I’M GOING OUT FOR A RIDE

 

I am wearing a backpack with a water bladder, my pockets are bulging with goodies and I also have a saddle bag full of stuff I have no idea how to use….  I was going for a bike ride and I would be out for about 2 hours.  Seriously how much stuff does one girl need?

Fast forward a few years and of course a fair few bike rides later and I no longer pack the kitchen sink for my frequent trips out on the bike, but I do make sure I have exactly what I need with me.

 

 

Beware of the pockets laden full of stuff or worse taking a rucksack….. you will always find more things to add if you do.

 

SO WHAT WILL YOU NEED TO CARRY AND WHAT DO YOU NEED KNOW?

Of course it depends on what type of ride you are going on and who you have with you, this guide will to give you some idea of what to take and enable you to make some decisions for yourself on how to carry it or share the load.

Before you set out ask yourself a few questions….. the answers will give you an idea of what to take and what you can leave behind.

 

WHERE AM I GOING & WHAT SORT OF RIDE ARE YOU DOING?

On a short ride – local roads or byways, a few villages about an hour and a half at the most and you’ll be back in time for tea.  You know the route and the roads are familiar.

On a long ride – local roads or byways, a few villages but you may not know the route exactly, you are taking a little tour and its going to be fun even if you do get a little lost along the way!  You plan to be out for 3 hours or more

 

WHO AM I GOING WITH?

Solo – under your own steam its nice to feel a breath of fresh air and have your thoughts to yourself

With Friends – a lovely group of friends or your local cycle club, everyone supports one another and its great to be out amongst like minded people working as a team.

With Family – its going to be a great day, the kids are out in the fresh air and we are being adventurous and we might find a picnic spot.

So now you have an idea what type of ride you are going on, the decisions are getting easier so what are your essentials

 

ESSENTIALS

A short ride – somewhere you know and this can be with friends or solo.

  • Spare inner tube
  • Tyre leavers
  • Pump
  • Phone – in a waterproof pouch/bag
  • ID – In the UK it is not mandatory but it is sensible. You can buy a special bracelet with relevant medical information on it as well as ICE detials (In Case of Emergency) or just take your driving licence if you have one. Please note that some in countries Photo ID is mandatory so check before you go on your cycle tours abroad. Phones do provide a place for ICE details but if you have no battery….. need I say more.
  • A little money, great for the coffee shop at the end
  • Lights – day lights are always useful especially in town
  • A drink – in either a bottle cage on the bike or a small rucksack if you need to carry one
  • Food – for a short ride you will not need much if anything at all – water alone should be enough.

This should all fit into a saddle bag, a bottle cage and into your back pocket.

 

Top Tip: Plan your meals around your ride – this will mean you can take less food with you, also have your tea prepared ready for your return.

 

A long ride – either off-road or an area where you are not familiar.

  • Spare inner tube
  • Tyre leavers
  • Pump
  • Phone – in a waterproof pouch/bag
  • ID – In the UK it is not mandatory but it is sensible. You can buy a special bracelet with relevant medical information on it as well as ICE detials (In Case of Emergency) or just take your driving licence if you have one. Please note that some in countries Photo ID is mandatory so check before you go on your cycle tours abroad. Phones do provide a place for ICE details but if you have no battery….. need I say more.
  • A little money, great for the coffee shop but that could include lunch!
  • Lights – day lights are always useful especially if you may be out late of course if you are going off-road and it could get dark consider something more suitable for your terrain
  • A drink – in either a bottle cage on the bike or a small rucksack if you need to carry one, consider if you need to re-fill on the go and plan those stops before you head out
  • Food – for longer rides always carry food and especially if you don’t know the route as opening times for cafes can change and you could always take a wrong turn…
  • Map / Route Guide – Mapping a route before you go is a good idea, especially if you are new to cycling or to the area, there are a couple of options open to you

TRY – Online app, such as MapMyRide – you can use it on the phone or download a .gpx file to your bike computer or your phone app if it has a navigation feature

TRY – An OS Map – I prefer an Explorer OS 1:25 scale as it has more detail to navigate by and although these can be quite large they do fit into a rucksack – see also my top tip.

