New triathletes are often able to find a bike they can ride, but they don't always have a lot of background knowledge in bike mechanics. That's OK, as long as you at least carry the minimum gear that will allow someone else to help you. As you are able, try to pick up some knowledge in this area. It will help your cycling performance if you understand how the gear cogs and chainrings work, and it will help your finish time if you know how to put the chain back on if it pops off during a race.
That tiny bag under your seat (saddle) can hold an amazing amount of items. You may think there's no use purchasing tools and carrying them if you don't know how to use them, but you would be incorrect. Many cyclists are happy to help others who are struggling with a flat tire, but they aren't going to give you their spare tube or air canister in case they are stranded alone with a flat later on. In other cases, a cyclist or triathlete might be in a car driving past, and stops to offer help. In that case, they will rarely have a set of tire levers or a pump in their car trunk. So it pays to be prepared, even if you don't know what you're doing. Besides, if you are really stuck but you have tools and a smartphone, you can probably find a YouTube video to show you how to accomplish your task.Here are recommended items for your toolbag:
The toolbag is also a great place for stashing an emergency $10 or $20 bill and cell phone.
When you attach your toolbag to the bike, take the time to actually read the directions. It seems simple enough, but in every race there are a handful of athletes whose toolbags are dangling beneath their seat, getting looser and looser as the straps pull themselves open during the ride. Usually the straps on a toolbag are threaded through the rails of the seat first, then pulled around the bottom of the bag and secured to themselves using velcro or a plastic buckle. This prevents them from loosening during the ride.
Editor at Beginner Triathlete, web marketing consultant at SiteInSight, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for unstructured nature play for kids.