Whether you’re going out for a quick jaunt to the grocery store or a 60-mile joy ride, it pays to be prepared. After all, limping a bike home even just a dozen blocks is a pain, so is having to end your ride.
You’ve probably already got the basics in your repair kit (and if you’re wondering what the basics are, read this post). Along with a spare tube, CO2 cartridges and tire levers, these three things will help get you home without calling the sag wagon (aka friend, boyfriend, wife…).
A DOLLAR BILL
Nothing can ruin a ride quite like a slashed tire. Even after you’ve replaced your flat inner tube, the new one will just bulge through the tear and you’ll have another flat in no time.
Good thing you have a dollar bill! To reinforce the tire wall, fold the dollar in quarters (making sure it’s longer than the gash), then slide it in between the tire and your new tube. Pump it up slowly and keep an eye on the slashed spot to make sure the dollar bill is holding.
For a smaller slash, or if you’re getting flats from the rim, wrap the bill around the inner tube to protect it.
An empty goo packet also works, but just remember: this isn’t a permanent fix. Replace your tire when you get home.
A couple zip ties in your repair kit can help keep you on the road (or fix that annoying rattle you hear). From fenders to loose housing, zip ties help secure things that need to stay in place.
Broken spoke? Use a zip tie to secure it to its neighbor so that it won’t puncture your inner tube or wreck your derailleur.
In a pinch, you can also use zip ties to replace broken shoelaces, or even attach a flashlight to your handlebars. Your imagination is the limit here.
ELECTRICAL OR DUCT TAPE
Wrap a short length (1-2 feet) of electrical or duct tape around a piece of cardboard (or your pump) to make a portable mini roll. Alternately, adhere a strip of electrical tape to the underside of your downtube, so it’ll always be there when you need it.
Like zip ties, tape secures that which needs securing: loose housing, unraveling bar tape, broken water bottle cages and more. Tear your saddle in a crash? Wrap it in electrical tape for a barely-noticeable solution that will last for years (ask me how I know).
As a very last resort, use a bit of tape to patch your inner tube. You may have to stop and re-inflate it several times on the way home, but at least you won’t have to carry your bike.
WHAT’S YOUR TRICK?
What unorthodox items to you make sure to always have in your repair kit?
Jessie Kwak is a writer who loves to type about the good life: travel, outdoor adventures, food and drink, and (of course) cycling. You can find her at Bictoro: Bikes and Crafts.