Bicycle Maintenance: Your Must-Have Kit for Long Rides

In the midst of the Tour de France, cycling is on the brain. Because not everyone has the opportunity to go à bloc through Stage 18, crafting your own ultimate challenge can be a great way to push the pedals through the summer. If you opt for a long ride, maintenance will be a must. Here’s what you’ll need for a personal—and portable—SAG station.

The perfect multi-tool: Choose an option with everything you need for a quick chain repair, seat adjustment or handlebar fix, like the Crank Brothers M19. It’s lightweight (at 6.17 ounces), comes with a chain breaker, and includes a case to tuck away extras like your pesky house keys. 

Tire levers. When you catch a flat, being prepared with a lever is a huge help. Something simple and fairly cheap will do, but the first time you’re on your knees on the side of the road without one, you’ll know why experts recommend it.

Spare tubes. After a glimpse at the wheel size (on the inside of the tire), head to and take your pick. On a long ride, you’ll want to stow a few more than necessary—just in case.

Patch kit. Spare tubes are great, but if you get a tiny hole and want to keep right on riding, pack a patch kit. There’s a reason why kits like the  Park Tool VP-1 Vulcanizing Patch Kit are staples of cycling. It takes a few minutes to apply these patches, but the glue dries fast and solid, and the durability is unmatched.

Portable hand pump. The Topeak Micro Rocket AL MasterBlaster is incredibly lightweight and the perfect size for simple storage. Because it’s a Presta valve only pump, it’s only appropriate for road bikes or crosses. It can inflate to 160 psi, but will take some pumping. If you’re seriously racing against the clock, another fit might be right for you—but nothing beats the extreme portability of the Micro Rocket.

The true essentials. The importance of a high quality helmet, pair of gloves, cycling shorts and a bobble (filtered water bottle) is not to be underestimated. While they’re not bike maintenance related, all of these items should be on your list as you start out on any new cycling adventure—for personal maintenance purposes.

What tools have you chosen to accompany you on long rides? Did they help or hinder?