Thursday, September 30, 2010

How I roll - the stuff in my pockets

So I dunno if you've noticed by now but I can be pretty particular when it comes to.........well anything really. Since cycling occupies most of my time, it gets over analysed ad nauseam. The benefit to you? I do a lot of the hard work, trial and error, and money wasting.
Here are the basics of what I take with me on every ride and why. Obviously it varies by the length, temperature, and type of ride but these basic tools will be with me 99.999999% of the time.

-pump/CO2 inflator
-tube patches
-Shimano chain pins / quick link
*on solo rides*
-MP3 player and headphones

Genuine Innovations - Second Wind mountain bike version
First things first lets take a look at the pump. Found this little gem probably about 5 years ago and I am lovin' it! So it's a mini pump, no big deal, gets the tires up to about 40psi with a billion strokes. The great thing about it however is that the head of the pump can be un-screwed and you can use it as a C02 inflator. It is an awesome inflator too.
Sooooo if you get a flat you can use it as a regular C02 inflator. Then if you get another flat you can use it as a pump when all of your CO2 is gone or you screwed it up the first try or you are too cheap to use a cartridge (me).
I replace this guy about every 2 years because like any CO2 inflator the seals tend to get a little worn out and it stops working effectively as an inflator. They make a road version that reaches higher pressure but I have yet to try that one. I think they are actually updating/upgrading this for next year so not sure if this specific model will be around much longer. You can bet I'll be one of the first to try out the new model.

Topeak Nexus multitool
This is what separates the mechanics from the guys who watched their buddy adjust their brakes that one time. This thing has everything you could practically want on a ride, meaning that you will be able to fix 99% of the trouble you might expect to realistically encounter while on the bike. Has all your common Allen key sizes, some spoke wrenches, couple screwdrivers, a Torx bit for disc rotor bolts, and a really great chain breaker (even has a little wire that holds the chain together while you repair it). There is even a slot that nicely fits a couple Shimano chain pins. I keep a 9 and 10 speed pin stowed in the rare occurrence of a Shimano chain breakage.

Doesn't really matter which route you go here. I always keep my tube in a ZipLock bag for an extra layer of protection. The higher end tubes ($10) are nice because they are wrapped up smaller, come in their own plastic, and have talcum powder dusted on them already so they slide into place better.
Honestly I neeeever flat. I find the only tubes I use are for my ill-prepared friends. Probably for the best because you should replace your spare tube at least once per season. Nothing sucks more than fixing a flat only to find out that your spare tube has a hole in it!
No glue tube patches
So this is how the story goes. I was riding with a friend (Mr. Tomsic I think??) down in South Carolina. We had set out on a fairly epic 160km mountain ride that traversed a bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. I had already had a flat earlier that day when I ran over a piece of glass, my spare tube was now gone (used).
So we get to the Parkway to find that it is closed, no big deal bikes are still allowed (I think?). We are bookin' along at about 75km/h when I double flat on chunk in the road. So here is the problem, I have 2 flats, we only have 1 tube left between the 2 of us. The real problem was that we were about 40km from anything....... like a person. The road was closed so no traffic to flag down. I was thinking ohhhhhh damn.
As we considered our options I started to remove my shoes as walking seemed like the best course of action. Just as we started to set off to certain death an angel floated by on two wheels and proceeded to give me a tube. It was the only cyclist we saw the whole 7 hours we were riding that day and I vowed that I would never be stuck like that again. It was a sign.
So that is the reason for the patches. They cost like $4, have 6 self glued patches you just peel and stick, and take up very little space. A must have.
Quick link and/or Shimano pins
For whatever brand of chain you used. Pictured is the one for my KMC chain. A SRAM link will work on Shimano chains of the same speed. Usually I will use the Shimano pins on Shimano chains because, in my opinion, it is a stronger bond.
Cause you never know when you will get the munchies.

I keep all this stuff in the ZipLock bag because then you can just grab and go. Bag doubles as a rain jacket for my MP3 player and headphones in the event of precipitation.
MP3 Player - Creative Zen 8 GB
I know what you are thinking, "you ride with music?? OMG that is like soooo dangerous! What if a blood thirsty Pterodactyl swoops down and pecks your eyes out??!??!?!"
Lets just say that life is full of risks. It's like a big game of risk vs reward and in this case I like my music so I ride with it. Really what difference is it going to make if I can hear the car behind me that is about to run me over? I don't have eyes on the back of my head and I'm sure as hell not going to look back every time I think I hear one. I ride defensively, obey the traffic laws, ride predictably, and pay attention to my surroundings. I think that goes a lot further towards me staying safe on the bike.
Favorite ride music includes but is not limited to:
-Depeche Mode
-Massive Attack
-Daft Punk
-The Prodigy
-Beastie Boys
-Dave Matthews
-Various 1-3 hour long electronic/techno/dance albums
-Genesis (Phil Collins ftw)
Headphones - Ultimate Ears 700, earbud style
Did I mention that I like music?? Well I do. And I take is seriously, I guess. These babies are amazing. Did a couple months of research before deciding on these. They are supposed to be the best mix of sound and lightweight. They block outside noise (a nuclear blast would go unheard) and are dual armature which means they cover lows and highs with two different drivers. Took some monkeying around to find the best fitting earpieces but they are supplied with tons of options.
Here's a trick to not having the headphones pulled out of your ears when something pulls on the cord. I zip tie a safety pin to the cord of all my headphones. I attach the pin where the two ear piece wires join together. Clip the pin to your shirt (or jersey) and anything that pulls on the main cord will just pull on the safety pin and leave the two ear piece cords unaffected.

That's it. That is the stuff that is bulging in my pockets when I ride. Now you know.


1 comment:

  1. That ride wasn't with me, but I remember you telling me about it.