Be prepared. That's a great motto to follow, and being an Eagle Scout myself, one I try to embody. This is especially true when it comes to riding and racing. One of my greatest motivators is simply that I don't want to have to end my ride or race early. We all have finite training time and I personally don't want to squander that time away with an issue that could be fixed. Additionally, I don't want to have to make that call for help or beckon a mini-van Uber.
For riding, I have some essentials that I carry in an old patch kit box. The idea of using an old patch kit box was passed onto me many, many years ago. I'm thinking it was my friend and teammate Matt Yarnis who had been in the sport for a few years before I had the pleasure of meeting him. He had quite a few good tricks and tips. I know some of my fellow masters riders will recognize the distinctive green color of the box pictured.
In my little patch kit box, I'll keep money, a patch kit (I know...who does that anymore?), self-stick patches, a valve extender for deep dish rims, a Presta to Schrader adapter, and a quick link (make sure it's for the correct number of gears). I used to keep change in there, but not too many vending machines are less than a dollar now.
The ring you see is a rubber band that comes wrapped around a new tube. I use it to keep the box closed, although I'm probably due for a new box.
The money is good for those gas station stops that have a minimum for credit card purchases, but also good for a tire boot. See July 19 TOTW.
You might be thinking, "who uses tubes anymore, let alone patch them?" Well, if you want to keep your ride rolling, it's worth it. And it's nice to have that extra security after you've installed your spare tube and now have 20 miles to ride home with no spare.
Do be careful if you are attempting to use some sort of compressed air to fill up your tube with the Presta to Schrader adapter. With the volume of air that comes out it's very easy to blow off your tire and and can be extremely dangerous. For me the adapter just gives me another option when someone offers you a floor pump that is not designed for Schrader. True story: I was changing a flat in 40 degree rain and someone actually came out of their house and brought me a floor pump. Really sped things up!
I find it super handy to be able to grab this little box each and every time I ride. No, I don't carry it with me when I race, but the same kit goes with me for road, gravel, mountain bike, whatever. This little box along with my multi-tool goes in one pocket, and my tube, levers, and inflation are in another pocket. I know there are fancier solutions out there, but it's light, easy, and has worked for years.
What do you use to carry your stash? Leave a comment below.
Until next time, Be Prepared!
Coach B.L. is the head coach at BJL Coaching and an avid racer and cycling enthusiast himself.