Everyday Carry Bike Repair
The world is strange right now. For those that are riding outside being self sufficient is more important than ever. With that in mind lets run through my everyday carry bike repair toolkit and how I carry it all.
I keep all of my emergency tools and supplies in cases I can carry on my person.
First let’s talk about how I bring my everyday carry bike repair kit with me. I don’t like to have anything that’s attached to the bike. One reason for that is I never want to forget an important tool in the bag on the other bike. Being honest, the other big reason is it’s not my preferred style. The primary piece I use for holding everything is the Rapha Rainproof Essentials Case in large.
The Rapha Rainproof essentials case sports an Aquaguard zipper and a design made to keep a phone safe in the rain. This isn’t how I use it though. I don’t need it to be waterproof at all as I use it as an easy to grab toolkit. Think of it like a small saddle bag that can fit a jersey pocket. The design from Rapha is water resistant and reflective. Not big considerations for my use but nice bonus features. Inside you’ll find a large central area and two pockets. One pocket has a zipper and the other is open.
I used to carry the smaller version of the same case but with the shift to tubeless I needed more room. The large version is about the same size but wider. I turn it sideways and carry it in my center jersey pocket next to a mini-pump. Used like this the extra size doesn’t change how I carry it but adds capacity.
If I don’t have pockets I take a tip from gravel cycling and use a hip pack.
When it’s not summer there are a lot of instances where I don’t actually have jersey pockets. I like to ride with a heavy winter base layer and a jacket. In the past there were times that I would wear a summer jersey over my base layer because I needed the pockets. After hanging out with the gravel cycling crowd I picked up a new trick. Any time I need pockets I move my gear from the Rapha case to a Dakine Hot Laps Stealth Waist Bag.
The Dakine Hot laps has a similar carrying capacity to a jersey. It’s not a lot but it’s enough to carry what I need. The main storage is a zippered pocket with three areas. The inside has two fleece lined pockets that feel about the same size as a jersey pocket plus an open area. The open area has a piece of elastic for keeping things from moving around and there’s a clip for keys. Outside of the main compartment there is an external pocket without a zipper. This area features a stretchy mesh cover so nothing bounces loose. On each side of the main compartment you can find two small pockets along the belt. The Dakine Hot Laps belt has good ventilation where it lays flat against your back and it stays put.
Tools and pump go in my center pocket, phone goes on the right, and food goes on the left.
Outside of these two carrying options I carry two other pieces. Both the Rapha Rain Proof Essentials case, and the Dakine Hot Laps Waist Bag, have provisions for carrying a phone. I still like to carry my phone in it’s own case. For my phone I use the Bontrager Pro Ride Wallet Plus. This little case from Bontrager is one of those items that just works. It’s not expensive and there is a simple design. There’s also nothing else like it on the market. Zip locks work fine but the corners will shred expensive jerseys and jackets. For $15.99 Bontrager offers a solution that makes it easy to reach your phone and keeps both your clothing and phone safe.
It’s tempting to use a ziplock bag for your phone but the corners can shred a jersey.
The other piece of gear I carry outside of the main gear case is a mini pump. A CO2 inflator is a lot easier to use but they can fail. Usually when they fail it’s user error but it happens and you want to make sure you’ve got a backup solution. My favorite minipump is from Topeak. I covered the Topeak Roadie DA G in my article about winter riding gear but I’ll mention it again here. It’s small enough to fit either in my jersey pocket next to the Rapha case, or in the Dakine waist pack, and it features an easy to use gauge. It’s also a great price at $34.95.
When it comes to tools that I carry it’s always evolving. I look for the most space efficient, and well designed, set of tools to do the jobs I need. Things that work well while integrating many uses always get my vote. Right now my everyday carry bike repair tool set includes the Ratcheting T-way wrench from Fix-it sticks. The T-way is a space efficient ratchet that has a magnetic bit holder at each end. The use of standard 1/4″ bits allows you to put together a custom collection of only what makes sense on your bike. Without a bulky case the bits and wrench are space efficient but using them is a joy.
The tools I like are space efficient but still work well.
Next up I carry tire levers. At this point my bikes are all tubeless. Tubeless tires don’t need special tire levers but they do make life easier. The Schwalbe Bicycle Tire Levers are thinner at the tips making it easier to slip them into the tight bead of a tubeless tire. For $7.50 it’s one of those things that isn’t worth thinking too much about. They work well and they make life easier.
The promise of tubeless is that you’ll never have to actually get the tire off and to that end I carry a tubeless tire repair kit. Dynaplug offers a variety of options for tubeless repair but I’ve chosen the Dynaplug Micro Pro. No matter which Dynaplug option you choose they all work about the same. Stick a metal tipped plug through the hole and pull out the applicator. The plug stays embedded in the tire and the whole process is fast. Buy-in for the system is a bit pricey, $59.99 for the kit, but once you’ve bought in refills are inexpensive. The pill that holds everything is well made and should last for years.
Some of the pieces I carry haven’t changed in years. Other change all the time.
My tire levers, minitool, and tubeless tire repair are the pieces that are always in flux as new options become available. Along with those pieces I carry a small collection of accessories and backups that haven’t changed in years. The Serfas MB-3 is a CO2 inflator head that is small and simple. For a tire boot I carry a Park Tool TB-2. Many things can serve as a tire boot but given that I’ve never actually had to use them and they cost $5.75 for three it makes sense to get something designed for the job. The last specifically designed product I carry is a Lezyne Tire Patch Kit. $6 gets you a little case with a few patches and a tool to rough up a tube. Running tubeless the patch kit is a backup of a backup but it’s tiny so I carry it anyway.
Also in my everyday carry bike repair kit:
a vinyl glove in the event I have to grab the chain
$5 in case I need cash
a couple of CR 2032 batteries for my heart rate band or power meter
a CO2 cartridge
a couple squares of dynaderm in case of saddle sores
a piece of plastic wrap in case I’m caught in a suprise rain shower without a phone case
I hope to never use my emergency supplies but it’s better ot have them then not.
Some of the things I carry I’ve never had to use. I also have a few things that are backups of backups and if I ever have to use them it means it’s been a rough day. What’s important though, now more than ever, is that I have what I need to be self sufficient. I never want to be stuck on the side of the road with no way to get home. These are the things I carry to help make sure that’s the case.