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How to Make Bicycle Repairs When Traveling

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Question:

How do you handle equipment repairs when traveling long distance on a bicycle? What tools and spare parts do you carry with you? What
preventative measures do you take to avoid needing repairs while out

on the road? Do you choose your equipment with the potential for being
repaired internationally in mind (like avoiding bikes with lots of
specialty parts)? What would you do if your bike completely crapped
itself when truly out in the middle of nowhere?

Luke’s response:

Great question. The answer to this question depends on where you plan to go riding. If you are riding around europe where you will never be more than 10 miles from civilization or people who can help you out, than there is no need to bring repair equipment any more complex than a tyre repair kit, air pump and a bicycle multi-tool.

Luke showing his bike while traveling

If you are planning on riding in more remote countries, it is a good idea to choose a bicycle that uses 26 inch wheels as this is considered the most widely available sizing. Avoid suspension and other complex parts that are likely to fail and be difficult to repair.

A tool kit for longer journeys might look something like this:

  • Bicycle specific multi-tool and tyre repair kit
  • Chain tool for separating chain links and some spare chain links
  • Pedal wrench for removing pedals for air travel
  • Spoke tool and spare spokes
  • Spare nuts and bolts to replace the ones that shake free and get lost on dirt roads!
  • Zip/cable-ties, wire and strong tape to fix any number of breakages.
  • Cable cutters
  • Spare brake cables and brake pads.

If you knew you were going to be crossing endless rough roads thousands of miles from reliable spares you might add:

  • Spare tyres with folding bead to fit in your bags.
  • Spare rim and spokes and knowledge of how to lace up a wheel.
  • Spare bottom bracket and tool.

If you are not careful this list can just keep growing until your bags are jammed full of bicycle parts!

If you have time on your side, then forget about most of this list and when something major breaks just thumb a lift to the next town and get your friends back home to express post you whatever you need. Simple.

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Filed under: Bicycle Travel, Travel Gear

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3054 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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