Look after Number One - Stay Self Sufficient On Every Ride
Becoming self-sufficient is more important than ever with fellow riders understandably reluctant to stop and help others in need of minor roadside repairs.
After tales of cyclists being left stranded having encountering mid-ride hiccups, we thought it would be useful to put together a list to ensure, at the very least, you can make it home after minor mechanical mishaps.
1. Channel your inner... tube.
They say that lightning never strikes twice, but over our long history, we’ve found that punctures often do. Consider taking two inner tubes with you on a ride, or at least one, plus a patch kit. This will no doubt ensure you make it home, oh, and don't forget tyre levers to make the process a whole lot easier! Using your teeth or twigs doesn't work out well. And for those that ride tubeless, there's no shame in putting in a tube to save your bacon.
Refitting tight tyres, always use your thumbs!
2. “If the only tool you have is a hammer, it’s hard to eat spaghetti”.
A David Allen quote never rings so true, it's no good just carrying one tool, because sod’s law means that it won’t be the one you need. To cover all bases, consider a multi-tool. A combination of different sized Allen keys, Torx drivers, a C02 inflator head for all valves, and screwdrivers. This product does exist, and it's 20% off! Check it out here.
Fiddlesticks cycle multi-tool when the 'F word' just isn't appropriate.
3. Cash rules everything around me (Dollar, Dollar bills y’all).
As convenient as it is to carry your bank card or smartphone for contactless transactions, nothing is as useful or versatile as a new plastic banknote. You could use this to pay the slightly bewildered cabbie or you can deploy it to better use to patch up a slice in the sidewall of your tyre. Once you’re home, have a cup of tea and check out a new set of tyres here.
We are huge fans of Continental Tyres (and breakfasts).
4. “The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury”.
Doubtful that Charlie Chaplin was ever thinking about tying a knot in an inner tube to get rolling again. But when you think you're stuck, you're not necessarily. Thinking outside of the box for emergency repairs is often enough to get you out of trouble. Take for instance stuffing tyres with grass if you have a flat, or even using zip ties to fix a broken rear mech. Just try to stay safe and have parts properly fixed at the first opportunity (perhaps in our workshop).
Book a slot for our workshop here.
5. Bum bags are so 'in' right now!
We’ve all been there - you have all the essentials in your back pockets to make sure nothing scuppers your ride when thirty miles from home. On the way out of the door, you catch your reflection, you look like the mule in a game of Buckaroo. A good quality saddle bag means you won't be stretching out that lovely new Pearson jersey you’ve just ordered!
6. Get up to speed.
Getting ever so slightly more serious as we go further into this list, having the knowledge of how to do some running repairs whilst out on the road is helpful. Our friends over at Park Tools have made some great content on how to fix things like chains and almost everything else (P.S watch out for our upcoming maintenance series - we're just cleaning the oil off our mechanics before we start filming).
Running repairs - woods optional.
7. Mum, can you come and get me?
Possibly the most luxurious mention on this list - using a GPS to make ensure you know your route. If something untoward does happen whilst out for a ride, quite often this is used as a sign to head home (especially if you are out of spares). The latest range of GPS units from Wahoo have the ability to set you a route back to your starting point at the press of a button, meaning you can be home and dry a lot sooner than if you were following signposts.
8. “Just popping out, back in a sec!”
Even if you’re doing the usual route, it’s always worth letting someone know where you’re going and a rough idea of when you’ll be back. With the addition of smartphones and bits of tech like the Strava Beacon function, It’s easier than ever to let those close to you know where you are (no more stopping off at the pub for that post-ride beverage, even if it is closed).
Also take ever-changing weather into account - if the worst does happen and you’re stranded, it’s important to stay warm, dry and hydrated. Try and find shelter, consider taking a lightweight packable layer, like our lightweight windproof gilet.
If you have any tips or experiences to share with others, pop them in the comments and spread the word!