Ashley Zapata, a newer competitive cyclist and a founder of Stamina Racing Collective x Machines for Freedom, a team sponsored by Wolf Tooth, writes about a few of her favorite products. We are really happy to be working with this team and non-profit, and are happy to see how much they are enriching and diversifying our cycling community.
In June 2021 I will be celebrating my first year as a competitive cyclist. An aspiration years in the making, finally made real. Since co-founding Stamina Racing Collective x Machines for Freedom, my knowledge of bikes, components, and tools have grown exponentially. Literally like zero to one trillion. True, I had a vague understanding of the anatomy of my bike but what I needed to use on said anatomy… no idea.
My first road bike was sold to us by a supporter of our team. I was fortunate to be in New York, my bike’s previous home, before making the move to Minnesota. I made the arrangements to pick up the bike after purchasing a rack for my car. I show up, smiling ear to ear, ready for this epic adventure into competitive cycling when it becomes apparent that 1) I purchased the wrong rack for my car and 2) I have no tools to remove the tires to somehow, maybe, fit the bike into my small sedan. Thankfully, the person I’d met to retrieve the bike from was well equipped and gave me a quick lesson on tire removal.
Since then I’ve gathered helpful information from my teammates and community members and thought I’d share some of my must have Wolf Tooth items as a newcomer to cycling who was initially bombarded with A to Z and thankfully had support navigating what items would be essential for me.
First of all the name is perfect. It is literally the tool you need “in case” of just about anything. The tool itself is small and discreet, easy to travel with on rides and it has fourteen functions. I have found extra uses if you count unlocking doors your children lock by accident or non bike repairs. Definitely a must have item because it’s a compact tool that reduces the bulkiness of carrying around fourteen separate tools.
I didn’t realize how essential this one would be to my success as a cyclist. This compact multi tool is a tire lever, Presta valve core remover, valve stem lock nut wrench, and master link pliers. There is also a storage space for two master links.
You have to put your tools and spare tube somewhere! This is a really sleek option to store all of your must haves for rides (including the ultimate must-have, snacks!). Plus, it won’t get in your way while you ride.
Ok, so this one is definitely more of a luxury add-on and less about function but I consider it a must have to personalize your ride and show off your style. Sunflowers are my favorite flower and I was told that in the absence of the sun that sunflowers turn toward one another. Now, I don’t know how true this is but I like the idea anyway. This reminds me that despite the division we see in our communities and around the globe, we are all connected by common humanity and reminds me that we can achieve great things as a collective by turning to one another and offering compassion and genuine respect and care. So, my gold color kit represents that and when I ride my bike I want to be reminded of the wonderful things Stamina Racing Collective is doing to diversify cycling and bring people into spaces that they otherwise may have felt excluded from.
I have appreciated Wolf Tooth’s commitment to precision cycling products that emphasize function, performance, and reliability. As a newcomer to the sport I need to know that I can rely on my tools and components whether I’m on a leisurely 100+ mile endurance ride indoors on my trainer, riding with friends taking in Minnesota sights, or pulling up to the starting line with my team.