre Levers
Really, don’t go for something cheap and nasty here! Often the cheap tyre lever flex and can often snap. Having a set that are rugged means they will often last for years without a problem. They will get the tyre off of the rim, no hassle involved.
#6 Quick link
This is often one that is missed out of the saddle bag but is crucial if you want to fix a chain quickly and reliably. Think about it this way, what happens if your chain is to snap; how would you reconnect the links to get you home?
Allen keys, chain tool & other tools are perfect to have on an all in one multi tool. They can get you out of a lot of situations. Allen keys are used on nearly all areas of the bike, A chain tool can be used to get rid of any naff links to attack a quick link or pin & screwdrivers can be used to adjust the gears on the go. Although pictured is a Blackburn multi-tool, we found that the X-tools multi-tool offered the most features and value for money, with 19 functions in total.