Hopefully you read our Winter Cycling 101 blog and have been keeping the pedals turning over winter
However, are you drinking enough on your winter bike rides?
While we’re all too ready to keep the energy levels topped up in winter at our favourite bakeries and cafes, cyclists are notoriously bad at keeping hydrated as we tick off the winter miles. When the mercury is sub-zero and we’re struggling to keep ourselves warm, the idea of sipping the cold drink in our bottles certainly doesn’t appeal.
WHETHER YOU’RE A BEGINNER OR A PRO, THERE ARE A SET OF BIKE TOOLS THAT ALL RIDERS NEED IN THEIR BIKE MAINTENANCE TOOL KIT.
Below are the essential tools for basic bike repair and maintenance that all riders will need. These will let you carry out all the key fixes and fettles that you’ll need to perform out on the road or at home.
Screwdrivers are also an essential addition to your bike tool kit. Although there are less frame components that are fastened with crossheaded or Phillips head screws compared to Allen bolts, there are typically screws that are used to make adjustments to complex components such as brake callipers and derailleurs. If you’re riding with cycling shoes and cleats, it’s likely your cleats will be fastened and adjusted with screws as well.
Although the majority of brands use Allen bolts in their components, you will find that some brands, such as Bianchi and Focus, tend to use star shaped Torx keys instead. As such, it’s always worth having a few of these in your bike maintenance kit as backup! We’ve included the most common sized Torx Keys in our Y-Wrench and Mini Ratchet Tool sets, just to make sure you’re not caught out when carrying out your key bicycle maintenance.
CHAIN WEAR CHECKER
The most important part of your bike’s drivetrain is your chain, and a worn chain will significantly reduce the quality of your ride.
A chain wear checker is a simple piece of kit that will indicate when it’s time to change your chain. The sooner you change a worn chain, the less damage you will do to other parts of your bike, such as the cassette and chain rings.
CHAIN TOOL AND MASTER LINK PLIERS
When the time does come to change your chain,you’ll need a Chain Tool and Master Link Pliers.
There are two types of chain; those with master or ‘quick’ links, and those without. If the chain has a master link, pliers will be required to help you compress the link and split the chain. You’ll also need these pliers to apply enough tension to a newly installed chain with a master link to ensure that the link is fully connected.
For chains without a master link, you’ll need a Chain Tool. This tool allows you to force a link out of the chain and thus ‘break’ it. You will then need the tool again to force the joining pin into the new chain so as to connect its two ends together.
We recommend that you have both the Chain Tool and the Master Link Pliers as you never know what chain you’re going to be able to buy when you drop into your local bike shop. Having both Master Link Pliers and a Chain Tool means you’re covering all bases!
Let’s face it, the time will come when you’re going to have a flat tyre, or will want to replace an old tyre altogether. And when you do need to do this, the easiest way to get your tyre off the rim of your wheel is with a good set of tyre levers.
You want to look out for a set of levers with a nice wide tip for digging into the bead of the tyre, with a precise edge to help you dig underneath it. You want the levers to be strong and sturdy so that they don’t snap if you’ve got a particularly tight tyre. Also, try to find some that are made of a plastic-based material, rather than metal, so that they don’t scratch or damage your wheels!
A Floor Pump, also called a Track Pump, is the quickest way to pump up your tyres before you go out for a ride. It’s important to ride at the correct tyre pressure to make your bike ride safer, faster, more comfortable, and to minimise the risk of flat tyres.
Whilst our Mini Pumps or CO2 Inflators are a great option for when you’re out on the road, the large barrel of a Floor Pump means you can inflate your bike tyres nice and quickly so that you can get out riding! As an easily portable option, you could of course go for our Mini Floor Pump, which blends the portability of a mini pump with the big power of a floor pump.