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Quite obviously a flat tire is the most likely roadside bicycle ailment, and only the shortest rides should even be considered without a pump, tire lever or two, spare tube and patch kit. The pump will need to inflate to the correct pressure for your tires, and the spare tube should be of the correct size and valve type (considering that deep-section wheels require long valve stems). This flat kit paired with a good multi-tool is heading in the right direction for the majority of simple repairs, but every bike has a few tool interfaces to consider before shoving off.

If you choose to use bolt-on wheels, you’ll clearly need the appropriate wrench to remove the wheels—otherwise that spare tube is nothing but a fancy rubber-band. Crank bolts are an oft-overlooked piece of the puzzle when it comes to roadside tool kits. Being that a bicycle doesn’t go very far with only one crank arm, it’s worth having a wrench that not only fits the crank bolts but provides enough leverage to actually turn them. Checking over every bolt on your bicycle and making sure you have the tools to fit it a worthwhile exercise that can save some serious headaches down the road—you don’t want to find out that your brakes need a 2.5mm allen key in the pouring rain. While cone wrenches and a lockring tool may be overkill for even long rides, as the miles pile on and rides turn into overnight tours those same tools may not seem such a bad idea to carry. Many people find that combining multiple small tools can be more effective for their particular bike than trying to find one multi-tool that does it all.

In addition to the actual tools to turn the bolts, a few other bits can really round out a toolkit. That chaintool on your multi-tool is many times useless without a few extra links of chain to replace a damaged one, especially in the case of singlespeed drivetrains with a fixed chain length. Necessity is the mother of invention, and a few plastic zip-ties and a small roll of electrical tape have bailed many people out of a hairy situation.

Toolkits are a constantly evolving project, growing and changing as an individual’s riding experiences, mechanical skills and miles add up. Avoid the long walk home at all costs, but we’ve all got to learn somewhere.