Top trail tips to ensure a good ride home - Bike Magic

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**How To

Top trail tips to ensure a good ride home

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…


Make sure your bike is in good working order to start with. 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. 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 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, 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, 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 one.


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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