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Mechanical Failure on the Road - What do you do?


Maximum Pace
Oct 7, 2011
This is sort of off the back of Tamir's recent thread, but also a general question having had a broken spoke cut a ride short a couple months ago. Fortunately that was in the middle of tokyo so finding a bike shop was pretty easy/transportation home easy.

So for things going wrong with the bike, is it good practice to always carry a bag with you, such that you can either take a train (or hopefully be able to get a ride/take a taxi to some station)? Any other recovery options? I don't suppose roadside assistance for vehicles/motorcycles applies to bicycles.... ?


Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
Well first thing I recomend is have a portable tool kit that you take everywhere. I went to the 100 yen store and bought a fabric case that is just small enough to fit in a standard jersey pocket in it I have the following:

  • Puncture repair Kit including- patches, sand paper, glue,tire boot, valve extender x 2, Y1000 note (this is for emergeny or to act as a large tire boot), spare chain links
  • Mini Pump
  • Gas Pump
  • 2x Gas cylinders
  • 2x tire levers
  • Multi Tool
  • Mini Chain breaker
  • 2x spare innertube
  • Specailist spoke took for which ever wheels I am riding.
  • Standard spoke wrench 4 sizes key.
  • Survival Sheet
  • Miniture 1st aid kit

The whole lot weighs in at 700g I could get it much lighter if I spent a lot more on the tools but its perfect for what I use it for

It all fits in this zip up case which then takes up one pocket, doesn't rattle and doesn't feel uncomfortable. Also means you don't need to use unsightly saddle bags or strap things to your frame.

Also having it in the bag means I can just grab it and throw it in the bootom of another bag if I need to commute or go somewhere. A lot of the members I have ridden with here have been thankful that I had pretty much everything for road side repairs.

In regards to loosing a spoke I've ridden wheels that have lost as many as 3 spokes before in one ride and each time I just trued the wheel until I could get home.

In regards to bike bags/Rinko/Parachutes yep these are always a good thing to have especailly if you ride your pride and joy for commutes.

A new product has just hit the market and is made from the same materials as parachutes and paragliders. Its ultra strong and light which means it packs right down into a wallet sized bag and worth the money if size and weight is an important factor:



Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
Nice! I'm a bit of opposite when it comes to packing tools, etc..

I also use a little bag - one of those zipper foam things you get at 100y store. A tubular, valve extender, minipump and tube of Stans will just fit. I also have a small spoke wrench (alloy) in there. I typically don't ride clinchers - so the tubular tire will work for any case where the tire is so destroyed that some Stan's wont fix it. And I can get a buddy on the road faster, too - cause a tubular will fit on any clincher rim and get you home.

* Band Aids
* Aspirin and/or NSAID
* 10,000yen Note
* ID card so if I'm crashed out someone could contact my family
* MiniPump
* Spoke Wrench
* Tubular (Conti Giro)
* Stans or Tufo
* Paperclip


Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
Thanks James...I've got all types of rinkos but couldn't resist another one like this Flemish Lion :D! Just placed my order

I thought you might like that one Tom and you are the 1st person I thought of when I saw it.

Credit card!

Can't fix anything on the bike, but can pay someone else to do it for you.... I like your style!


Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
I got caught in the middle of mountains on a solo ride (near the top of Arima-toge) once, with a flat rear tire without any means to fix it (2 flats in a row, no spare tube, no patches). Had to switch between walking/riding on a flat tire (bare rim basically) for ~10km to reach the closest village in Chichibu. I took a local train to central Chichibu from there, going at 30 min intervals.

As long as you know where you are, it's not a huge problem to get back to civilization in Japan, especially if you do road biking and stay on the roads most of the time. Although, I imagine it can be pretty depressing to walk for 10-15km at night in the rain, if you're unlucky.


Speeding Up
Jun 9, 2011
here's what i always carry with me either commuting or on long rides. it takes up most, not all, of one jersey pocket. I throw it in a bag when commuting.

1x pair latex gloves
1x tube
2x gas canisters
1x gas adapter
2x tire levers
1x 4mm hex wrench
1x 5mm hex wrench
1x Paragon 15mm Ti wrench/bottle opener

on long rides i also carry a first aid kit with band-aids, disinfectant, large gauze pads, tape, scissors and some other things. It take up about half a jersey pocket. I haven't had to use it yet but after having seen mike go down on my first ride with TCC folks i figured i wouldn't want to need to ride 20km+ to a hospital without properly patching myself up first.

i don't carry a bike bag for emergencies. when commuting i've always got a lock, so if my bike were ever to be rendered unridable i'd lock it up and go back for it rather than try to take it home on the train.


Maximum Pace
Jan 14, 2007
I cut an inner tube the length of my tire levers and keep them in that. Then can use the inner tube as a tire hole buffer.


Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
I know a guy ...

... who always rides with two 70 liter garbage-bags, and a couple of bulldog clips in the saddle bag.
The whole package takes up less space than a spare tube, and weighs less too.



Maximum Pace
Mar 4, 2008
Just the cell phone.

Jeeves the butler is just a call away to come and fetch me in the Bentley!:cool:

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
Pandani bike bags

Saw them in Nalsima a couple of weeks ago. Some nice designs there. Pimp My Rinko.

Here's a link to their online store


At ¥6,800 the price is comparable with the Mont Bell bag I use now. I like that the Pandani is colorful, has a separate bag for the front wheel, and has an elasticated hem. The drawstring on the Mont Bell is fiddly.

I don't like that the Pandani has no straps to tie everything together and to hook over my shoulder. I like to have my hands free for keitai/camera/general mischief. When I was a toddler I carried my teddy bear around in a bucket on the crook of my elbow so I could have my hands free.

Jury is out. I'll wait until I see one in action. I have more bike bags than bikes so there's no rush.


Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
Pandani bike bags
(...) I don't like that the Pandani has no straps to tie everything together and to hook over my shoulder. I like to have my hands free for keitai/camera/general mischief.

Mine is an Ostrich Chibirin bag, which includes a 20 mm wide strap to attach to the frame at two points to carry the load on my shoulder.

I almost always ride with my bright orange backpack, which holds keys, camera, wallet, 4mm Allen key, extra water bottle (depending on weather/distance), a light jacket (if it might get cool or drizzzle), the lock and the bike bag. The Bike Friday comes with a 5/6 mm Allen key attached to the bottle holder.

I have not got myself a small pump or CO2 cans or a puncture set yet, though I own a spare tube which I have always left at home. So far my plan B has been to either lock up the bike and come back with the Prius to pick it up or to take it on the train/bus in the bike bag. I may revise that plan after the first puncture ;) (it's been a while)


Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
I carry a small under-seat bag on each bike, it includes:

Spare Tube
Patch kit
tool set, one of those all in one deals
small chain break
Chain links and a missing link
spoke wrench
small knife
500 yen coin
an 18" length of the aluminum tape
small bit of duct tape wrapped up on itself
six 6" long zip ties
a pair or rubber gloves
small rag
small adjustable wrench.
and a pump on the bike frame

Sounds like a lot but it all fits into a bag that is smaller than a 500ml can of beer than hangs from the bottom of my saddle.

The funny thing is, I cannot remember the last time I had a chain problem, used to be I'd brake them all the time, but that was more mountain biking I guess. Now that I keep my bikes in decent shape, clean and lubed, I really doubt I'll ever have a chain problem. Of course if I now remove said chain links and chain break from the kit, I'll bust a chain next time out for sure :rolleyes:

How often do you guys have problems with your chains?
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