Top trail tips to ensure a good ride home

Bikemagic Bikemagic

At the front of every guidebook, and in many magazine
articles there will always be a list of ‘essentials’ you MUST take with you. This
always seems to include map, compass, full size survival bag, full set of lights,
extensive first aid kit, blah, blah, blah. Do YOU know anyone who carrys this much
kit? Most people seem to have trouble bringing along a spare tube and a pump. As
a weight fetishist, and a ‘be-prepared’ expert, this is my recommendations for avoiding
the long walk home without excess weight. Take this advice and you should avoid the
long walk home in the dark. Believe me, its not fun.

Kevin Hodgson’s Secret Seven… SIZE="2" FACE="Arial">


Make sure your bike is in good working order SIZE="2" FACE="Arial">to start with. SIZE="2" FACE="Arial"> If your tubes have 10 patches on each, your tyres are torn
and your dodgy chain breaks every couple of rides, then sort it out. I recently
rode with a guy who discovered he only had one chainring bolt fitted, half way through
the ride!


The number one breakdown will be a puncture. SIZE="2" FACE="Arial"> Patches are light but are a faff, and may not stick in the
rain, snakebites or blowouts may be beyond repair. So carry a spare tube, tyre levers
and a decent pump, if nothing else. Test your pump, if it can only manage 30psi,
or takes 400 strokes, get a better one! Carry instant patches for the second &
third punctures.


Get a multi tool that works,
and fits as many parts on your bike as possible. Ensure that the common tools (4,5,6mm
allen keys) are easy to use, and that there is enough leverage available. Make
sure a chain tool is included. Topeak Power 21 is about the best function v weight,
it can sucessfully retighten a crank bolt, and duplicates the most common tools.
Check your bike for any strange tools needed.


Certain components are too big to tackle FACE="Arial">with even the best multitool. e.g. threaded headsets, bottom brackets,
cassette lockrings. Apply mild loctite to these, and make sure they are tight.


A first aid kit is a very sensible idea FACE="Arial">, but few people carry them, to save weight. Mine contains a survival
blanket, antiseptic wipes, big plasters, steri strips (adhesive stitches), a bandage
to hold it all on, puritabs, and a button compass. It weights nothing and fits into
a waterproof A5 bag. So where are your excuses now?


Some small items are worth their weight in gold SIZE="2" FACE="Arial">, that haven’t already been mentioned. Park tyre boots can
patch huge rips in your tyre, and be used to fix scary big punctures and camelbacks.
If you run with high pressure in your tyres, try a racer pump. 100 strokes gives
50psi in a 2" tyre, and they only weigh 150g if you get a cheap plastic barrelled


Your spare tube is only a spare,
so try a latex, a panaracer greenlite, or a 1.5" tube. Change it back when
you get home.


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