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6. The perfect base ride - spares

6. The perfect base ride - spares

Deciding distance, layering, fuelling, monitoring effort, and carrying spares


Now there’s nothing worse than planning your training and dedicating precious time only to get half way around your loop before being plagued by a mechanical. Whilst you can’t fix everything on the fly provided your equipment is regularly maintained you should be able to overcome most adversities, thus preventing an emergency phone call to a significant other or, at worst, a very long walk home. With road conditions generally worse in the winter, awash with gravel and surface water, don’t leave the house without the essentials.

Mike Cotty, Base Ride, Spares, pic: ©Mike Cotty
While you may not be able to mend everything out on the road, with the right spares you should come pretty close. pic: ©Mike Cotty

Keep pockets free for food, mobile phone, money and any extra clothing. Use a saddle bag to stow essential spares including a couple of inner tubes, tyre levers and multi-tool (with chain splitter). Wrap inner tubes in a plastic bag to prevent anything else from chaffing on the tubes during riding and throw a couple of glueless patches in just in case. A spare inner gear cable takes up little space and can be a real life saver as is a good pump – fitted to the bike so you don’t forget it – you’ll only realise your mistake when it’s too late! Don’t forget that an energy bar wrapper can be used to great effect to line the inside of a tyre should you gash a sidewall and, although not a spare, remember to carry some for of identification with an emergency contact number.

Good luck with your winter miles! If you have any questions, get in touch @cottydale, and I’ll do my best to help. You can find me on Google+, too.

Mike Cotty

Discuss in the forum

  1. Jim

    Thanks for the tips – what emergency ID do you use? Looks like a wristband in the last picture.


  2. cottydale

    Hi Jim,

    Ah-ha, the eyes of a hawk I see! I use the Squadra wrist band from Onelife iD. If you need any other advice then give me a shout any time.

    Ride safe!

  3. Allan Brisbane

    As well as an ID bracelet/band another sound piece of advice I received from a paramedic was to have a IOE (In case Of Emergency) listing on your mobile phone with your next of kin name and number in case your unconsious/dead. Sadly all too necessary these days.

  4. cottydale

    That’s sound advice Allan! My wrist band contains an IOE number on it as well as a QR code and web link with further medical information.. I pray it’ll never be used but unfortunately you just never know.

  5. velo2bike

    i have dymo’d on to the outside of my helmets my blood group and the fact that i have zero allergies. You could be found unconcious on the side of the road and this basic info could save you.

  6. velo2bike

    sorry forgot to add – great article – lots of common sense !

  7. OneLife iD

    interesting comments on the Emergency iD. It is one of our iD bands that Mike uses UK company – . We are running a 15% discount on all our products till Dec 7th. if you are interested – use code XMASGIFT15 . iD bands are popular but because sometimes people forget we have added ID tags, cards, stickers that you can attach to clothing, helmet, bike etc. our IDs Includes emergency details and link to a website where you add additional info. Every iD includes a mobile phone screen to which you add your IOE or ICE (In Case of Emergency) details – the good thing is that it sits in front of locked screen so easy to access.

  8. cottydale

    @velo2bike Thanks! Glad you found the article of use.

  9. pompeyrick

    Add some disposable nitrile gloves to the tool kit. Everything’s harder with cold fingers and these will stop all the road rubbish getting into your riding gloves when you’re up and riding again.

Jo McRae bicycle yoga pics, squat with stick behind back, pic: Mike Mansfield, ©Factory Media

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