Laura and I are getting ready for a middle length tour next week in Paso Robles for the Great Western Bike Rally. Just before leaving for a trip, I always start compulsively looking at Crazy Guy on a Bike, a website that is a collection of bicycle touring diaries.

I found a particularly interesting entry by Pete Jones, about different mechanical failures he has had on tour and how he as fixed them. Check out his post here.

The short of it is – always carry zip-ties, hose clamps and duct tape.

With these simple tools he was able to temporarily mend a broken rack strut, a sheared off rack bolt and Ortlieb mounting hardware. He also has had crank bolts sheer off, pedals and cranks stripped out and managed to get by with what he found at local hardware stores. Pretty amazing and good to take mental notes of.

This need for a MacGyver-like ability to troubleshoot on the fly is one of the things I really enjoy about touring. When you’re on a bike, you have limitations. But instead of a woe-is-me sort of attitude, you have to accept your limitations and improvise and get creative.