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3 Tools You Can’t Live Without As a Cyclist

By Christopher Ashley

Everyone thinks they know best when it comes to tools, maintenance, and spending time with their bike when they’re not riding it. I’m here to tell you you’re all wrong – and I’m right. Here are the tools you can’t live without.

Truing stand

When the metronomic whisper of a calliper brake pad suggests your back wheel is out of whack, just whip out your phone and satnav your way to the nearest LBC. With a bit of luck, an annoyingly proficient mechanic will demonstrate the sans outil (without tools) method of wheel-straightening.

Most bike shops are happy to true your wheels for a tenner, especially if you’re close to tears and look ashamed. But the reason for owning a truing stand is more than just being manly or worldly.

Truing stands are about zen, peace, and making yourself a better person. Here’s the BMX-friendly explanation on how to true wheels properly. It takes time to do it right. Take a deep breath.

Track pump

Sometimes, cycling is about going fast – and the tool that makes you go the fastest is the track pump. And I mean a proper track pump with a decent pressure gauge. Use it at the start of every ride.

Riding at the right pressure makes you a better cyclist. If you have a great ride, nine times out of ten it’s because you nailed the tyre pressure. But there are many variables that dictate which pressure to ride at – what terrain are you tackling? Is it wet weather, and what’s your BMI?

This next video is about road bike tyre pressure – probably the simplest one to get right. And yet there are still many variables to consider.

Chain tool

You’re probably wondering why a chain tool is so important – surely you just get your chain replaced at the annual bike service? Wrong – you swap out your chain monthly, leave one degreasing for a month, spend a month cleaning another, and the third chain is on your bike.

I call it the Christopher Ashley System, and the eternal maintenance is not only FUN, it ensures your chains will last a full month longer than normal. Now that you know the top 3 tools you can’t live without, what other tools are next most useful in a cyclist’s workshop?