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The 6 Essentials


A flat tire turns a short ride into a long walk unless you have the right equipment with you to get back on the road.

These six items are the essentials every cyclist should have on their bike before they turn a pedal. In addition to carrying a cell phone, these items should be considered mandatory for every ride.

Less is more for your on-bike survival kit. Carrying the smallest possible bag saves room, weight and discourages you from bringing the kitchen sink. The same rules as packing luggage apply here: If you use a bigger bag you'll find a way to fill it. The smallest bag that will carry the six essentials is the best choice.
The Jandd Mountaineering Mini Tool Wedge is the smallest, most elegant and best engineered bags for carrying your flat kit. It is pure function. The engineers and designers at Jandd figured out how to make it just large enough to fit the six essentials, but nothing else. The bag mounts with simple velcro straps that almost never fail, as opposed to the plastic"clip" style bags that break frequently. The bag is small and unobtrusive under the saddle and doesn't spoil the appearance of a racy bike.

The Jandd MiniTool Wedge fits on almost any saddle, even with a bottle carrier behind your saddle, although you have to do some creative strap routing.


Click to see the six essential survivial tools.

Six essential survival tools will give you the capability to fix at least two flats and get you back on the road. Let's take a look at how they work:
Buy the smallest bag that works. Don't worry about keys, cell phones, energy gels. Those things go in your jersey pockets. The bag stays on the bike until you get a flat. Smaller is better.
Lightweight, compact 12 gram Co2 cylinders can inflate a 700X23c road tire to 110 psi with a little gas left over. Two cylinders is enough for two flats. Threadless cylinders are 33% less expensive than threaded.
The UltraFlate and InstaFlate CO2 inflators have replaced pumps. They are compact, lightweight, dependable and much faster than pumps. There is less chance you will damage your valve stem when using a CO2 inflator compared to a pump. In almost every way, CO2 inflators are better than pumps.
Park's compact glueless patch kit is a triumph of miniturization. About the size of 2 quarters, there are five high strength, self-adhesive patches inside. This is your second line of defense against flats, after you've already used your spare tube.
There are many varieties of tire levers but our favorite are the cheap plastic imported variety that come three to a little red plastic holder. We only carry two in our bag: It's all you need. Narrow, compact tire levers are easier to use than the oversized "Mountain Bike" variety and take up less room in the bag.
Be sure your spare inner tube is fresh. An old innner tube could be abraded by tire levers, bag straps or pinched by the zipper when closing your bag. We carry a long, 60mm presta valve tube as a spare since this tube will work as a replacement on any rim, regardless of depth. If one of your friends with deeper section rims flats he has a back-up tube he can borrow from you.

Learn how to use all this stuff in our free fix a flat class!
Register by clicking here.


© Tom Demerly, Bikesport Inc.
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