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.
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.
There are plenty of bicycle repair shops around the world.
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.
I ride fairly simple bikes.
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.
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.
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 🙂
Where am I heading next with my bike and my small toolkit?