Heading off into the sunset on your trusty bike sounds great, however the reality used to be far less attractive than the dream. With bike tyres lacking the robustness and durability of contemporary materials, often a puncture would put paid to any long term travel plans, or the compulsory in-case-of-emergencies dime for the phonebooth fell out of your pocket miles ago.
But all that has changed and now setting off on a cycling adventure is safer, far easier and, in our opinion, much more pleasurable than before.
So, what new marvels can be added to your backpack?
Well, first, let’s have a look at that backpack. With commuters, students and travelers in mind, manufacturers have started producing fantastically useful smart backpacks. These high tech gadgets allow quick and efficient device charging on the move, usually include secure built-in locks and are decently weather proofed, ready for a city cycling break or a trip into the wilderness.
Puncture repair kits are crucial items to include in your gear, and taking up very little room, there’s no excuse not to carry one or maybe two. Inside the tiny tin you’ll find a small piece of chalk, sandpaper, several patches, and a tube of glue.
- First find your puncture by removing the wheel and deflating the tyre. Carefully pull out the inner tube and listen very carefully to find the ‘hiss’ of escaping air. Using the chalk, mark the area.
- Provide a keyed surface by roughing the inner tyre with the sandpaper.
- Rub the glue over the rough area and leave to dry for a minute or two.
- Apply the rubber patch to the area and hold it firmly for a few minutes.
- Carefully replace the inner tube on the wheel and put it all back together again.
It’s a good idea, too, to carry a spare inner tube. Taking up minimal room, this means every eventuality is covered, without any hassle.
Once you’ve repaired any punctures, another small but infinitely useful gadget is a tyre inflator. Allowing you to inflate your tyre to the desired PSI, there are two types available – battery and hand pump. Both are easy to use, require minimal effort, and fit neatly into a backpack. Most pumps include a range of valves to ensure you can achieve the best fit.
Phone mounts are durable plastic brackets that attach to your bike handlebars or cross piece, allowing you easy access to your phone. Offering weather protection, whilst providing visibility, most can carry your phone either portrait or landscape. Mount are also available for GPS devices.
Bike locks, too, haven’t escaped the high tech approach, with manufacturers moving on from chains and combination locks, and incorporating smart technology into their designs. Apps can link your bike to your phone, instantly alerting you to any nefarious activity, inform would-be thieves that the bike will be tracked if stolen, or emit high screeches designed to scare off any crooks.
The number of cool bike related gadgets grows daily, making any cycling trip much more fun. So whether you’re a casual rider just exploring the area, a daily commuter beating the rush hour traffic, or you’re planning a two-wheeled adventure vacation, there’s something to make your bike life easier.