New Crew Stocking Stuffer of the Day: TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Posted by Chip Hemmel on 11 December 2017

Cloudy and mild (31 - mild in my book) this morning. Sandy and I enjoyed a quiet shuffle along streets accented in snow; listening to water run through the ravine; watching the bunnies cavort; snuffing and following deer tracks and the tracks of pedestrians that have passed in the night as the village slept "...dreaming sweet dreams without care...."

Good morning everyone.

TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT FOR THE NEWEST OF NEW CREW MEMBERS! Our annual Orientation Session take place at NCMEC (934 York St., Utica) at 6PM. Hope to see you there!

Meanwhile; our Stocking Stuffers for "Syclists" Selections of the day are the ever handy combo of saddle bag; multi-tool; tire levers and a spare tube. And the ever mentioned "Means to inflate it."

Before taking your ride on the road we always recommend you invest in a saddle bag (I like Topeak's Aero Wedge and Timbuk2's cleverly named "Bicycle Seat pack.") and fill it with a few essentials.

You don't have to drop a ton of cash for a handy multi-tool. I like Park's IB-3 or any of the I-Beam style tools. The nice thing about the IB-3 is it includes a tire lever; chain tool and spoke for about $25. This will cure a world of woes on a lonesome stretch of highway. 

Topeak and Crank Brothers also have some nice, compact sets with similar features. Any of the three brands will take care of business and provide great value for a small investment.

If your tools doesn't include tire levers; buy a set. I like Park or Pedro's for abut $5.00, or less.

A spare tube. See what the shop has but I always buy Specialized or Bontrager tubes...mostly because they're almost always the ones available. Expect to pay about $5 to $8 for a tube. Get a couple and place one in your saddle bag...after first dusting the inside of an old sock with some talcum powder and slipping the tube inside. (Trust me on this one.)

Place the tool, levers and tube in your bag and you're almost ready for any minor issue.

Which brings us to the "means to inflate it" part of the program. Most of our riders carry a couple CO2 cartridges to facilitate quick on the road inflation. (Cartridge and head about $20 - various brands) I, of course, am a contrarian and use this amazing device called a frame pump.

Frame pumps are back in vogue and the Zefal HPX will fit tightly under your top tube and fill many tire for years to old Zefal is still going strong at 35 years of age. Yes it takes a few minutes and a bit of effort but you'll never have to worry about running out of gas...unless you get pooped while inflating...and you won't have to mess with those little cartridges; drain and re-fill your tires with air later or any of the other housekeeping items that come with CO2. PLUS; you'll get a little workout while you re-inflate. Topeak also make a nice frame pump and there are oodles of mini-pumps out there. Just have some quality inflator with you. Most options will cost less than $35 and the crew at the bike shop will help you sort it out.

Oh, if you opt for the frame pump you may want a bigger stocking....

The bag, tool, levers, tube and inflator - either type - will run about $100. Finding any of these helpful items in your sock will bring a smile to your face and that of any RFMC Shepherd who may come along to help you along the way...

More snow and WIND in the forecast; bundle up and enjoy your Monday!


Drifting snow. North
wind out of Broad

Pass; does it dream
of being bedrock,

a rooted tree?
It stutters

in the pipe above
our woodstove

lifting the flame
almost becoming fire.

- Tom Sexton