If you’re planning a bicycle tour, you are going to want to make sure you pack some extra tubes. The question is, how many spare tubes should you bring with you?
Like many aspects of bicycle touring, the answer to this question depends on a number of different things.
On most of my long distance bicycle tours (where I was on the road for a month or more), I was carrying three spare tubes with me at any one time. When I got a flat tire, I didn’t have to bother with trying to patch the flat. Instead, I just pulled out one of my spare tubes, threw it in the tire, pumped it up, and was off and riding in just a few minutes.
On some of my shorter tours (a week or less), I’ve carried only two spare tubes with.
And when I’m simply taking a spin around town or going out for a day ride, I typically only have one spare tube on my bike.
If you read my article on how to pack your panniers, you will see that a reader named Nick wondered why I would ever carry more than one spare tube. “Isn’t it soooo much easier to patch the tube at the end of that day than carry extra spares…. it takes me less than 5 minutes to patch a tire these days, and that’s got to be worth losing the weight and space of extra spare tubes.”
I understand what Nick is saying here and I understand the importance of keeping the weight down when traveling by bike. But for me, when it comes to my tires (the things that keep me going while I’m traveling by bike) I don’t want to mess around with patch jobs; Especially when I’m out in the middle of nowhere! I’d much rather throw in a new tube and not have to worry about whether or not my patch job is going to hold. The last thing I want to be worrying about when traveling on my bicycle is whether or not my tire is going to give out at any given moment.
Like many aspects of bicycle touring, deciding how many spare tubes you bring with you on your tour is going to depend on where you are going, how long you will be out on the road, and how comfortable you are in your tube patching skills.
I’ve shared my personal preferences in regards to how many spare tubes you should carry with you on a bicycle tour, so now I’d like to open this up to the readers. How many tubes do you think you should carry on a bicycle tour? Is three spare tubes too much? Is one spare tube too few? What do you think? Use the comment box below to share your thoughts.