Betting against the odds of bike commuting

There’s a few things we need to do to ensure that when you’re bike commuting you’re not going to lose. Today we’re going to go over some things that can help you start learning more about betting odds. Losing could come in the form of a mechanical breakdown, physical limitations or even unforeseen events.

So here’s what I recommend that you do before getting on your bike:

Bring 2 tubes, patch kit and a pump: The last thing you need is a flat, or two. By having the extra tube, you could have peace of mind and the ability to change out two flats. The patch kit could be used if both of your spare tubes get punctured again. Of course you can’t fix that problem unless you have a pump. By the way don’t forget the tire levers!

Hydrate: No matter if your commute is only 2 miles or 30 miles, make sure you have some hydration on your bike. Carrying a water bottle can help you beat out cramps in your muscles and if it gets too hot, you could simply cool off by dousing yourself with water.

Tools: One can never bring enough tools with them when riding. I recommend a multi-tool that has all sorts of goodies on it. I prefer the Crank Brothers Multi Tool 19, it even has a chain tool, and you never know when you’ll need that! It’s small enough to put in your bag and it can be a life saver.


Locks: Bring a lock! Bet the odds of theft by making sure you have decent lock for your bicycle. I’d go with a U-lock that has a cable that can look around onto your front wheels. Here’s what I mean, I lock the frame and rear wheel with my big u-lock, and then I take an cable to lock the front wheel, that cable is attached to my u-lock. That way I don’t have to remove the front wheel when I park my bike to secure it with the u-lock, make sense?

Cell phone: I’m not sure of anyone who doesn’t have a cell phone in this day and age. Having a phone can be your literal Phone-A-Friend situation where you can get help if you needed it. I never leave home without my phone. There have been a few occasions where I’ve used up both tubes, my patch kit was all gone and or my pump broke. I ended up calling my wife to pick me up. I’ve also used my cell phone to call 911 when I witnessed an accident. You never know when you’ll need it.

I’m sure many of you already do the things I’ve mentioned. But some of us may think, “It won’t happen to me.” You’d be surprised on how well Murphy’s Law works…when things hit the fan, they HIT the fan. Prepare yourself each time you ride so in the event of something bad happening during your ride you can be ready to deal with that situation.


  1. Darren

    Nice article. I carry all of the above. I was wondering how oftern you should change out your spares and patch kit if they aren’t getting used? Once every couple of years OK?

  2. Kagi

    This advice makes sense if you’re traveling many miles (say, more than ten) on rural roads. If you commute through a city, though, it doesn’t make sense to bring all the extra gear. If you get a flat, you just call a cab and take the bike with you, or else lock the bike up where you are and come get it after work. You’re not going to want to get all dirty, patching a tire in your work clothes. This post seems to come from a recreational mindset, not a commuter mindset.

  3. Idaho Spud

    I’ve “made do” with one tube and a patch kit. (Plus pump and tire levers.) Worst day ever (twice) – three flats on a ride.

    Helpful hint – if you damage a tire as well as the tube, you might try to get to your destination by folding up a dollar bill and sticking it in between tire and tube. Unless your tire damage is severe, that could keep the tube inside the tire, at least until you have a better solution. (A $5 or $20 or $100 will work, but I always choose $1 if I have it! haha)

    I don’t carry a bunch of tools. Maybe I live a charmed existence, but in 29+ years, 162,000+ miles of transportation cycling, I’ve only very occasionally regretted that… usually I can limp on to my destination. I can count the times I needed to call for a rescue-wagon on one hand.

  4. Joe

    If you’re worried about getting dirty changing a tube pack latex gloves or snag some alcohol hand wipes next time you get BBQ and keep those in your kit.

  5. Mike

    I’ve soured on tire levers ever since one of the plastic ones broke of while removing a tire a while back. Keys make a good substitute for a lever if you don’t have one in your pack.

    I roll around with a pump all the time. It’s come in handy a few times for myself, my riding companions, or even random people who I’ve noticed had very low tires.

  6. Mark

    I hate to disagree with you, but I agree with the post. As a commuter, I really do not want to make a call to get a ride for something as simple as a flat tire. Not sure about you, but I don’t get very dirty fixing a flat. Latex gloves in the saddle bag helps, or I just use soap and water when I get to work.
    We all have different perspectives and do what works for you, but I would hate to encourage anybody to not be prepared for something as simple as a flat tire.


  7. new england bike commuter

    What a freaking moron. Two tubes, hydrate? I ride two miles to work. Are you trying to dissuade the rest of the morons of the world from riding their bike to work? You need a $2 thrift store bike, a cheap lock, and some cojones to get out of the car and ride. You’re an idiot.

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