Few things can spoil a bike road trip as quickly as a breakdown. Unlike motorists, bikers have limited space available, which means carrying a comprehensive tool kit is not an option.
That’s why it makes sense to put some thought into what you pack for an emergency.
The first part of your emergency kit is probably already there: the tool kit that came with your bike. It will likely contain some handy tools such as a reversible screwdriver, a few Allen keys and an assortment of spanners to fit most nuts and bolts on your bike.
It has limitations, though – most bike tool kits do not include a pair of pliers, which can come in handy in a breakdown.
A great space-saving supplement for your tool kit is a multi-tool, especially one that contains pliers. Look for a multi-tool that also contains a saw blade, a file, and of course, a knife blade.
Perhaps the most likely breakdown is a flat tyre. Carry a tyre repair kit that contains the plugging tools, mushroom plug strips and solution. Once the tyre is repaired, you’ll need to inflate it, so make sure that you have some compressed air cannisters as well an adapter to connect the canister to your tyre’s valve.
One of these canisters is usually sufficient to inflate your tyre enough to get you to the nearest filling station, where you can inflate the tyre to its normal pressure.
Some additional items you can take along on you ride include:
• a small LED flash light
• a pocket knife
• assorted cable ties
• duct tape
• at least one power bank for your phone
Mechanical emergencies aren’t the only problem you could face on your road trip – there is always the risk of a medical emergency, anything from injuries to getting stung by a bee. You could either buy a bike-specific first-aid kit from an accessory stop or compile your own.
If you go the latter route, here are some of the basics it should include:
• bandages in assorted sizes
• assorted sticking plasters
• gauze pads
• CPR mask
• small scissors
• eye drops
• tea tree gel for superficial buns
• over-the-counter painkillers
• anti-septic ointment
• surgical gloves
By Dries van der Walt