09 Sep, 2015

The Bike Whisperer asks "what's in the box"?

Most big budget races and well-organised cycling events in South Africa are ... let"s face it ... multi-day stage events.

With these challenging events being anything between two days and two weeks or more, you've got to think for yourself. If you are not a sponsored pro-cyclist or riding as a corporate organised rider, then it’s up to you to have all the gear, spares and know-how to keep yourself in the race when things go wrong.

Ultimately, this refers to previous Bike Whisperer columns, as we have discussed self-reliance and knowing your bike and how it works before.

Now most of these events allow you to take a race box with you, or even sometimes supply a service like this, karting along a container for your spares and kit. However, you have to fill this yourself as it is almost impossible for them to carry every part of every rider’s bike that could possibly go wrong.

You also can’t fill the box with every possible component on your bike that might fail either, as then you might as well take a complete back-up bike with you, which unfortunately can’t really happen. Even if so, who of us has two of the exactly the same bike in our collection? I certainly don’t.

Luckily some of these events have service stations or, shall I rather say, mechanic pit-stops along the way to keep you going when things go wrong. But who’s to say your supply box is at the exact spot where you need it, so once again self-reliance is a plus.

Right, now let’s take a look at what you need in the box and what you need on board. The race box is there for the bulkier stuff or things that can wait for the end of day’s stage, this should include the following:

• Spare tyre or two;
• A couple of spare tubes;
• Tubeless tyre sealant (two bottles and make sure it’s the same brand as what is already fitted);
• Two spare valves as well as roll of tubeless rim-tape;
• A rear derailleur as well as frame hanger (make 100% sure it is compatible);
• Two spare gear cables as well as housing and farrels;
• Two sets of brake pads and a bleeding kit as well as the correct type of brake fluid; and
• Over time, try and collect spare bolts and nuts from old components like stems, seat posts, derailleurs and such which you can obtain from your old components as you swop them out for new ones, when servicing your bike all year round.

These bits shouldn’t take up more space that a little bank money bag, but sure can help you out of a tricky situation. So that’s the box filled for the organisers or your servicing people to carry around for you.

On yourself or bike, you should have the following:

• Good old patch and solution;
• A spare tyre;
• Tubeless repair kit;
• A secondary rear derailleur, frame-hanger;
• Two or three CO² cartridges with adaptor as well as a mini pump;
• A tyre gaiter, which can be bought or self-made;
• A multi-tool;
• A chain tool as well as two master links;
• A small bottle of lube as well as sealant; and
• The theoretical and practical knowledge on how to apply and use these toys.

So that’s it ... Go get ‘em guys and gals!

Happy stage racing!
The Bike Whisperer
The Bike Whisperer

The Bike Whisperer

Bike Mechanic Supreme |

The Bike Whisperer has worked on, fixed and built more bikes than there are kilometres of singletrack in South Africa ... well ... almost. And he often shares his knowledge with us.