For bike rides, there are a few essentials that you should have with you in your saddle bag, just in case of a flat or to fix something on your bike when things go wrong. If you’re prepared, you’ll be able to correct the problem and continue on your ride.
- Spare tubes. You’ll need these to replace the tube inside the tire in case of a flat (unless you ride without tubes, and then you’ll need a patch repair kit). The guys at my local shop recommend taking the tube out of the packaging, coating it with baby powder to keep it from sticking, and then wrapping the tube with plastic wrap. Your new tubes will be ready to go when needed. I carry two tubes with me at all times.
- A multi tool for all of the nuts and bolts that can get loose on your bike.
- Tire levers for removing the tire from the rim so you can take the tube out. You’ll need at least two levers.
- CO2 cartridges. Have the right size for your tire. My TT bike has smaller tires than my road bike, so 16g is what I need to not overfill my tire, but my road bike needs 20g. Use the bad tube or a glove to hold the CO2 cartridge because it will get really cold.
- A saddle bag for everything.
- Make sure you have lights for your bike and check them before you leave just as you would fill up your tires. Use the lights during the day too so that you’re more visible to vehicles. Drivers need 400 meters to react to a cyclist on the road.
- Know how to change a flat tire. Here’s useful video: https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/road_buyers_guide/fix_a_flat/
- I always assume that drivers don’t see me: I’ve had too many friends injured while riding because of drivers of cars, trucks, and even a school bus. On the trail, look out for dogs on retractable leashes, runners with headphones, and unsteady kids on bikes. Let’s not forget squirrels or groundhogs too. I keep my jersey zipped tight because bees often hit me and fly down my jersey… fortunately, I didn’t fall off of my bike.
Other cycling essentials:
- Bike helmet–Virginia Tech rates helmets here: https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html
- Padded shorts and cycling jersey (for the pockets)
- Cycling glasses to protect your eyes
- Padded gloves to keep your hands from going numb
- Bike lock
- Carry keys, water, food, cash, a credit or debit card, ID, and phone too. Your cycling jersey can keep some of these items, but have water bottle cages for drinks and possibly a bento to hold food for those long rides. Happy riding!