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Calvin's Corner


Spring time is here, so it time to ride, and fix some bikes while you are at it. This article will be addressed to those who provide support at riding events. This may be for charity rides, century rides, large group rides, or really big family rides.

Here at Park Tool, we have provided on-the-bike support for the local Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride, an early season ride with several thousand riders. We have developed a support rig so we can ride and help people. Granted, we cannot speed ahead at 50 mph if we get an emergency call on the cell phone, nor can we haul away some bike that is unfixable. However, pulling up on a bike to help another biker is a great feeling, and it is greatly appreciated by the ailing machine, I am sure.

We began by a getting trailers. In our case we used a "BOB" trailer (Figure 1). Keep the fender on, it will keep you and your supplies drier in the inevitable rain. We use a large plastic box, which just happens to be the PK-63 box. Don't forget your business or club signage. We used plastic-board with a large sticker. It should be securely bolted to the frame.

Figure 1. An empty BOB and an empty box.

The bottom of the BOB is expanded wire, and the box is drilled to bolt down (Figure 2). Use large fender washers ("B") to distribute the load. We also tape in the cell phone numbers of the rider support staff and organizers ("A"). If you are doing all this work and helping out people, don't forget your business cards and, of course, some stickers ("C").

Figure 2. Bolt the box down to the frame.

I would recommend you mount a floor pump directly to the trailer. Some people have tried to carry a pump on the side, but having it firmly mounted makes it much easier to use. Another bonus is that nothing visually screams "SERVICE HERE" like a floor pump. The feet of the PFP-4 fit under the box as it is bolted down. Another bolt can go in front to keep it snug. Use a piece of shaped foam and zip ties to secure it to the box (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Mount the pump to the trailer.

Tool selection is very important, and you will likely develop your own kit and organization. Keep in mind that if you have the tool, you can do the repair, and that is why you are out there. Sound like a tool guy? Maybe so, but even I know there are limits. Missing in the kit is a bottom bracket BBT-22 and a crank puller. However, I am not joking about the PAW-12 adjustable wrench. It has been useful every event.

The kit in figure 3 contains:

  • TL-2 tire levers
  • CN-10 cable cutter
  • CCW-5 crank wrench (8mm hex & 14mm socket)
  • CT-6 chain tool
  • AWS-10 hex set
  • HR-8 hex wrench for cranks
  • SW-7 spoke wrench
  • PAW-12 adjustable wrench
  • Open end wrenches, 8, 9, 10mm
  • GP-2 and VP-1 patch kits
  • TB-2 tire boots
  • CL-1 chain lube
  • Zip ties
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Spare chain with master links
  • Spare brake and gear cables
  • Tape
  • Shop rags
  • Marking Pen

Figure 3. Be ready to fix what you can.

Now for the tubes and tires. We try to carry only presta tubes, with the longest valve available. When we find a Schrader valve being used, we throw a grommet in the rim and use the presta tube (Figure 4). It is just a huge headache (as well as leg-ache) to try and carrying both presta and Schrader valve options in all the size you may need.

Figure 4. A grommet is used on the presta for the larger Schrader rim holes.

There is a wide possibility of tubes on any given ride, so consider your event. Is it primarily road bikes, with lots of carbon and lycra? Go heavy on the 700c x 18-23 tubes. The huge rides with a wide variety of bikes are the most trouble. We will carry several tubes each of: 700 x 18-23, 700 x 28-32, 700 x 35-43, 26" x 1-1.24, 26" x 1.5-1.75, 26" x 1.9-21.15, 24" x 1.9-2.125, 20" x 1.5-1.75, and 16" x 1.5. For tires, we carry one each of 700 x 25 and 26 x 1.5. (Figure 5).

Figure 5. A loaded box ready to go. A bag is taped to the side to hold grommets ( "A").

You will note there is a good bit of room in the box. DON'T FILL IT, yet. You will need it during the ride, at least for your own clothing and some food.

Hitch up this rig and go out and practice, especially if you've never pulled one. Expect to use use a gear or two lower, depending upon your engine.

Dan Garceau, Walter Huemmer, and Calvin Jones ready to rumble.