Daily Commuting Tip - Don't leave home without...
Posted: 26th October 2009 | Eddie Allen
We're not talking about taking everything but the proverbial here, but there are certain things that'll make your commuting more harmonious. You'll find a list of essential and pretty obvious items, plus a list of other stuff that you might not have thought of, all of which can be stowed in the bottom of your pannier for when you really need it.
Essentials - if you don't carry these as a matter of routine you're asking for a long walk home:
- Inner tube
- Patch kit
- Tyre Levers
- Multi tool (with Allen keys and flat/Philips screwdrivers as a bare minimum)
- Lock (if you intend to leave your bike anywhere)
Above: The author's everyday commuting kit. From left to right: Shackle lock, gilet, tool roll containing; tube, zip ties, allen keys, chain tool, patch kit, Mini Maglite (great for nightime roadside repairs), dogbone spanner, mobile phone, Leatherman Super Tool, Pump and tyre levers. Slightly paranoid? Possibly, yes, but I've never had to walk the bike home.
Now here's some stuff that you may not think of carrying but comes in really handy:
- Half a dozen zip-ties of various sizes - can be used for just about anything on a bike - reattaching broken lights, mudguards, racks. Securing unexpected loads, replacing broken shoelaces (really!)
- A bungee cord - for securing that unexpected bulky item that you buy then realise it won't fit in your bag
- Carrier bags - to cover your seat when you leave your bike outside and it's raining. Also good to have in your pannier to waterproof sensitive items and help you organise your stuff
- A toe-strap - even if you've never used toe-clips and straps, the strap part is ultra useful for all kinds of things too numerous to mention here. The ‘pull it as tight as you want and it locks automatically' function is its killer feature.
- A chain tool and a few spare chain links - because one day you will break your chain.
- A plastic money bag with a tenner and some small change - hide it in that pocket in your bag that you never go in - this is your ‘emergency break glass' money stash.
- An extra base layer - sometimes you get caught out by the cold and the damp (or the extreme heat) so it's nice to have a extra layer in reserve. A gilet is also a really useful and stashable alternative.
- An energy bar/dried fruit/jelly babies - again stash this in waterproof bag in a pocket you rarely visit - that way, when you're riding home after skipping lunch and your energy is running out, you'll have a reserve tank to give you that instant energy boost. Don't stash anything with a short shelf life - finding a 2 week old banana in your saddlebag is not a pleasant experience (ask me how I know)
- Your mobile phone, complete with ICE (In Case of Emergency) number - just in case.