When you first start to ride a bike you will probably be close to home if problems occur, like a puncture, or sudden bad weather. But it does not take too long to start to ride quite long distances, and to find yourself far from home with a problem to fix.
So it is wise to learn to be self-reliant, and have the gear and skills to keep yourself safe and mobile whatever is likely to happen, wherever you are.
This section covers the basics of keeping you and your bike safe and well maintained, whether on a club ride or out by yourself.
What to Bring With You
- Punctures are not unusual, especially in the winter months. Bring a minimum of one spare inner tube, tyre levers and a pump. (And make sure you know how to take the wheel off and change the inner tube – see below)
- A multi tool is necessary for running repairs to the bike, like loose bolts.
- Bring some money in case you need emergency food supplies and a mobile phone in case you get stranded.
- Bring sufficient water or sports drink.
- If the ride is going to be more than two hours, make sure to bring food. Start eating after about an hour and a half. The golden rule is to eat ‘little and often’.
- Bring charged working lights for night rides.
- Daytime “running lights” can help safety by day, by making you much more visible to passing cars.
- Bring your SRAMcc membership card with Next of Kin details on club rides.
- Dress for the weather. Have you enough clothing to stay warm if you have to stop unexpectedly, for a puncture, or some other breakdown?
- Use mudguards in winter as a courtesy to other riders – especially those following close behind you.
Always aim to be self reliant and carry your own safety equipment, even when riding with others. Then you will be safe even if the group splits up after an incident or accident.
Learning the Skills
As a minimum, do you know how to:
- Replace an inner tube on your bike after a puncture?
- Check the bike to make sure it is working OK before a ride or after an accident?
There are lots of ways of getting information.
- Local advice – ask at a local Bike shop or bike club
- YouTube is you friend – you can find out how to do anything on YouTube, just use the search box and watch a few videos.
- For a bike check – look at this video by a SRAMcc member (only available to SRAMcc Facebook group members).
- Or this video, also by Rob McEwan, on fixing punctures.