First, assume when planning your bicycle touring you will get a flat and repairs will be required along the road. While bicycle touring in Europe and North America my cycling colleagues and I have had our fair share of flat tires over the years. You should always carry two spare tubes, a pump and a set of basic tools so you can get on your way quickly. The lightweight high pressure pumps today are fantastic.
I looked at the packing lists for many who bicycle tour and they include everything from spare tires to extra spooks. Unless you will be cycling in a remote area this is totally unnecessary and just adds extra weight. In every situation I have encountered requiring major bike repairs there was a bike shop handy.
Once while bicycle touring in hilly Tuscany one of the other cyclists had problems with their derailleur. No problem, the bike was placed on a local bus back to the town where we were staying and the local shop was able to handle the problem.
When I was cycling the Romantic Road Bike Route in Germany I broke two spokes after hitting a curb too hard. It happened in a small town with no bike shop, or so I thought. In bike crazy Europe there are always bike shops I discovered. A local resident pointed out a house with a large garage attached and they fix my bike quickly including driving to a nearby town for some spare parts.
In the Cotswold’s area of England I also had an issue with my derailleur. A walker out with their dog when by and then picked me up in their pickup truck and drove me to our nearby B & B, returning the next day to take me to the bike shop in Burton-on-the Water. The delay did cause us to revise our itinerary but we were able to carry on.
Even on a short training ride carry a pump and tools. On a popular local bike route two guys with very expensive bikes yelled out for help spotting my pump mounted on my bike, they did not have one. They mentioned a large number of recreational cyclists had gone by but none had a pump, unbelievable. I pulled out my Topeak Road Morph mini pump and within minutes they were ready to go. I love this inexpensive pump which has a small gauge to check tire pressure.
The bottom line when bicycle touring is assume repairs will be required along the road, carry basic tools only and be creative when something major happens. It is all part of the bicycle touring experience.
For more information on easy bicycle touring planning click the link.
As I mentioned above you need to carry enough essential items as it is so keep your load light and only carry a bike tube, pump and basic tools. Do not get too concerned about bicycle touring repairs during your journey as you may need to revise your itinerary a bit but you can always get your bike repaired.