If you’re going out on a ride, it’s essential to take the right kit with you. Clare Dewey from Epic Road Rides knows a thing or two about this; she’s ridden in an incredible range of destinations around the world. Here she shares her insights on the things you shouldn’t leave home without.
Getting ready for a bike ride is always a bit of a faff. There are so many things to remember!
Over the years I’ve honed my process for getting out the door with everything I need. Now I have a mental checklist that I visualise before I leave:
These are the super obvious things you need. I’m guessing we all remember these without too much trouble?!
You’ll need a pump, two inner tubes, patches, tyre levers and multi-tool.
How many bottles you take depends on where, when and for how long you’re riding for.
These are a must if there’s any risk you’ll be riding through dawn or dusk, or if there’s any chance of bad weather or tunnels.
(Some people would add a bike computer to this. If it’s not on Strava did it happen?!)
I don’t know about you, but it’s these that I find it easy to forget!
Old-school purists may sneer, but a phone will get you out of many a scrape. From emergency situations to times you forgot your Chia Charge (;)) and have hit the wall. You can even pay for things with it these days. Yes, there’ll be some spots without a signal, but it could get you out of a tricky spot.
Cash is king. That tiny village shop in the middle of nowhere probably doesn’t take cards (or phone payments either!). When your phone dies and you need to make a call to get a pick-up, coins would be kind of handy.
Always take some cash out on the bike!
The sad truth is that accidents happen and it’s important to take ID with you. A simple driver’s licence or ID card in your back pocket will do the trick (plus medical ID if you have issues that doctors would need to know about if you weren’t conscious).
A couple of bars, gels or flapjacks in your pocket can make all the difference between bonking and getting home safely. The longer you go, the more important it is to get your nutrition right.
I’ve noticed that eating often isn’t on my radar if it’s hot, but that’s when it becomes even more important to keep properly fuelled.
If you’re riding somewhere new and unfamiliar, don’t rely on shops and restaurants being open. It’s bound to be the time you crawl up to the Cafe du Post in a random French village, only to find it’s Monday and they’re closed or you’re 5 minutes after the kitchen shut...
If you’re cycling anywhere where there’s a vague possibility of anything other than settled hot weather, you need to take a rain jacket.
If you get caught in bad weather in the hills or mountains, it could make the difference between getting home in one piece and ending up in hospital.
Don’t ponder whether it’s really necessary, take our word for it and stuff it in your back pocket!
Clare is an avid road cyclist and travel-lover. When she isn’t out discovering the world’s best road rides, she’s photographing and writing about them.
You can find her beautifully presented, free, cycling guides at www.epicroadrides.com, the travel website for road cyclists. The guides contain tried and tested route guides, GPX downloads and info on where to stay and when to go to 15 different cycling destinations from the Alps and Pyrenees to Mallorca and LA's Santa Monica Mountains. Check out the site now!