Because they are low cost and easy to use, cable ties have a huge range of uses – and they aren’t all related to cables.
The small plastic fasteners are an essential part of your on-the-go repair kit. Whether you are mountain biking, bike packing or road racing – a good store of cable ties can help you keep on riding, even if something goes wrong.
They are perfect for a whole range of ‘quick fixes,’ which - while not always a perfect solution - will help you keep riding until you can get home or to a bicycle repair shop to look for a more permanent solution.
Here are just eight of the ways that cable ties can prevent you having a long and lonely walk back to your car.
Fix a punctured tyre
Inner tube popped halfway through your ride? Don’t have a replacement? You can tighten two cable ties around either side of the punctured area to seal that section off.
Obviously, this isn’t an ideal solution, but it should allow you to continue your ride – at least in the short-term.
If it's your whole tyre that fails, then you can wrap cable ties around the circumference of the wheel to help protect the rim while you ride.
Wrapping cable ties around the whole wheel can also give you get more grip if you get stuck on an icy or slippery trail.
Repair a broken saddle
Your saddle is essential for a comfortable ride. If your saddle comes loose halfway through a ride, then cable ties can be used to fasten it in place.
If the entire saddle falls or snaps off, you can replace it with a piece of downed branch and fasten this in place with a whole bunch of cable ties – but at least you will get home without having to stand up the whole way.
Re-attach your brakes
Cable ties can also be used to re-fasten your brakes if they snap off during a ride. When you are hitting those high speeds, you want to be sure that you have a brake there to slow you down.
Make sure that you re-attach the brakes in the right place and use several cable ties to hold it down. If it comes off at the wrong time, you could get yourself in a tricky spot.
Replace a lost chain ring bolt
Chain ring bolts are small pins that connect the links of your bike chain together. If one of these comes loose or mysteriously disappears, you can use a plastic cable tie to reattach the links temporarily until you find a more permanent solution.
Mount bike lights, GoPros and anything else
Cable ties can be used to fasten all sorts of accessories to your bike to help you improve your cycling experience. This could be essentials like reflectors and bike lights as well as cool devices like a GoPro action camera.
If you don’t want to take a bag out on your ride, cable ties can even be used to carry other things like a spare inner tube, clothing or, more cable ties.
Fix your cycling shoes
Cycling shoes can come in for a lot of punishment, especially if you are mountain biking on tricky trails and rough terrain. If the laces snap off or buckle from your cycling shoes, you can use cable ties to re-thread the holes of your shoes.
If you are using road cycling shoes that start to disintegrate, you can repair these by wrapping cable ties all the way around the shoe and if the cleats fail, you may be able to fasten a loop to keep your feet in place on the pedals. Just make sure you don’t fasten it too tight so that you can withdraw your feet if you need to.
Cable ties can work for other cycling clothes too. If your shorts or t-shirt rip, for example, you can use several cable ties as stitching to cover the gap.
Lock your bike temporarily
Don’t want to carry a great big bike lock around with you? Who would right?
If you are just running into a shop or a pub and you don’t want to leave your expensive two-wheeler completely unguarded then you can use a cable tie as a kind of temporary bike lock.
Cable ties aren’t very difficult to brake if you have the right tools, so this method probably wouldn’t deter any kind of hardened criminal. But it might stop someone an opportunist from picking up your bike and riding away.
Organise your brake cables
Organising cables is the job that cable ties were made for, so it will be no surprise to lean that the fasteners can be used to organise your brake cables.
This could be a number of things. It could mean attaching the cable to the frame of the bike if it comes loose or it could be arranging the wires at the front of the bike so they don’t get all tangled up when you are riding.
If you are arranging the wires at the front of your bike, you need to make sure the cables won’t get in your way when you are turning the handlebars.