We’ve had quite a few
pub café discussions over a pint slice of cake about what we all carry in our pockets. This will cover what I personally carry with me, and how. This is for rides of three hours plus, up to the whole day out.
Best tip: convertible jacket in a bidon
Ever wondered why one of my water bottles has blue stuff in? A 750ml bidon (water bottle) is just the right size for a light jacket.
Only in the hottest of weather do I need two bottles, and there’s always places to fill up. So, I stuff an extra layer in one. This is a very versatile wind jacket – it has zip-off sleeves and can be worn as a gilet or sleeves only. Sometimes, I add a pair of socks too. Or, a rain jacket instead. I know other people who fill theirs with tools. Up to you.
What’s in your saddle bag?
This is what’s in mine:
- Inner tube in plastic bag
- Multitool & chain breaker
- Small Swiss army knife
- Tyre levers
- A small plastic bag with 3-5 baby wipes
- Small test tube of lube
- Roll of insulation tape
- Spare powerlink
- Small cable ties
- Medication – a couple of paracetamol, codeine, ibuprofen, antihistamines
This all fits in a relatively small saddle bag. (This one’s an old-style Specialized Mini Wedgie.)
I have used everything in that list at least twice, apart from the patches (I can never get them to hold).
The inner tube is in a plastic bag to protect it from damage, plus the bag can be useful in the event of a messy mechanical.
The multitool is a basic one, that’s why I carry the Swiss Army knife too for screwdriver duties. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to hear I’ve used the bottle opener and corkscrew more than once!
I’ve added a chain-breaker, as one time I had to rely on a passing cyclist to re-break a chain for me to get home (after a rear mech failure).
In the summer, I also have a small tube of sun cream.
I carry a small hand pump in my middle jersey pocket. You can attach this to your bike, but remember to check if it still works every now and again. Many a time I’ve come across stranded cyclists with nonfunctional frame pumps.
Carrying all this on my bike gives me peace of mind and frees my jersey pockets up. I need that extra room.
What’s in my pockets?
- Credit card, emergency contact card (BC membership card), cash
- House key
- All in a sandwich bag or weatherproof wallet to keep dry.
- Lip salve
- Eyeliner/eyeshadow (No7 do a great combined one)
- Paracetamol (again, I have joint problems, it’s a bad idea to go anywhere without it)
- Energy bar and/or small bag with lump of marzipan (I don’t get on too well with many gels, and this is cheap and good to chew).
- Whatever extra layer I’ve chosen that day, if needed. Arm warmers, extra base layer, snood, etc. Early autumn, glove liners are useful.
- Mini pump.
Coupled with the jacket in the bidon, there should be enough to get you by.
Sometimes, I’ll be wearing my clear glasses but want to take my sunglasses if the sun is promising to shine. If I can’t fit my glasses in a pocket, I stick them down my front. Some people carry interchangeable lenses, but I’m too clumsy to use them.
Overfilled bulging pockets aren’t pretty, can make your jersey ride up or sag down and you risk losing expensive kit that works its way out. (Trust me on that one – there’s £60 worth of jacket lost somewhere in the Vale of Glamorgan.) However, being stuck by the side of the road with a broken bike, shivering your arse off, is even worse.
So, what do you carry? Is there anything I’ve missed out? Or do you think I carry too much? Please comment!