The Scout Motto “Be Prepared” is a reminder to its adherents that it is their duty to be in a constant state of readiness. A rider who relies on the bicycle as a mode of transportation should be well prepared. Riders who can easily access bicycle shops makes light travel possible, but emergency readiness can prepare a rider for many unforeseen hiccups on the road without requiring much weight or effort. Bicycle accessories to handle emergencies can go a long way to staying safe and arriving at the planned destination.
Start with small carrying case like a backpack, compact, under-seat or utility bag, or even the saddlebag. Pockets, compartments or sections that can be zipped, tied, or zipped can keep things in place and the noise level down. It may be necessary to use more than one bag for different types of components or use a larger bag to hold smaller ones.
Bicycle repair requires tools. A multi-tool will come in handy to tweak or fix many parts of the bicycle. At the very least, a rider should have 4 and 5-millimeter hex tool and a Phillips & flat head screwdrivers. Some experts recommend bringing zip ties, links, wires, bolts, clamps, duct tape and the like to tie down broken parts, keep parts together, and seal leakages.
To change bicycle tires, tire levers are essential. Although only one lever is adequate, having a spare lever can be useful in case the first one breaks. Their small size makes the space and weight difference inconsequential. Bring the appropriate sized wrench for bolted wheels. Small wrenches are available today.
For flat tires, some riders prefer the convenience of patch kits or “mini” tubes. This allows them to get to their destination not too far away. Other riders, however, may choose to bring a full sized spare so as not to have to change tires again later. After all, a rolled up and tied deflated tire tube does not take up too much space.
Some riders carry hand pumps on their rides. Lightweight pumps are also readily available as another option. Still smaller and lighter are carbon dioxide inflators for the spatially conscious rider. For longer journeys, riders should bring extra cartridges. It would be wise to separate the inflator’s nozzle from the unit.
Carrying a small amount of cash may prove useful for the unexpectedly rare emergencies. Change to make a few phone calls, in case of dead cell phone battery, and a ten or twenty-dollar bill may be all that is required to continue the trip. Consider keeping a spare debit card in the emergency kit for treks far from home or to unfamiliar places.
What goes into a rider’s emergency kit is dependent of the type of journey. If the road is more rocky than smooth, it may be handy to have a few more CO2 cartridges. Pack light reflectors, bicycle lights, flashlight, extra batteries, or LED key chains for dark or night travels. Where batteries and electronics are concerned, having a waterproof bag may keep everything ticking, as they should.
A complete emergency kit keeps the rider going too. A small basic first aid kit that includes bandages, disinfectants, swabs, or gauze is necessary. A cloth for cleaning and a small lighter will be handy too. As you go on your merry way, keep yourself and your bicycle safe and always be prepared.