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My toolkit for cycling around the world.

My toolkit for cycling around the world.

How many tools do you need to bring when you go tour cycling? This is a question that I often discuss with fellow tour cyclists and here is my 5 cents about toolkits for tour cycling.

I’m a low tech guy with my bicycle.

Going through Brazil on a 300$ mountain bike.

Going through Brazil on a 300$ mountain bike.

For some people, it’s almost more fun going shopping for the trip than actually doing it and these people usually shake their head when they see my tiny toolkit.  I only have a spanner and a set of allen keys, for taking the bike apart when I am flying with it and then small kit to repair flat tires. I usually fix the punctures in the evening and just put a new tube on the bike, if I have a flat tire. I usually carry two spare tubes when I cycle long distance and then stock up along the way, if I am unlucky and have many flat tires, which is actually very rare.

cycling past Big Sur in California.

cycling past Big Sur in California.

There are plenty of bicycle repair shops around the world.

Getting my bike fixed for 2$, in Lombok, Indonesia.

Getting my bike fixed for 2$, in Lombok, Indonesia.

One thing I often argue with fellow tour cyclists, is whether to rely on local bicycle mechanics or not. I have found that there are plenty of them around the world and that they are usually better at fixing the bike than I am. I’m a globetrotter, not a bike mechanic. With the exception of the US, then I have never really been in a country, where I could not locate a bicycle repair shop within a few kilometers, so that I can just hitch a ride, or walk the bike to the repair place. And I have cycled in quite a few places, such as Syria, Brazil, Cambodia, Morocco, Albania, Mexico, Indonesia, just to mention a few of the countries I have been cycling around. The only times where I tend to be far away from a repair shop in these countries, is when I am doing a longer ride on a highway and in these places, there are plenty of trucks that can give me a ride to the nearest town, should I be unlucky. But despite cycling tens of thousands of kilometers over the years, I have still never had a mechanical problem that was so big, that I could not have it fixed locally within two hours, so no need to for a 20 pound toolbox, unless it’s your hobby to repair you bike.

Malaysia is a great cycling country.

Malaysia is a great cycling destination.

I ride fairly simple bikes.

Cycling around Montenegro on a 200$ folding bike.

Cycling around Montenegro on a 200$ folding bike.

I tend to ride bikes that have a wheel size that is common, as this makes getting spare parts so much easier and I find that I do not need more than my little toolkit for cycling. Sure, I might sometimes end up with a spare part that is not the best quality, but it can almost always take me to the next big city where I can pick up a better piece and it saves me a lot of weight to not dragging spare parts along the road. And riding a bike that is not too fancy also means that you are not as likely to get your bike stolen than if you ride some fancy and expensive bike that stands out. And I have ridden through some pretty wild places on my 3-400$ bikes, even if I am a chubby guy in my 40’s. It’s not the bike that takes you from A to B, it’s your muscle and will power.

Getting some repair done at a bicycle shop in Manila.

Getting some repair done at a bicycle shop in Manila.

I can change a spoke.

 

My toolkit for cycling does not include what I need to change a spoke and the reason for that is that I don’t know how to do it and I find it not so important, cause I am not gonna cycle around with spokes anyway and the places that sell spokes, almost always have a guy who knows how to put them on, but I am quite sure that some other cyclists will shake their heads here.

Laos has bicycle culture too.

Laos has bicycle culture too.

But I have nothing against you guys with lot’s of tools.

 

Some people might think now, that I am all against people who carry a lot of tools around, but I am not. For some people, maintaining your bike daily is a hobby and something they enjoy and for these types, it’s only good to carry a big toolkit for cycling. Some other people like to carry a big camera, cause photography is their hobby and I like to visit a local bar to meet the locals, when the cycling day is over. We all have our passions and I’m happy to meet you all regardless of the toolkit size 🙂

Meeting lot's of local cyclists, when tour cycling through Mexico.

Meeting lot’s of local cyclists, when tour cycling through Mexico.

Where am I heading next with my bike and my small toolkit?

 

By the end of next week, I am setting off on a 1500 kilometer tour of Portugal and Spain and in july/august it’s time to go cycling for 8 weeks around Brazil, during the olympics and follow the danish football team that takes part there. See you guys out on the road maybe 🙂

Enjoy your holidays by bicycle.

Enjoy your holidays by bicycle.

I have cycled through Brazil before and in july i will be back for another bicycle trip through Brazil.

I have cycled through Brazil before and in july i will be back for another bicycle trip through Brazil.

Claus.

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5 Comments

  1. Thanks for introducing me to your cycling world. Great tips on not having to travel with every single tool for your tool kit in tow!

  2. I enjoyed your post and understand your minimalist approach to bike repair on the road. Nice.

  3. Nice to read (when getting ready for a 1 year trip, which is our case :). I guess I’ll take it more as a general relieving suggestion. 😉

  4. Lovely post. I love biking around as well – Did my fair share in Netharlands. India is not so good for cycling enthusiasts, sadly.

    • I am actually planning a longer bike trip through India. I have a lot of experience in tour cycling, so I am quite sure I will be ok there.

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