Sunday, 29 December 2013

She Spoke of The Contents of Her Saddlebag

Having time on my hands over the holiday I decided to get organised in many ways.  This included cleaning my bike chain and also checking my saddlebag for essential contents. 
Having cycled over 1500 miles since last December and having used, lost, loaned and misplaced good few items from my saddlebag, my conscience advised me that I needed to get things sorted.
I had a quick flick around the internet to find a list of essential Saddlebag contents and I came across this list


1.     Identification
2.     Mobile phone
3.     First Aid kit
4.     Patch kit
5.     Spare tube
6.     Mini pump or CO2 dispenser with cartridges
7.     Tire levers
8.     Map 
9.     Multi Tool
10. Energy bar or other small snack

This list came courtesy of: The Beginner TriathleteI thought the list was a really good guide for essential items, however I thought some items listed were about personal choice and some things I had never thought of.  After examining the contents of my bag and comparing it to the list of Ten Essentials.   I don't think I did too badly!   You will notice I am missing 4 items and duplicated and added other items.

  1. Identification:  I never thought of this before reading the list, but will now add this A.S.A.P
  2. Mobile phone: This is always in my purse.   I would not put a cell phone in my Saddlebag as I prefer it to be closer to hand.
  3. Spare Tube: There is no space for this in my Saddlebag, so this is stashed in a plastic bag under my seat.
  4. Map:  I never travel with maps for my regular daily journeys.   If I need map I use the mapping app on my mobile phone.
  1. Multi Tool & Tools:  Whilst Multi tools are great, I find that they are often clumsy to hold and to reach tight spaces.  Therefore, I also carry a small selection small single tools that are often easier for more tricky adjustments.
  2. Disposable Gloves: I have accidentally put my hands in black grease, mud, dog poo and squashed slugs too many times.   I keep 1 pair in my saddlebag and another pair stuffed inside my handlebar ends.
  3. Tyre Levers: I have both Metal & Plastic Coated Metal levers.  Metal lever can distort your wheel rims or tyre beading.  Plastic levers snap too easily. Therefore, I believe the best option is Plastic Coated Metal levers.
  4. Dumbbell Spanner:   10 bolt head sizes in one tool.  A great tool if you have wheel nuts and not quick release.  The heavier the better as it is less likely to break whilst releasing wheel nuts.
  5. Random Nuts & Bolts: I keep odd screws, bolts and washers from other used bike parts.   When I am  tweaking stuff on my bike, I almost always drop & loose small bits.  So I keep random spares for this purpose.
  6. Tweezers:  Great for picking thorns, glass and other random sharp objects out of a punctured tyre.
One of the most important items in my tool bag is my pump.  For me it is important that my pump is compact, easy to use, fits both Shrader & Presta Valve types, and it is fit for purpose.    Having purchased various pumps over the years, I am yet to find one that ticks all of the boxes.
I really like the ease of use and the efficiency of Co2 pumps.  However, I could only find one that fit either Presta Valves.  I have found that hand pumps are very Hit'n'Miss, regardless of how much you pay. 
On a mission to address the "Gap in my Saddlebag,” I took a trip to the shops to see what was on offer.  I managed to grab a combination pump, which can be used manually or with C02 cartridges. Having the opportunity to try out the Air Tool Comb02 in the shop was great.   I hope that it performs just as well when in real time use.

Specialized Air Tool CombO2
Creating a well equipped saddlebag is a relatively easy task, provided you know your bike well & you can gather the tools that fit your bikes components.
Knowing how to put the tools into use to get you out of a situation by fixing your bike on the road side is more tricky than expected.
Having done 3 different bike maintenance courses in the past 3 years, I still don’t feel that I could, quickly and competently fix a puncture whilst out and about.
I can do this at home when I am not under pressure, there is no passing audience and when I can grab other tools if another fails.  So I tend to only do minor adjustments and repairs whilst on the road.  Whilst I do not suffer punctures often, when I do get one, I simply replace the inner tube and then do the repair when I get home.

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