While everyone has their own personal “Cyclist’s Survival Kit” I thought I would publish mine here. These are all the items that I never leave home without when I go on a bike ride.
Out on the road and get a puncture? Miles away from anywhere and get a mechanical? Bonk while out riding? Get locked out of your house when you get home from a ride. What you leave behind may be important to the enjoyment of your ride.
You always need a way to inflate your inner tube if you get a puncture. I prefer this over CO2 cartridges. I used CO2 cartridges for about two months then got two punctures in one ride and had to walk my bike to the nearest bike shop. So I switched back to the trusty old environmentally friendly and zero carbon foot print pump.
I never leave home without one of these too. If you get a puncture you’ll need one to repair it. Make sure that you have one that doesn’t have any holes in it too! I went for a ride once, got a puncture only to find that my replacement inner tube was faulty too. Oops. Used the mobile phone to get out of that one.
If you are having problems getting your tyre off then you’ll need these too. I always carry a set with me.
Mini cycle tool
I very rarely use this tool but its great if I need to do a quick adjustment to my bike while out on the road. This is a simple one I picked up from Kathmandu on special for a few dollars.
Very important to take something that will help get you back into the house after your ride.
There are three really important things about a mobile phone. The first is that if you get in to serious trouble or have an accident you can use it to call someone or an ambulance, or both. You can also use it to record photographs of the scene of the accident for use later on. Finally, you can store a contact in it saved as ICE (in case of emergency). This contact is usually a close family member that the medical people can call if you are unable to speak for yourself.
Mobile phone plastic bag
I train in all weather and sometimes it rains. Water and electronics don’t mix so I always carry my mobile phone in a plastic bag. I use to use a zip lock bag for years but there are lots of options and I usually pick a more robust version that’s being thrown out of a car in the convoy that follows the Tour Down Under. It’s also protect your phone from sweat on the hotter days.
Under the seat bike bag
I carry my inner tube, tyre levers and bike tool in this small bag that sits under the saddle of by bike. It helps free up the back pockets of my cycling jersey so that I can put some of my excess clothing like my leg and arm warmers that I take off during the ride as the day warms up.
Very useful and used for the same reason as having your ICE contact details in your phone.
I never go out for a ride without two of these. I usually fill them up to add ballast to my bike to make my hill training harder. I also drink from them and they are super important on very hot days to have these both filled before I start my ride. For long rides I normally have the drink bottle on the down tube filled with water (for when I consume gels) and the drink bottle on the seat tube filled with a electrolyte drink.
If I’m going out for a rider longer than two hours I always take food with me. Nothing worst than bonking on a ride. I prefer a low GI carbohydrate like the Winners Bars or a banana. I sometimes take gels on longer rides to use in the last few hours of the ride.
Electrolyte drink power
On really hot days where I’ll be out for a while I’ll place one or two of these in the back pocket of my cycling jersey too. I’ll use it to replenish one of my drink bottles about half way through the ride.
Mostly used for the coffee stop at the end of the ride but can be used in case of emergency to buy extra food, a train ride home or a new inner tube. It can also be used to temporary repair a big gash in your tyre by placing it between your inner tube and the inside of your tyre. This stops the inner tube from poking through the tyre and puncturing your replacement inner tube only a few more kms down the road.
So the phone, ID card, house key and money goes into the waterproof plastic bag. Inner tube, tyre levers and tool goes into the under the seat bike bag. The food goes into one of the pockets. Pump goes on the bike, drink bottles in their cages and the under the seat bike bag goes under the seat.
And here is how I pack it. Mobile phone ID card, key and money in left pocket and food in right pocket. The mobile phone always goes into a side pocket to save it from the wheel spray. I use the middle pocket for clothing that I’ll strip off during the ride.
Drink bottles and pump
My configured bike