Whether road or mountain, all long-distance riders should carry that waterproof wonder known as duct tape. Wrap a length around your pump, seatpost or CO2 canister to solve a myriad emergencies…
Patch a tube
If you’re left a long way from home with a flat tyre and no more glue or patches, duct tape will keep enough air in your tube to get you home or at least to help. Inflate the tube a bit and then wrap the tape a few times around the holed section before refitting it to the wheel. Aim to make the wrapped section of tube about the same diameter as the tyre.
When a spoke breaks it can flap and rattle around noisily, potentially damaging you and your bike, so tape what’s left of the broken spoke to one next to it. You might need to spread the brake calliper too to stop the wheel rubbing if the rim starts warping. Other loose ends it can wrap up include broken mounts for lights, bottles, pumps and computers, and even sharp fraying cable ends.
Duct tape will also make temporary patches for torn jackets, ripped panniers, gaping shoes, deeply cut tyres and even leaky water bottles. For a hole, tear off two strips and make a cross or ‘X’ on the inside, and then another on the outside. If you need a repair to resist pulling forces, add extra strips across the join, as well as on the inside.
Duct tape can do temporary body fixes too, until a health professional can treat you properly. Slings, tourniquets, splints, supportive joint bandaging and even sutures are all possible in extreme circumstances. For easier, less painful removal, avoid taping directly to hairy skin, or an open wound. The tape is also excellent for preventing blisters on feet and hands, pulling out splinters and even removing warts, if reapplied over several weeks.
Duct tape – then nicknamed ‘duck’ tape – was invented by Johnson & Johnson in WW2 to water-proof ammunition cases, so it’s ideal to keep water out of your bike, kit and bodies too. For instance: if your jacket leaks, seal up the seams with thin strips of tape – starting with the vulnerable shoulder seams first. Similarly zips on bags and clothes often let in water, as do seatpost clamps, air vents on shoes and baggy cuffs on gloves and jackets – so simply tape them up