4 essential fixes you should be able to do when out on a ride
There are basic mechanical skills that every cyclist should have, especially out on the road or trail. You may not ever tackle a wheel build, but have to be able to fix a flat . I’ve been on many rides where I sit back and watch someone struggle with a flat tire, until I put an end to the rider’s misery. The repair is simple if you use the right technique and know what to look for. See ‘Fixing a Flat’ (right) for my tried-and-true method.
Now what do you do if you have a cut sidewall or tread? If the cut is on the tread you are pretty much out of luck. If the cut is on the sidewall, you can sometimes line the inside of the tire before installing the tube. There are proper tire boots you can use, which don’t take up too much room in your seat bag. Also, a small piece cut from an old inner tube will work , as well as a $5 bill.
BABAnother common adjustment on the road is the headset . If you’re getting knocking in the front end or brake shudder, you could have a loose headset. First, loosen the stem’s pinch bolts, and then the top cap. Remove the top cap to inspect the compression plug to make sure it’s tight and seated in the steering tube. Then, tighten the cap bolt slowly while grabbing the front brake and rocking the bike back and forth. Tighten the top-cap bolt until you don’t feel any play in the headset. Finally, align the stem with your front wheel and snug up the pinch bolts.
You should also be prepared to handle a broken chain . Carry a small chain tool to remove a bent or broken link. You can use the tool to reattach the remaining length of chain. Make sure you don’t completely pop out the pin that you want to push back in. An easier method of reconnecting the chain is with a quick link. I recommend you always carry a couple extra quick links in your seat bag.