Don't get stranded - be prepared!
Published 5 March 2013
In cycling, as with motoring, there’s always a chance that you’ll have to fix a problem at the roadside every now and again. But don’t be put off! There are plenty of ways you can reduce the chances of it happening – and be prepared if it does.
Keep your bike in good condition
Regular cleaning and visual checks can often ward off potential rush-hour dramas. So when you’ve got a minute in the evening or at the weekend, give your tyres a once-over for cuts and foreign bodies, and make sure they’re correctly inflated. Check for frayed brake and gear cables, and make sure your brake blocks are in good condition, and all your nuts and bolts are nice and tight.
Get proper tyres for the job
There’s no need for fancy racing tyres if you’re using your bike to get to work. Look for tyres with puncture protection, thick treads and strong sidewalls. A good second line of defence is to fit slime tubes – special inner tubes filled with a slimy substance that congeals around small punctures and fixes them instantly.
Keep it simple
A simple bike is often more reliable, just because there’s less to go wrong. So you’ll find that many off-the-shelf commuting bikes have rigid frames and forks, internal gear systems and brakes which are hidden from road grime, potential damage and wear and tear. Some commuters even opt for single speed (or 'fixed') bikes, which do away with gear systems altogether.
Make sure you’ve got the tools, spares and knowledge to deal with basic roadside repairs – just in case you do get caught out. A bare minimum toolkit is a pump, tyre levers, a multi-tool (plus a spanner that fits your wheelnuts), a spare tube and a puncture repair kit. If you haven’t a clue how to fix your bike or need to brush up on your skills, we can help. Check out our British Cycling Bike Maintenance Workshops.
Even if you do end up on the side of the road without a tyre lever in sight, don’t despair! British Cycling Members get up to 15% off Cycle Rescue – an emergency roadside recovery service specially for cyclists.