Friday, May 22, 2015

Packing Your Bag To Hit The Road

I try not to be condescending in this space. Well, OK, sometimes I can be a little condescending, but only toward folks whom I deem to be narrow-minded, willfully inconsiderate or voluntarily ignorant. I say that to preface this little article which directed at the less experienced riders among us.

I've encountered several riders over the last few weeks who had flatted and either 1) did not have a flat kit, 2) had a flat kit but had used their tube and/or CO2 previously, or, 3) had everything they needed but didn't know quite how to execute the repair.
I'll address the situations in order with yet more unsolicited advice:

1) With cycling events and the long rides of summer upon us, no road rider should be without a flat repair kit. That's true even if you're just cruising the trail, but vital if you're going to head out on the road. Somebody will inevitably stop to help you, and it's really appreciated if have your own stuff and you can use the opportunity to learn from your good Samaritan.

A small flat kit can easily hold all that you need. This kit has 2 tubes (powdered with talc and wrapped in plastic),  2-CO2 cartridges, tire levers, inflator, 3 Allen wrenches (4,5,6MM), spare contact lens, key, and that universal fixer, cash in small bills.
 It is an optical illusion that the bag looks as big as Willie. It is quite compact.

2) It doesn't help to have a flatted tube or blown CO2 in your bag. Keep back-up tubes and CO2 cartridges in you personal stock. They are not expensive, they don't go bad, and it is far more convenient to restock your flat kit if you have it on hand.
I stopped to repair a flat  for a couple of women a week or two ago. They had apparently been equipped with a tube and a CO2 between them, which they had used the day before.If you have never had a flat, it's easy to be confident with minimal gear. I gave them a tube and used one of my CO2s to get them going. I also suggested that when they visited their local bike shop to restock their kit that they buy at least two of everything.
For about 25 or 30 bucks you can stock some ride insurance. It's not bad policy to have a tire on hand, as well. I'd rather but this stuff at my convenience that be rushing to the bike shop at closing time. 

3) Local bike shops and groups sometimes do clinics on changing flats and making minor repairs, but it is pretty easily learned. If you are not really confident in your abilities, practice at home. Pull up a video on YouTube, let the air out of a tire, and practice. Use your floor pump to re-inflate, but be certain that you know how your inflator works. Most instructions consist of: screw in CO2 cartridge, seat inflator on stem, back out CO2 slightly to inflate. 
Read the directions. 

I post something similar to this article at least once a year, but some things are worth repeating. I'm sure that Diane will tell you that this article is better than some of my stories that she has heard too many times over the years.


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Danny R said...

John, I am not from Dehli or New Dehli. Just right here in Little Rock. I think it was my wife and a friend of hers that you helped a couple of weeks back. Thank you very much for doing that. She is generally prepared, per my instruction. We do have extra tubes and co2 cartridges at the house. She just forgot to replenish. Her friend is still learning and a bit uncertain with preparedness. I too, have helped many folks with flats, as I'm sure many of your readers have. Good advice in the article about practicing. Everyone could benefit from that. Thanks again. See you on the road.