When you’ve got to transport everything you bring under your own steam, then small is most definitely beautiful. The words ‘light’, ‘featherweight’ and ‘packable’ also become terms you grow to love.
Whether you are out for a quick spin and want to keep things minimalist, or a longer ride and want to reduce the amount of things you need to think about, having things that fit neatly in your pockets is the way to go.
We’ve got a selection of cycling essentials that are small enough to stow in your back pockets, short pockets, side pockets – wherever you fancy. You’ll have the ride essentials with you in a light, handy format.
Cycling essential item numero uno. Whether you need to adjust your saddle, tighten a bolt, or sort your chain out, a good multi-tool will be your friend in a time of need. Think of it as the Swiss army knife of the cycling world.
There’re lots of different options here, with various attachments like allen keys, screwdrivers, chain tools and wrenches. Pick one that suits the various nuts and bolts on your bike, and one that sits fairly flat in your pocket.
They can be a little weighty – particularly if you go for one with all the bells and whistles. If you’re going to stow in the back pockets of your jersey, you might want to pop it in the middle pocket or balance it out with items on the other side so it doesn’t pull your jersey round.
Not just 16 tools, this little beauty comes with a chain tool AND tyres levers.
This multi tool has pretty much the works – allen keys, screwdrivers, chain tools, plus an attachment for removing disc brake rotor bolts and campag brake blocks.
Another sleek offering from Lezyne, who seem to be able to make something that’s entirely functional look pretty cool. This tool comes with a neoprene cover that stops the tools opening out in your pocket and punching holes in your precious jersey.
[part title="Pumps and CO2 Canisters"]
The second item in the trio of Essential Bike Kit to carry very time you go riding. If you get a flat, it’s no good having patches or spare inner tubes if you can’t inflate the tyre again.
Luckily, there are a great range of teeny tiny mini-pumps that are still very effective. It’ll take you a lot longer to get the pressure up than using a track pump, but they are obviously a lot more convenient for carrying around.
CO2 canisters are another option. They inflate the tyre quickly using pressurised carbon dioxide gas.
Sleek, silver and with space-age looks, the Air Support has a flexible hose which means you don’t need to hold the head of the pump still and can safely give it a bit more welly when you’re pumping.
Small but perfectly formed, and a bit of a bargain price to boot! This pump has dual chambers, so it’ll deliver more air per pump than most.
Like the speed of CO2 cartridges, but the back up of having a pump? This nifty pump from cycling giant Specialized combines the two.
Lightweight design and a nozzle that will fit both Presta and Schrader inner tube valves – just take an extra canister with you and you’re sorted!
[part title="Puncture Repair"]
Another essential item – or rather items – are the bits and pieces you need to get your bike up and running again if your inner tube springs a leak.
These kits are ideal if you’re travelling light and you don’t want to fit a spare inner tube in your saddlebag or pocket. They’ve got everything you need to get back on the road, in a handy package that will fit easily in your pocket, and won’t snag or catch on anything.
Patches? Check. Tyres levers? Check. Colourful smooth aluminium case? Check. This kit certainly comes tops for looks and style, as the levers themselves form the sides of the case. Smart!
In addition to patches and levers, this teeny kit also includes some hand wipes so you can de-grease your hands after you’ve finished!
Apart from an amusing name, this little packet of usefulness also includes patches, a tyre boot and a 10-speed chain connector and pin in case you have chain issues when your riding.
[part title="Waterproof Jackets"]
It might start off gloriously sunny, but we all know just how changeable the weather can be. Having a waterproof jacket with you is generally a good strategy so you’re prepared if the heavens open. A packable jacket will fold to tiny dimensions and sit in a pocket with ease.
They’re ideal as another layer of insulation if you need to stop for any length of time, when you’re not generating heat through exertion. The wind proofing effect of waterproofs will also help keep you toasty during long descents on your mountain bike, or if the wind picks up out on the road.
Light, breathable, with a performance fit, this will keep the elements of your back. The reflective elements will also keep you visible in the winter gloom.
More information: Altura
Available from: Wiggle and local bike shops
Endura Photon Packable Jacket
A slim cut with a good waterproof rating; the Photon is another option for emergency deployment in case of rain. It’s also got a rear pocket, so have even more storage for bits and pieces.
More information: Endura
Available from: Chain Reaction Cycles and local bike shops