You never know what can happen when you’re out riding. A flat, a rip in your tire, a torrid rain, a lack of energy and much more can ruin your day if you aren’t well equipped. I would like to share a few tips with you so you know what to do in these unfortunate situations without having too much to carry on your ride. Just enough material so it can fit in your saddle bag and your jersey’s back pockets and it’s a go!
We all know that getting a flat is really frustrating. A first little tip to avoid this bad luck is to inflate your tires regularly. A good pressure will avoid pinch flats. Personally, I pump them up every single week because even when you don’t ride your bike, your tires deflate themselves just like when you leave your bike in the garage for the entire winter – after you take it back out your tires are completely deflated even if you don’t have a flat.
The Five Essentials
- A spare tube: you can never be too careful.
- A portable mini pump or CO2 inflator: you want to be able to fix that flat and pump back up your tire pressure.
- A $5 bill: As much as having paper money on you is useful to buy snacks, it is also useful to patch a tire. That’s right, you read it right. It already happened to me that I got a very bad flat by riding on a big piece of glass that I didn’t see and it ripped a part of my tire open. I was too far from a bikeshop to buy a new tire and I knew that if I simply replaced the tube, the chance of having it pinch through the rip of the tire was too high. So I folded my $5 bill in between my tire and my tube to block the hole, blew back my tire up and I was able to ride back home.
- Tire levers: you want to be able to remove the tire from the rim to change your tube.
- A saddle bag: to carry all of the items from the previous points. (The pump might be a bit too long to fit in the saddle bag but you can easily carry it in your back pocket).
Rain & Gadgets
Since we can’t always count on The Weather Network, and because not all gadgets are water resistant, the good ol’ Ziploc bag can save you quite a few bucks when it’s time to protect your phone from the rain.
Moreso for keeping your energy level high, than for the great taste of energy gummies, it is important to eat and stay hydrated when you plan to go out for a long ride to avoid an energy crash. You can go for gels, gummies, bars, bananas, or even dates and apricots to keep your fuel level up. As for hydration (water, Gatorade, electrolyte powder), you can take what you want but don’t forget to drink, even if it’s cold out.
The two types of cream you don’t want to forget:
- Chamois cream: if you have never tried it, I dare you to use it once. You won’t be able to ride without it after that! Note: we say “chamois cream” but in reality you must apply it to your backside to avoid irritation with your chamois.
Last thing, don’t forget your helmet!