Is it a good idea to take duct tape on a bike tour? It sure is! Duct tape is the perfect item for emergency bike repairs when you need to hold something together.
Reasons why you should bike tour with duct tape
When it comes to choosing which pieces of equipment to include in your bike touring gear setup, don't overlook one of the greatest gifts to mankind – Duct Tape!
It's a perfect item to use in an emergency when you want to hold something together. It may not look very attractive, but it will hold up well until you can replace the broken part or find someone who can fix it better than you.
You don't need to carry around a whole roll of duct tape when cycling either. You can simply cut off a few feet and wrap it around a tire lever, bike pump, or perhaps even part of the bike frame.
Uses for Duct Tape when Bike Touring
There's many ways that duct tape can come in useful on a bicycle tour. Here's some ideas of how to use duct tape on a long distance cycle trip.
Patching Inner Tubes with Duct Tape
All you need is duct tape to patch up your inner tube – it's not ideal, but it might get you out of a fix.
You can use duct tape to cover the hole and at least go down the road for a short distance. If there’s no puncture repair kit in sight, use some more tape to cover up your hole until you have time to fix it properly.
Related: Why is my bike pump not working
Fixing broken sunglasses
When you break an arm on your sunglasses, duct tape can come to the rescue. With a little ingenuity and some patience, you can fix those broken shades so they're as good as new! Definitely a good tip if you're cycling miles from anywhere in the blazing sun.
Fix a broken bike light mount with duct tape
Did you know that one of the best ways to fix a broken bike light mount is by using duct tape? It's quick and simple but most importantly, it works! It will also work with broken Go Pro mounts and water bottle cages.
Emergency rim tape
Are you cycling in an area where you seem to be getting more punctures? Is your rim causing punctures? Protect your inner tube by using two layers of duct tape, saving you from a string of flats, until you can get to a bike shop to fit proper rim tape.
Tidy up loose cables
Want to get rid of those pesky loose flapping cables on the bike? Do it with duct tape! It’s quick and easy.
Repair a broken tent pole with duct tape
Tent poles can break in a number of different ways. The most common one is when you're putting up the tent and there's too much tension on the poles. You might also find that the string snaps inside the poles.
You can use duct tape to hold broken poles in place, or you can make a temporary splint out of sticks if the pole has been snapped clean off.
This happened to be most recently when putting up my MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent when on a shakedown bike tour in preparation for a longer cycling trip around Iceland. I hadn't got a repair splint with me, so needed to wrap the silver tape around the splintered end of the pole 7 or 8 times in order to make the temporary repair.
Tape your cycling shoes together
You can use duct tape to seal any worn areas in the shoe so you don't need to worry about a hole, sole separation or mesh upper blowout. Of course, getting some good quality bike touring shoes in the first place might mean that you never have to do this!
You might have a hole in your panniers, or perhaps they're rattling a lot? Broken panniers can rattle an awful lot, secure it tightly to your bike with duct tape.
Look carefully at this photo of my fully loaded Thorn Nomad MK2 Touring bike, and you'll notice that one of the front panniers has silver duct tape on it! There's a couple of small holes in the panniers where I've been a bit careless. I don't expect the tape to keep it fully waterproof, but it does the job, and I only keep my waterproof clothes in that pannier in any case.
If you don't have a sewing kit, quick repairs to clothes can be made by taping any tears. Useful for Gortex jackets and the like! The same theory can be applied if you tent gets a hole.
Mend your saddle with duct tape
Duct tape along with string and perhaps a T-Shirt will hold a broken saddle together nicely until you can get it fixed properly or buy a new one.
For those who are planning a long-distance bike ride, you’ll be surprised to know that some of the most creative ways of packing food for your journey is by duct taping the containers closed. This way you won’t have to worry about spilling everywhere inside your panniers!
FAQ about using duct tape to temporarily fix a bicycle
A few commonly questions about using electrical or duct tape for emergency repairs include:
Can I put duct tape on my bike?
Duct tape is a fantastic temporary alternative for repairing bicycles' problems. Duct tape is water resistant (you can also purchase a waterproof variation) and is easy to carry with you on a bike. You may even get a tiny pocket-sized version of it.
Can you use tape to fix a bike tire?
If one of your tires (not inner tubes) has a gash in it or a torn sidewall, you can use duct tape on the inside of the bicycle tire to temporarily ride on. You'll still need to replace the tire as soon as you can though at a local bike shop.
Can you patch a bicycle inner tube with duct tape?
If you have an inner tube puncture, using a proper patch kit is always going to be the best way to fix it. Occasionally, you might find your rubber cement has solidified though, so you could use duct tape as a temporary measure to stick the patch on the tube.
Can you duct tape rim tape?
If you have a wide rim and can find a way to narrow the width of the tape, you could potentially use duct tape as emergency rim tape. A better option would be to use electrical tape if possible.
You might also want to check out these other bike touring tips and guides:
- How much does it cost to travel around the world on a bicycle
- Bike Touring Waterproof Clothes
- Best saddles for bike touring
- How to change the oil in a Rohloff speedhub
- Multi purpose cycling shoes
- Bicycle valve types
- Why is my Schrader valve leaking?
- Common types of bicycle problems
– Dave Briggs
Dave wrote this travel guide about using duct tape for emergency bike repairs after years spent cycling all around the world.
Follow Dave on social media for travel, adventure and bike touring inspiration: