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Tools you should ride with


As mentioned in my previous post, doing a pre-ride check is important in preventing any major issues your bike may have, but once in a while something may happen during a commute that may require road-side repairs; it could be a flat tire or a loose bolt falling off. The following post is a simple run-through on must-have items which can save minutes from your commute and prevent costly trips to the bike shop.

For information on how to use any of these tools and do the repairs yourself visit: or

Must haves:
The following are a list of things you should always have on you during your commute or leisurely ride.

The bare necessities for my commute: Multi-tool, CO2 Inflator, levers, wrench, tube and wet-nap

-Multi-tool – these little tools are very light and compact but can do a lot. Use these to tighten any loose bolts, re-align brake pads, tighten brakes or just about anything else that requires a hex-key set or screw drivers. Make sure the multi-tool you get can actually be used with your bike, for example: If your bike uses bolts with a TORX head (some disc brakes use them) then it would be good to have a multi-tool with a TORX wrench.

-Wrench – for those of us riding older bikes or have wheels that use nuts instead of a quick release skewer then having a wrench is also a must (you can’t fix a flat tire if you can’t remove your wheel from the frame). If only your wheels use nuts then you’ll most likely need just a 15mm wrench, but if you have an older bike that uses various sized nuts then an adjustable wrench would be better.

-Spare inner tube or patch kit – in the event of a flat you could just lock up you could bring it into a shop to fix it but that could take hours depending on how busy they are and it will cost you. Fixing the flat yourself can save time and money and gives a good empowering feeling. Make sure the tube matches your tire and also be sure you know how to replace a tube or patch it.

-Tire levers – these are needed to remove the tire from the rim, you will need these to replace a flat unless you want to MacGyver your way through it and use your quick release skewer as a lever.

-Pump / CO2 Inflator – no point in having a spare tube with you if you can’t inflate it. Pumps come in different sizes depending on your needs. They can be big enough to mount to your frame or compact enough to fit in a saddle bag. A CO2 inflator is a much more compact and quicker option to a pump but is costs more in the long run. Be sure your pump/inflator is appropriate for your tube’s valve stem (Schrader or Presta).

-Tire boot – if there is a large gash or tear in your tire you cannot use it or else your inner tube will protrude out of the opening and pop. A tire boot is a good temporary fix until you can reach a bike shop. You can either buy an actual tire boot or just use a folded up Canadian Tire bill as the fabric is thick and strong enough to keep the tube from coming out from the tear.

-Zip-ties – zip-ties make great temporary substitutes for missing bolts or can be used to keep things secured such as bike lights if something were to break. It’s good to keep a few of them just in case something happens.

Should haves:
if you’re planning a ride out of the city or if you know you will be far away from any bike shop then these items are great to keep with you in case you need to do more extensive repairs.

-Chain tool – some multi-tools have these built in but if yours doesn’t you should have one in case your chain breaks and you need to reinstall it or cut a link off.

-Extra chain links – if your chain does break and you do lose a link or two, having a few spare links can help keep you rolling. Ideally, having a quick-link or master link in your tool kit will save space and make installation a snap.

-Moist towelette – it’s a good idea to keep a few of these on you to clean your hands after doing any repairs.

-TTC token or change – in the event that the damage is irreparable it’s always good to have a backup means of getting to where you need to go.

Posted: April 8th, 2010
Filed under: How to
Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments »

6 Comments on “Tools you should ride with”

  1. 1 cFletch said at 12:23 pm on April 8th, 2010:

    I had no idea what a tire boot was until just now. Bookmarked. :)

  2. 2 duncan said at 1:28 pm on April 8th, 2010:

    Great list.

    I had no idea a tire boot was an actual thing. I’ve always carried a $5 bill to use if my sidewall ever split.

    Over on bikehacker he also recommends having a sock or small rag. This can save you a lot of hand scrubbing should you need to make repairs.

  3. 3 Bikeroo said at 1:47 pm on April 8th, 2010:

    Some riders will opt for a burrito tool bag, something that will hold the tools and can double as a shop rag:

  4. 4 Weekly Wrap-Up: BikeSauce and the Ongoing Adventures of Igor Kenk | Biking Toronto said at 8:36 am on April 9th, 2010:

    [...] Tools you should ride with [...]

  5. 5 From the Blogs: Tours, Hacks, Cup Holders and Maps! said at 2:35 pm on October 1st, 2010:

    [...] All the basic tools that a cyclist should carry if they like fixing their bike themselves. [...]

  6. 6 Jean Baton said at 3:53 pm on November 19th, 2013:

    Don’t forget transporting your bike safely! I found my bike rack toronto and other accessories for all my vehicle needs.

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