This should all fit into a saddle bag, a bottle cage and into your back pocket, although the pockets may bulge a little.

 

Top Tip buying maps – I subscribe to OS Maps Online £19:99 a year or £17.95 in 2016 if you auto renew, this means I can print off any area I want, draw my route directly on the map and fold it up in my pocket.

 

ADDITIONAL KIT FOR OFF-ROAD ESPECIALLY WITH A GROUP

 

IMG_1406.jpg

As a Mountain Bike Leader I have to include a number of other pieces of kit when guiding, I will not share it all but you should consider the following if you are out with a group on a long ride, remember you only need one of these for the group and you can share the load.

All of my kit fits into plastic pencil cases and if you buy clear ones they make it easy to find what you are looking for when your fingers are cold and you are trying to get something fixed quickly

You can buy first aid kits ready made and they come in the small bags like mine

 

MAINTENANCE KIT

  • Spare hanger (it is the component that connects your derailleur to the frame near the back wheel) this is the most likely component to break off-road as it is designed that way to save you serious money – I have bent one before and seen one shear off!
  • Chain Tool (check if you have one on your multitool) I really like the topeak hexus2, it has all I need in one and is still light, look out for the ‘third hand’ it is so useful when fixing a chain on the trail.
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Electrical tape – can also be used instead of plasters
  • A small piece of toothpaste tube – cleaned and corners rounded
  • Puncture repair patches
  • Zip ties – I have used these to keep cables out the way when I broke my lockout cable on a particularly interesting descent at the Forest…
  • Gloves… yes I do like to keep my hands clean, but essential if you are trying to repair a chain and don’t want to get your bars covered in oil

 

FIRST AID KIT

  • Plasters – although these can be useless and electrical tape is just as good
  • Eye wash, the most used of my equipment although glasses should prevent the worst
  • Bandage size medium, something that can go around a leg or arm
  • Square bandage – although if you don’t have one of these I have practiced (thankfully not had to use in anger) an inner tube!
  • Foil blanket or space blanket

 

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Compass
  • Spare contact lenses if you wear them – I lost one whilst on the SDW in June last year, it was interesting trying to put a new one in with only my phone for a mirror!
  • Pencil and paper – if you do ha ve a casualty and need to call the emergency services it is ideal to be able to write down anything they tell you.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE I HEAD OUT?

 

WHERE ARE YOU?

Late back, make sure you tell people where you are going and for how long.  I use an app called ‘Find my Friends’ which is really useful.  I can share with my husband what time I am going out and when I am due back and if late he can easily see where I am.

Sounds a bit like big brother, but it has saved a few worried moments when someone is later than expected, which happens off road. You know what it’s like, you get into the ride and enjoy it so much you loose track of time. Or heaven forbid you have a mechanical that takes time to fix so being late back is inevitable.

When I am guiding I have a full procedure that I can invoke, it is all part of my insurance and risk assessment. But to be honest it’s really about being sensible and finding what works for you.

 

HOW DO I FIX A PUNCTURE?

It is essential to know how to change your tyre especially if you are solo.  If you need to learn how to do this then pop into your local bike shop and they can show you or follow this link to my favourite on-line cycling website Total Women’s Cycling How to: change an inner tube

 

Top Tip – when you get a puncture on a ride simply swap the inner tube this will get you on your way faster rather than fixing it by the side of the road, however don’t discard the punctured tyre you can fix that when you get back and put it in for your spare for next time

 

M   AP READING

If you are not sure about map reading then having a bike computer or phone app that gives you directions may be the ideal.  I quite like ‘View Ranger’ as it enables you to download your .gpx file and follow it.  You do need to fix your phone to your bars though and mine is often in my pocket safe from the rain and mud.  Although my top tip here is so simple and works perfectly….

Top Tip :  Using OSMaps on-line I can print out my maps. After printing I laminate them and plot my route in fine marker (permanent) and then use elastic bands to hold them to my bars! This is perfect when guiding – Flower are optional of course….

 

Have fun on your adventures.