Contact your local bike shop and clear their shelves

These are all items that stop you from being able to ride when you don’t have any of them left. These are the key workers of your mountain bike.

>>> MBR and COVID-19: a word from the editor

They are all items that are either designed to wear out (eg brake pads) or are items that break with sufficient frequency as to make it wise to have spares.

best tyre sealant

Tyre sealant

I admit that I change tyres more than anyone else I know but still… Tyre sealant is the new spare inner tubes. Even when we’re not living in such Covid-constricted times, it makes lots of sense to buy sealant in bulk. It feels deeply dull buying a big tub of sealant (there’s no retail therapy highs here) but you’ll thank yourself in the future, numerous times.

White Lightning Wet Ride Synthetic lubricant

Chain lube

Don’t let it get to the point where you’re using olive oil. Or, God forbid, 3-in-1 oil from the shed. Keep your chain clean as possible and lubed up in between rides.


Technically, you can still ride without gloves. I do ride without gloves occasionally. But for the time being it’s wise to have any bit of protection on as is feasible. It would suck having to go to hospital because of an infection from a palm cut.

Five Tens

As great as they are, Five Tens don’t last forever. Even if the uppers are surviving, chances are the soles of your Five Tens will end up unworkably ‘eaten’ by your pedal pins to the point where there’s no traction left ‘tween shoe and pedal. A spare pair of Five Tens is undeniably handy for having around while you wait for your other pair to dry out from the last ride!

Brake pads

If in doubt, buy semi-metallic (or semi-sintered). If you’re a good person who is well-organised, and you know how to bed in pads properly etc, go for resin pads and sintered pads and use accordingly. Or just bulk order semi-metallic and get on with your life.

schwalbe magic mary

Favourite tyre

It’s times like these that make you re-evaluate the important things in life. For me, this involved the emotional pain of admitting that my favourite tyre is not made by Maxxis. My new favourite can-do-everything-well tyre is the Schwalbe Magic Mary. There will never be an occasion where having an orange Addix Mary on the front and/or rear of a bike won’t perform well.

Who ever does this?


Maybe I’m just lucky, but since the era of 1x I don’t seem to buy chains half a frequently as I used to. But I am still aware that without a functioning chain my bike is essentially a hobby horse. Though I am no weight-weenie, I do always try to buy fairly decent chains because they are shockingly lighter than bog standard chains.

SunRace MX80


And because I am a member of the 99% of mountain bikers who never check their chain for wear until it’s far too late (even though I own at least two different chain checker tools), I’ll also need to get a new cassette to go with the new chain. At which point I’ll think to myself, “I’ll defo keep checking it for wear this time”, knowing full well that I won’t. I buy SunRace cassettes these days because SRAMano ones are simply too expensive, even if they may work slightly better.

Gear cable

I can hardly be bothered to write this paragraph because it is such a boring item. Maybe I can jazz this up by mentioning that chances are your dropper post also may require a gear cable, as well as your rear mech. No, it is still pretty freaking boring isnt it? At least gear cable is cheap.


Flat pedals that is. Flat pedals have a hard life. They get pumelled into rocks, tree stumps, the ground in general. Flat pedals lose pins. They get bent axles. They even get bent bodies if struck in a certain way. Thankfully, a spare set of decent flat pedals is cheaper than ever. Whether you go for premium plastics, or no-nonsense alloys, there’s no real reason to spend over £40 a pair of flatties.

Our position on cycling during coronavirus crisis

  • The government has advised on the importance of exercise, and the options are limited while taking into account the need to reduce social contact. Therefore cycling is a good way for people to stay healthy at this stage of the crisis.
  • The stress of the current situation and the demands of social distancing will put additional strain on individuals’ mental well-being, and cycling is known to be beneficial in this regard.
  • Cyclists should adhere to the guidelines in place, including respecting social distancing and avoiding cafes/restaurants. Therefore they should be self-sufficient in terms of food, drink and tools to fix common roadside problems. They should also carry tissues, and dispose of them properly after their ride.
  • Cycling is not inherently dangerous, but riders should still be especially careful on the roads. This isn’t the time to try to set KOMs on descents – ride sensibly for fitness and happiness, not for white-knuckle thrills.
  • The above only covers the general populace who are being asked to limit social contact. Anyone who needs to self-isolate – for example if they or someone they live with is showing symptoms – should not be cycling.