Gear maintenance - making do not buying new.


Wax zips using candle wax so they slide easily and wear more slowly.

If a zip breaks, it can often be mended using a screw driver and a stone to close the mouth of the zip in a little. The narrower passage pushes the teeth together better. Put zip on a solid surface, place screw driver tip over one side. Use the stone as a hammer to bash on driver. Repeat for other side of zip. Thanks to the dress makers of the Ufaly, Ural mountains for showing me this.

Holes in waterproof panniers

These can be mended by putting an inner tube patch on the outside of the pannier. Procedure as normal for a puncture repair. Use a big patch. These stay on better than gaffa tape.

Worn chain rings and sprockets

After 11,000 fairly hilly, but mostly on road kilometers and two changes of chain my front middle chain ring teeth were slightly hooked. (I am around 9 stone, with 20 kg of luggage.) The chain did not come away from the ring and snarled up. I filed off the hooks which did not take too long as the rings are aluminium to solve the problem. See main maintenance page for details of lifetimes of sprockets.

Knife sharpening

I use a 5 inch long needle file which is thinner than a pen. It is also useful for filing out holes and filing off worn chain ring teeth.

Doing up and undoing bits of bike tightly

Alien multi-tools are very useful, but neither Mark nor I have the strength for undoing pedals using such a small lever. Mark thought of using the seat tube to extend the Allen key and small adjustable spanner. Pop the tube over the spanner and you have an instant long spanner. This has not misshapen the seat tube yet!

Open fire modification of Trangia pans

These need to have handles fitted to hang them over the fire. Drill 4 holes on the rim of the pans. Use fine wire to make two loops, one on each side for the handle. Make handle by looping wire round the loops so it can slide to lie flat without bending the wire.

A bit of chain with large links (3 cm ) and a hook fashioned from wire on each end is good for making an adjustable height pan hanger.