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Those of us who enjoy long journeys on road bikes occasionally have to deal with a difficult dilemma. We may run into a situation where one of the tubes punctures and we are left without a spare tube far away from home. The solution, of course, is to carry a spare tube. But how can you do that without getting too bulky?
The good news is that there are many options out there. Some are inexpensive, while others are a bit fancy.
7 Options for Carrying a Spare Tube on a Road Bike
You can use the following items to easily carry your spare tube when road biking:
- Electrical tape
- Jersey pockets
- Frame bag
- Straps and wraps
- Water bottle
We’ll discuss these solutions in detail, but first …
Why You Should Carry a Spare Tube
- A punctured or damaged tube may be impossible to patch or repair.
- A tube may fail during a bike ride.
- A tube that can’t hold air may lead to an accident, an injury, or bike damage.
- Having a flat tire in a remote area is frustrating and potentially dangerous.
Not-So-Great Ways To Carry a Spare Tube
Some people carry tubes in their pockets or use a thick rubber band or sturdy tape, such as black electrical tape (as noted above) or duct tape, to affix them to the bike. While these options may solve the problem, they come with their own complications. If a tube is improperly folded, it may create creases that will compromise the tire. Firm tape may fuse into the tube if it is exposed to prolonged periods of heat or sunlight, increasing the risk of the tube tearing when you remove the tape.
Sometimes people remember to bring the spare tube but forget to bring a couple of tire levers needed to install the tube.
How To Carry Your Spare Tube When Road Biking
Here are seven ways to bring a spare tube with you on your next road bike trip. Remember to bring along a couple of tire levers. You can secure them with a rubber band to keep them together.
1. Electrical Tape
The traditional method is still a possibility. Black electrical tape is a better solution than other types of tape, such as duct tape or masking tape. The biggest challenge is that using too little tape exposes the tube and levers to the elements, while too much tape makes the tube sticky in warmer climates.
2. Jersey Pockets
Many cyclists prefer to ride with jerseys because they wick body moisture better than T-shirts. The two or three jersey pockets found on the back of these shirts offer an ideal place to put your tube, along with the pump and other supplies. Just remember not to place anything else in the pocket with the tube so that it doesn’t get damaged.
Many riders prefer a saddlebag that can accommodate the spare tube, pump, levers, and other basic tools as part of their road cycling trip. The saddlebag could also carry a patch kit, as well as other items needed for the ride. Simply secure the saddlebag to the bicycle and add the necessary contents.
4. Frame Bag
Another alternative is a frame bag that rests below the seat of the road bike. Easy to install, this option should have no noticeable impact on aerodynamics for fast cyclists.
5. Straps and Wraps
A better alternative than tape, straps and wraps with elastic bands or other adhesives allows you to secure the extra tube and other necessary equipment. There are a growing number of products on the market to meet the individual needs of cyclists. Select the one that best meets the needs of the climate and terrain where the bike will be used.
The least aerodynamic option, a backpack is an item many people have available. The additional space provides plenty of room for other supplies, though it makes sense to place the spare tube in a pocket or other location of the backpack where it will not be exposed to sharp surfaces.
7. A Water Bottle
This option makes sense if there is a rack, clip, or space somewhere on the bike. A bottle for water should be able to accommodate the pump, levers, and other necessary equipment, along with the bike tube.