What Can You Carry in Your Bag To Help With A Breakdown?

Riding a bike has one major drawback; if something breaks or you get a puncture, you’re pretty much stranded until someone comes to pick you up. Carrying a full tool kit is out of the question as is carrying a full spare wheel. And, with modern bikes being chock full of technology, a quick fix becomes even more remote.

But does it need to be that way? Is there anything you can carry to give yourself a fighting chance of getting going again? We’ve rounded up our top ten things to carry in a backpack that could mean the difference between sitting by the roadside and getting to your destination.

  1. Cable Ties. Cheap, light and you can pack plenty into a small space. Not only that, but you can perform all sorts of bodges by the roadside with these little wonders.
  2. Duct tape. A small roll of duct tape can be almost as useful as cable ties. Stick things together or double it over, sticky bit to sticky bit to make a remarkably strong tie.
  3. Go over your bike and you’ll be surprised how few spanners you need to do a whole range of jobs; might only be five or six. Same goes for sockets.
  4. Adjustable spanner. No self-respecting mechanic would voluntarily use one of these if spanners or sockets were available but carrying one adjustable can eliminate carrying several spanners, with the resultant weight saving.
  5. Allen Keys. Lots of bikes use Allen keys for a whole range of applications. As with spanners, go over your bike and see which sizes you’ll need to carry.
  6. Puncture repair kit. Your bike is running perfectly but the tyre is flat as a pancake. Fixing a hole where a screw or nail has gone through is actually rather easy if you have the right kit; it’s small and light and cheap and doesn’t take a degree to use. And you can pump up the tyre sufficiently with compressed CO2 bombs to get you to a garage.
  7. Tow Rope. Brilliant, this! You can either use it to rescue fellow riders who are stranded (and who haven’t read this article!), or another rider who is good enough to stop for you can use it to tow you wherever you need to go, even if it’s just off the highway.
  8. Pliers/Mole Grips. Hundreds of different uses, none of them insignificant. The best way to carry these would be in a multitool, such as a Leatherman, which can incorporate a whole list of useful tools, such as screwdrivers.
  9. Always useful, from cutting away something that has wrapped around your wheel to slicing the biltong you carry for emergency purposes. Again, a multitool would cover this.
  10. Always travel in daylight? Yeah, right. A head torch can be the biggest blessing in any toolkit, leaving hands free while the job is properly illuminated. Pack one and you’re almost in the comfort of your own workshop, except you’re by the side of the road.

There are, of course, off the shelf tool rolls that are very well thought out. One in particular is the CruzTools roll that is packaged specifically for particular bikes, such as BMW GS’s, European bikes, American bikes and so on.

So, there you go; not exhaustive and you might have your own preferences drawn from experience but it’s a good start and might lead to a good end to a ride.

You might recognise Harry as being one third of the team that presents The Bike Show on Ignition channel. He’s been riding bikes all his life and, for most of that time, been telling whoever will listen what he thinks of them. A real Jack-of-all-trades, he loves riding anything and everything whenever and wherever he can without being particularly good at any of it (although he thinks he is). He’s owned and loved a huge number of bikes, both modern and classic and the last bike he owned was a 1942 Harley Davidson which probably explains something, although we’re not sure what.