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Loppet 101: Six things you should have on every mountain bike ride
Nothing kills the flow of your trail ride more quickly than a flat or mechanical issue with your bike. Fortunately, if you have the right tools with you, flats, and many mechanicals, can be fixed trail side. If you’re new to mountain biking, knowing what you need to get you out of a trailside jam can be confusing. Not sure? Keep reading!
A basic multi-tool will have most of the small tools you will need for simple trailside adjustments. Typically, they have the common sizes of hex keys to fit most of the hex bolts on your bike as well as a Torx bit, a screwdriver, maybe a tire lever, and sometimes even a chain breaker.
Many multi-tools don’t come with built-in tire levers and if your tires have tubes in them, you will want to keep 2 or 3 of these along for your ride. They make to removing your tires much easier if you need to fix a flat. If you don’t want to carry them, strong fingers might do in an emergency, but be sure to keep up with your finger strength routine!
A way to repair your puncture
What you want to carry will depend on whether you have tubeless tires or are using tubes.
- Spare tube—if your tires aren’t set up to run tubeless, the fastest way to get back on the trail is to just replace your punctured tube with new one.
- Patches—if you don’t feel like carrying a tube with you, patches are the next best alternative. They are a little fiddlier than just swapping out a tube, but they are small so it’s easy to carry multiple patches for that multiple-flat ride where you’re beginning to wonder if you should have stayed home.
- A tire plug kit if your tires are set up tubeless. However, some tubeless riders carry still carry a tube as back up for punctures too big for a tire plug kit.
Inflation device (aka, mini pump or CO2 cartridge)
All of the mosquito bites and sweat in your eyes from fixing your flat will be for nothing if you don’t have some way to pump up your tire. Mini pump or CO2 cartridge to the rescue! A CO2 cartridge is quicker, but you never run out of air with a mini pump. Both are equally effective at getting you running again so which one you choose is up to you.
A tool bag
This one might be self-explanatory by now, but if it isn’t, we’ll explain. You’re going to need something to hold your trail side essentials and having a bike mounted tool bag to hold everything is an easy way to make sure you never forget them. There are lots of options available that attach to different parts of your bike like your saddle or your frame.
The other things you should have, you can’t carry in a tool bag. Knowing how to fix a flat and a basic understanding of how your bike works are just as important as having the right tools. If you don’t have those in your mental tool bag, all the tools, patches, and pumps won’t do you any good. Ask a Loppet coach or visit YouTube. Both are great resources to learn the basics.
Loppet 101: We created the Loppet 101 series to provide helpful tips and information for people just joining our community of runners, skiers, mountain bikers and outdoor adventurers. If there is a topic you would like to see covered, we’d love to hear from you! Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.