Everything You Need For a Day on The Bike
Headed out riding for the day? Apart from the obvious things such as your bike, helmet, kit, and shoes, there are a variety of other essentials and nice-to-have gear you should bring with you not only to ensure you are self-sufficient but also to guarantee your experience is an enjoyable one.
Basic Puncture Repair Kit
A puncture is the most common bike problem you’re likely to face out on the road or trail so it’s best to be prepared with a basic puncture repair kit. This should include one or two spare inner tubes, a pair of tyre levers, and a hand pump. It might be worth throwing in a patch kit just in case you or someone in your group runs out of spare inner tubes and need to make an on-the-fly repair of an existing one.
The majority of other common problems you may encounter on any ride can usually be fixed with a multi-tool, whether that’s adjusting your saddle height or tightening a loose stem bolt. Some multi-tools, like the MT-40 from Park Tool, come with a chain tool so you can fix a broken chain (rare, but it happens). Be sure to throw a spare quick link in your puncture repair kit and make sure it is the right size for your chain.
Whether or not you choose to take a waterproof jacket depends heavily on where you plan to ride. If the weather in your area is reliably unreliable, it can’t hurt to throw one in your back jersey pocket. For those rides in sunnier climes, a light wind jacket or even gilet might come in handy if you are riding up and over mountain passes where a little wind protection on the descent will prevent you from getting chilled after sweating up the climb.
The cool new thing is membrane-on-the-outside technology like the Shakedry Stretch Jacket from Gore. By ditching the face fabric, not only are the jackets super lightweight but incredibly breathable as there is no face fabric to wet out over time. 7Mesh also makes an incredible one.
Whether you prefer gels, bars, cold pizza, or even the odd piece of cake, you need some form of energy to fuel your muscles and keep those wheels turning all day long. Fueling is a very personal thing so our advice is to find what suits you. If you want to get more scientific, one great tip for long, demanding days out is to try and consume around 40 – 60g of carbohydrate per hour in the first three hours and that will set you up for a strong day! Fuel also comes in liquid form and isotonic drinks help with enhanced hydration and generally contain a good amount of carbohydrate too.
While not essential, a lightweight bike lock is a nice-to-have for those all day rides. When breaking for lunch or making a quick stop at the convenience store for a Coke, a lightweight bike lock like the Ottolock may not offer protection against a savvy bike thief but serves as a great deterrent for those opportunistic snatches and grabs.
For off-road riding, you will be better off sporting a hydration pack as many mountain bike frames don’t provide enough space for carrying water bottles and the bottles tend to get all gunky as you ride along the trail anyway. Choose from the currently popular lumbar pack style such as the Osprey Savu or a standard backpack style like the Raptor which offers up plenty of room for your puncture repair kit, multi-tool, waterproof jacket, and snacks in addition to water. Camelbak has a couple of great hip packs as well. If you are riding in hot climates and want to try and keep your water cold, the new hydration packs from Hydro Flask are pretty cool. The latest models are comfy to wear out riding all day. And your water stays cold the whole day even in the baking sun.
Frame Pack or Saddle Bag
When road cycling, it’s impossible to pack all of the gear listed above into the three back pockets on your cycling jersey. This is where a small saddle bag or even a frame pack comes in handy. A saddlebag is a perfect spot to store all the gear you need only in an emergency such as your puncture repair kit, multi-tool, and some extra cash.
For larger bike bags – Revelate are the cool kids on the block or Blackburn Design. For road cycling, Rapha makes some beautiful bags. Nothing really revolutionary in basic bags but if you are looking to go bike packing, then the Tailfin AeroPack is the best. No more saddlebag sway!
Today’s feature-rich bike computers can do everything from giving you turn-by-turn directions on your route to offer key insight into your performance across different conditions and terrain. Whether you want a simple device to record your ride statistics to upload later to Strava (Strava or it didn’t happen) or one that will find you the best routes to ride in a local area, you’ll find a variety of great options from both Garmin and Wahoo. The Garmin Edge 830 is the latest and greatest model or the Wahoo ELMNT Roam.
If your style is less gadgety and more old school purist, then the Omata is a great product. If you just want your basic performance data/GPS info with a really cool analog interface, then it is highly recommended.
When riding in sunnier climes, remember to pack a small tube of sunscreen.
We don’t go anywhere without our phones these days and on the bike is no different. Use it to record your ride, research how-to bike repairs in a pinch, snap Instagram selfies, or even call for a taxi. If you want to use your phone for navigation or just want it handy to take photos on the fly, check out the Quad Lock bike mount. The mount easily hooks on your stem or handlebars and securely connects your phone to the bike via simple one-handed operation.
If you don’t want to carry your entire wallet, be sure to throw in some form of identification and a small amount of cash for those just-in-case moments.
Amy Jurries is the founder/editor of The GearCaster, a blog dedicated to all things gear and adventure travel. An avid cyclist, she splits her time between California and the UK when not off on some big two-wheeled adventure.