Mechanic’s Corner: Saddle Bag Essentials

What is a Saddle Bag and What do You Put In it

Saddle Bag Kit with Tire inflator, patches, and co2 inflator - what to do when you get a flatIf you’ve ever had a bike ride end early because of a flat tire or minor mechanical problem, then you already know the importance of carrying a saddle bag with you on your bike rides.  A saddle bag is a bag that is specifically designed to hang underneath the back of your bicycle seat. They come in a variety of sizes and styles so check for one that will fit comfortably on the back of your bike. Some people even have two different saddles bags, one for training rides and one for races.

At a minimum, that bag should have an inner tube, a patch kit, tire levers and a bicycle specific multi-tool in it. If you don’t know the size of your inner tube, check the sidewall of your tire for the size or ask your local bike shop which is best for your bike.

For A Flat Tire

If you’re not carrying a hand tire pump mounted somewhere on your bike, then a CO2 cartridge and inflator are also essential.  A flat tire can be fixed in under five minutes, and you can be back on your way if you have the tools and spare with you to fix it.  Otherwise, you’ll be calling a friend for a ride or maybe calling in late to work if you’re mid-commute when the flat tire happens.

For Other Mechanical Problems

Aside from a flat tire, a loose bolt that allows your handlebar to move or your seat to slip is a common problem that is easy to fix with a bicycle specific multi-tool.  A broken chain is a less common occurrence, but a chain tool is included on many multi-tools and is a necessity if you do get a broken chain while you’re out on a ride.
If you don’t know how to change an inner tube or use a CO2 inflator, you may want to talk to your mechanic or ask a friend to teach you how before your next long bike ride.  Finally, I recommend that you always have a cell phone, some cash and identification with you in case of an emergency.