During my first bicycle tour, I wanted to be prepared for every possible situation that I might face. However, after less than a week of hauling around my entire tool kit across the country, I realized that having every bike tool available wasn’t necessary.
If you’re taking a cycling tour in the USA or another Western country, you will find that it will almost always be possible to get the tools you need for a repair. Whether you need to hitchhike a to the next town or you’re stopping by a small community, you should always be within a short distance from a bike shop.
For tours such as these, the essential items to carry with you are as follows:
1. Tubes – During my first cross country tour, I went through 8 tubes. I always make a point to carry two spare tubes with me whenever and wherever I ride.
2. Patch kit - Park offers a range of glueless patches that are sturdy and easy to apply. I would never tour without at least one box of patches.
3. Pump – A mini pump should suffice, however, this is possibly the most integral tool in your kit and one that you’ll use the most so ensure it is of decent quality.
4. Multi tool – Do not waste your money buying a cheap multi-tool; forking out a little extra cash will ensure that when the time comes, your tool won’t break during use. I love my Topeak Ratchet Rocket . It provides all the essential tools in a small, easily carried package and the quality can't be beaten.
5. Spoke wrench – This tool is only useful if you know how to true a wheel. Ensure that your spoke wrench is the correct size for your spoke nipples, otherwise, this tool will be rendered useless.
6. Tire – On a loaded bike, a rear tire will only last 1000 miles before it becomes bare and dangerous. If you are doing relatively short rides over a number of days during your tour, you may be able to avoid carrying a spare tire, however, be sure to keep an eye on the tread and condition of your tire after each ride and replace if necessary.
Carrying the bare essentials during a tour will save you both time and energy. With bike shops in abundance across the US and other Western countries, any other issues you may experience during a ride can be easily fixed by a quick trip to the nearest bike shop.