Thursday, 2 April 2015

"Emergency Gear" for cycling

When I am going any decent distance out of town, I always carry a few bits and bobs with me.
Not really a "bug out" kit - think of it more as a "wheel out" kit.
  • Half-litre (about a pint) of water. Drink it, wash your hands with it, clean an injury with it - whatever.
  • First aid kit - these tend to be short on plasters (band-aids) so I add a couple of those. Make sure there is a little pair of scissors in the kit too.
  • Gaffer (Duct) tape - a "wonder" material :-) See also the entry for tyre repair spray.
  • Can of tyre repair spray - quick and easy to "get you home". I would suggest running the tyres at below maximum pressure if the tyre is damaged. Gaffer tape on the inside of the tyre is handy, and it can be used to beef up the tube where there is a weak patch in the tyre (if you have disk or drum brakes, you can run the tape right through the wheel). Don't expect to patch the tube afterwards, but hey, tubes are cheap when you are 30 miles(48km) from home, and you have "difficult to remove" tires (tires) - I run Marathon Plus or Marathon Winter, so punctures aren't much of a problem, but you never know!
  • mini pump - I have one with a gauge - see also puncture repair kit below. Not as fast (or small) as CO2 inflators, but an effectively limitless supply of "free" air :-)
  • mini tool kit - often not strong enough to do fittings up "properly", they do allow a "get you home" solution, however.
  • chain splitter - "modern" bikes tend to come with a "weak link" derailleur hanger to protect your frame if your derailleur takes a heavy impact. A chainsplitter allows you to shorten the chain and just run the chain "single speed" style from, say, the middle cog at the back to, say, the middle cog at the front. you'll be pushing on the big hills, but you can cover a serious distance like this. A chain splitter is also useful if you chain break - just take out a link or two, and keep out of the lowest couple of gears at the back when using the "big ring".
  • spare derailleur hanger - actually I don't carry one of these (I have a nice, heavy, old-fashioned, steel frame!), but it can make a decent addition before resorting to the "single speed" option.
  • "old-fashioned" puncture repair kit and two or three tyre (tire) levers - "belt and braces" in conjunction with the tyre repair spray.
  • lights - because you could be out MUCH later than you expect!
  • phone - I can ring for the "Broom Wagon" - 'er indoors, or an ambulance. It also gives a number for contact if I am picked up by the "emergency services" - most folks have an entry marked "house"/"home" or similar on their phones! Also good to ring worried relatives when you are going to be late back. Carrying a "contact in the case of emergency" number somewhere about your person might also be a good idea.
  • driver's license/ID when outside the area of my "home" hospitals - the quicker they ID you, the better your chances are after a serious accident. In conjunction with 'phone above.
  • health insurance details (if required - us UK folks have state healthcare, as do a few other nations, but I would still need to sort out the details before cycling in say, France, etc.)
  • lightweight jacket - sweaty cyclists can get cold quite quickly at the roadside

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