Serious cyclists can be stubborn and rarely want to drive to a ride. But, eventually, most will want a challenge beyond what’s right outside their door. When that’s you, you’ll need to be prepared. To help, we’ve compiled a list of essential road-cycling gear to keep in your vehicle.
Few things halt a bike trip faster than a chain issue, so carrying a tool for on-the-spot repairs is vital. In the same way it’s important for mountain bikers to keep a multitool or tire repair kit on hand, road cyclists should be prepared for the inevitable chain repair.
Look for a tool that lets you remove and connect links and is compatible with a variety of derailleur chains. Most should be small enough to toss in your cycling pack.
Our recommendation: Pro Bike Tool 2-in-1 ($15)
Why we picked it: This small, specific tool splits and reconnects master links, costs less than $20 and is compact enough to stow in your kit. We recommend packing along a few spare links as well.
A pump isn’t just for swapping out a new tire or fixing a patch. It’s also useful to make sure your tires are properly inflated before you ride. Tires leak air over time, so using a pump with a gauge allows you to quickly restore them to the proper inflation pressure.
Look for a bike pump that’s compatible with Presta, Dunlop and Schrader valve types and features a built-in gauge. Barrel, handle and base construction are also important since the pump will likely take a beating in your vehicle.
Our recommendation: Lezyne Steel Floor Drive Bicycle Pump ($60)
Why we picked it: The pump is designed for durability with a wooden handle, steel barrel and aluminum base. Its built-in gauge allows for precise air fill, and its compatible with all valve types.
A comprehensive tool kit helps you create a mobile workspace on the road. Small multitools are great for on-the-go fixes, but a kit comprising several sizes of screwdrivers, hex tools, wrenches and pliers is more useful.
Keep in mind your bike’s component types when shopping. Some tools are compatible with only one type of tire valve or bolt size. You’ll want to store the tools in a case that’s easy to carry, compact enough to stow and durable.
Our recommendation: Feedback Sports Team Edition Tool Kit ($225)
Why we picked it: The Team Edition Tool Kit has 19 tools capable of serving 25 functions. This includes a three-way Torx screwdriver, Philips and flathead screwdrivers, a variety of hex tools and valve core tools for Presta and Schrader valves. It also comes with a cable crimper, cable cutter, cassette pliers and cycling wrenches.
Using a rack to transport your road bike helps free interior vehicle space and keeps the bike secure regardless of the commute. Your rack will depend on your vehicle, the type of bike you ride and personal preference.
Roof racks or tray systems may be harder to access on taller vans, while a hatch-mounted rack isn’t viable for trucks or SUVs. Some racks require you to remove the bike’s front wheel for use. And keep in mind the number of bikes you wish to transport.
Our recommendation: Yakima RidgeBack ($289)
Why we picked it: Yakima’s RidgeBack is a hitch-mounted system that comes in 2-, 4- or 5-bike versions. Its tilt-away style frees access to the vehicle’s trunk. And its anti-sway cradle prevents bikes from knocking into each other.
Stashing a trunk organizer in the rear of your vehicle helps arrange your cycling gear while protecting it from potential damage. The organizer should be big enough to store everything from your cycling shoes and gloves to your helmet, tools and pedals.
Look for bins with removable organizers since they allow you to size the compartments as you desire. Some even come with a latching lid or cover, making them easy to remove from your vehicle and stow in your house or garage.
Our recommendation: ($25)
Why we picked it: This organizer is manufactured specifically for larger vehicles like SUVs, trucks or crossovers. It features a collapsible design for easy stowing when empty, has a nonslip bottom and comes with custom dividers that can be placed to create three storage areas.