Being a triathlete requires that you be a jack of all disciplines, actually only three. But it does require you master a number of skills if you are to be a successful triathlete. Not all those skills will be directly related to a sporting discipline though. Take for example bike repairing. It is a skill every triathlete is better off acquiring. You may not have to have in-depth knowledge concerning bike repair, but some knowledge will take you far. And whether you take the acquisition of those bike repair skills seriously or not, you still need to be serious about acquiring a bike tool kit.
Bike Repair – The Essential Tools
Every cyclist must have a toolkit, and every toolkit must contain some essential tools. That small bag under your bike’s chair is not a fancy decoration. It is a tool bag that you need to fill up with some essential tools – tools that can actually make the difference between you completing the race or bowing out due to a bike breakdown. So what tools need to go into that tool bag?
1. Spare Tube
Even in the unlikely case that you don’t know how to change a tire, you still need to have a spare tube or two in your bike tool kit. This is especially so if you have non-standard wheels. Be sure to put your tube in a sandwich bag before placing it in your tool bag to keep it from being punctured by other tools.
2. A Mini Bike Pump
Imagine having a puncture during a triathlon. Fortunately, you have a spare tube on hand and you quickly replace the punctured tube – and then find out you have no pump. Sure, an air cartridge can do, but what if it fails you? A mini bicycle pump is your safest bet in times of emergency. Get one that mounts to your frame and you’ll be safe.
3. Tire Levers
Tire levers are a set of plastic tools that help you remove the tire quickly so you can change the tube. In a race, time is everything, and tire levers help you change your tube quickly.
4. Allen Keys/Hex Keys
Allen keys are the most common tools you will need when it comes to bike repair. Used to remove or tighten parts on your bicycle, they make up an integral part of your bike tool kit. Because they come in many different sizes, you need to check the ones that fit the nuts on your bike and pack only those. And when you need to give your bike that much-needed tune-up before the race, you might consider swapping that old saddle of yours for a newer aerodynamically enhanced model. An Allen key will be your bike chair tool of choice to quickly carry out the task at hand.
5. A Patch Kit
Every bike tool kit should have a bike patch kit. Even if you have a spare tube, a patch kit can come in handy when you encounter multiple punctures in one day. True, it doesn’t happen often, but the one time it will happen you’ll be happy you were thoughtful enough to get a patch kit. Besides, they don’t cost much and don’t take up much space, so why not? Sometimes the cause of a flat tire may be a sharp object hidden in a tire itself and changing the tube won’t solve the problem. A short distance down the road and you’ll have a flat again. This is where your patch kit will save the day – after removing the sharp object of course.
This is a very handy device that has a tool for almost every part of your bicycle. Although it replicates the job that Allen keys do, it’s good to have it and your set of Allen keys in your bike tool kit. Be sure to know how to use it before race day though, otherwise, it might frustrate you instead of help when you encounter a breakdown.
Yes, money is a tool. In fact, it is one of the most powerful, universal tools on earth. Having a bit of cash in your bike tool kit is essential as you may need it at one point. It may happen that on one of your practice rounds you may need to transport your bike back to base for one reason or another and that emergency stash will help you do so.
Time to Check Your Bike Tool Kit
Is your bike tool kit complete? Do you have all the necessary tools you may need in an emergency? If your bike tool kit is missing any one of the tools listed above, make sure to quickly add it to your tool bag before you forget. An incomplete bike tool kit means an incomplete repair. And that, my friend, translates into an incomplete race.
(Good job equipping your bike with a tool kit! But as they say, “Prevention is better than cure.” So to avoid the need to use your repair tools, don’t forget to tune your bike. Check out our post on bike tuning checklist that you should have on hand as a triathlete.