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Saddle Bag Essentials For Road Bikes 
Saddle Bag Essentials For Road Bikes 

Saddle Bag Essentials For Road Bikes 

I have been road cycling for a few years now and I think I finally have the perfect list of Saddle Bag Essentials. When you are out on the road, you want to have the tools and supplies needed to fix your bike in an emergency, but you don’t need to bring your entire repair station along for the ride. Most major repairs will be done in your garage, but minor fixes and adjustments might need to be made out on the road. So, what do you need?

List of Saddle Bag Essentials:

  • Extra Tube (in the correct size)
  • Tire Levers
  • CO2 Cartridge 
  • CO2 Cartridge Cover
  • CO2 Dispenser
  • Multi-Tool

Extra Tube

Some people prefer to bring two extra tubes with them when out on a ride. In my experience, you will only need one. Most flats occur in one tire, not both. If you properly clear out the inside of your tire before installing the new tube, you should have no problems carrying just one tube along for the ride. Just be sure you have the proper size tube in your bag. (The only time I carry two tubes and two CO2 cartridges with me is when I am on a 50+ mile, unsupported ride far from home.)

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Tire Levers:

If you are not able to get the tire off the rim, the extra tube will be useless. Most tire changing kits or tube packages come with a set of plastic tire levers. These are essential for levering the edge of the tire up over the rim of your wheel to remove the tube. 

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CO2 Cartridge:

Some people prefer to bring a hand pump in place of a CO2 cartridge. In my experience, the hand pump is a waste of time. Hand pumps take too much time and energy to get minimal pressure in your tire. In terms of space and practicality, CO2 is a much better choice. You get better pressure in your tire. It takes seconds to inflate. The entire inflation kit can fit in the palm of your hand.

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CO2 Cartridge Cover and Dispenser:

These usually come together. When you dispense the CO2 into your tire, the CO2 is extremely cold and can burn your skin. The cartridge itself must be covered or you will burn your hand just holding it. Before attaching the dispenser to the cartridge, be sure to have the cartridge cover installed and the dispenser closed. When dispensing the CO2 into the tire, double check that you have a good seal on the tire value before opening the dispenser.

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As I said in the introduction, most repairs will be done at home. However, minor repairs may need to happen on the side of the road. Your brake line might lock up. Your shifter cable might come loose. Even your saddle might get jarred loose and need to be tightened. I keep a multi-tool that has a flathead, a phillipshead, and all of the allen keys needed for my bike. This wa,y if I need to make a quick fix to get me home, I have all the tools needed in one handy device. 

Start Packing Your Saddle Bag Essentials

With a few years of road cycling under my belt, this list of saddle bag essentials covers everything that I need. You will always run into fluke issues, but you don’t need to be prepared for every single thing that comes up. Some people I ride with bring extra tires or additional tubes and CO2 Cartridges, but more times than not they will be unnecessary. 

Pro Tip For Your Saddle Bag

If you are considering bringing an extra tire along, try keeping a dollar bill in your saddle bag instead. If you get a tear or hole in your tire, the dollar bill can be used to line the inside of your tire until you get home to replace it.

Let me know if there are essentials that you believe are missing from my list! Also, check out my post from Winter 2021 on Winter Cycling Essentials. I look forward to seeing you out there on the road. 

Follow us for more road cycling and triathlon race tips!

Thanks for reading. – KiteBikeVan

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