Touring toolkit

Here’s our recommendations for a full touring toolkit if you want to be self reliant on the road:

Essentials – to fix punctures, make minor adjustments and keep your bike running:
Spare inner tube x2,
Puncture repair kit,
Tyre levers,
Chain oil.

Basics – to fix broken chains, cables and front spokes, rear spokes with a little help*:
Spare spokes,
Spoke key,
Cassette tool,
A few spare links of chain,
Chain tool (may be on the essentials multi-tool),
Spare brake and gear cables,
Cable outer, ferrules and crimps,
Strong tape, ideally a roll of sticky rim tape,
A handful of zip ties.

Useful Extras:
Wire cutters,
Adjustable spanner,
Chain whip,
Spare lightweight folding tyre,
More spare inner tubes.

If you don’t know how to use any of these tools, ask another cyclist, sign up for a course or contact us before you leave.

Here’s a couple of useful on-the-road fixes/tips:
*If you don’t have a chain whip or spanner to go on your cassette tool, you can still remove your cassette. You just need to borrow an adjustable spanner from any garage or workshop you find on your travels. Then remove your rear wheel, break the chain and wrap it round the cassette and a nearby pole/tree to act as a makeshift chain whip.

If you don’t have a spare spoke of the correct length, you can use two spokes. Attach one at the rim end, one at the hub end. Cut both spokes so that they overlap in the middle, and use pliers to bend both ends into interlocking hooks. This holds surprisingly well, but it really only a temporary solution until you can find a spoke of the right length.

If you keep getting punctures, you can cut up an old inner tube and put it between your tyre and inner tube to double the strength of your inner tube.

Fixing punctures
Fixing punctures

I carried a spare tyre. Even though I was riding with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, I had 3 ripped tyres in total. The spare tyre was great for getting me somewhere I could buy a stronger replacement. If you can, replace tyres when the tread starts wearing down, about every 10,000km.

Broken rims are a common problem on long distance cycle touring, due to heavy weight and rough roads. Lots of zip ties and tape works for a while, but ultimately you’ll need a new rim. If you can, preemptively replace wheels about every 10,000km.

Replacing a rim on the road
Replacing a rim on the road

If you’re touring with friends, make sure everyone has an essentials kit, in case you’re not cycling together when you get a puncture. Or make sure the person at the back of the group has the toolkit.

Ask for help if you’re stuck or hitch a lift.  In general, people are more than happy to help if you’re in trouble.

Locals in Tajikistan helping fix a broken pannier rack using wire coathangers
Locals in Tajikistan helping fix a broken pannier rack using wire coathangers

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