Living in the digital age makes it easy to think that your phone is the only thing you need in case of problems on your ride. A phone is definitely important to have (check out our phone holders here so you can bike safely with yours). But there’s a few additional things you should carry that will help you handle many of the “bumps” in the road that you could encounter while out riding.
Bike Bag Must-haves:
We took a peak inside of a few of our staffer’s bike bags and compiled a list of 10 must-have items. You’ll be able to ride confidently by having these essential items with you on all your cycling adventures.
First things first – you’ll need a bike bag! Shop our selection here and then fill it with these goodies:
- Spare tubes — Have at least one appropriately sized tube packed in your bike bag. See the side of your bike’s tire for the tire size which is the size of the tube you’ll need.
- Multi-tool — On most bikes, you’ll need an Allen wrench (AKA hex key or Allen key) to loosen or tighten the bolts. Multi-tools will have the most common Allen wrench sizes, and many will have other handy tools like a screwdriver or chain tool.
- Patch kit — While it is best to put on a new tube if you get a flat, a patch kit can still come in handy. On those rare occasions when you end up getting another flat or you encounter a cyclist in need, a patch kit will get you back on your bike in a jiffy!
- Tire levers — You’ll be happy to have a couple of tire levers on hand to help you quickly and easily change out a flat when you’re out riding. They make taking the tire off of the wheel much easier – something you’ll need to do if you get a flat.
- Hand pump — They’re small and some fit in bike bags. They require more effort than CO2, but the advantage is that they never run out of air. Plus, you never know when you’ll need to help a fellow cyclist that needs some air.
- CO2 Cartridges — CO2 canisters are light and a super quick way to inflate road tires. It’s a good idea to bring more than one – especially if your bike has bigger tires.
- Snacks — If you plan to ride for an extended period of time bring a few power bars/gels and hydration powders along to keep your energy levels sustained for the long haul.
- Bandaids — If you take a simple fall, a few bandaids might be all you need to be able to keep riding and they’ll barely take up any space in your bike bag.
- Cash/Credit Card/Identification — A few folded dollars can serve as a make-shift tire boot or buy you a snack from a country road food vendor. A credit card will get you what you need at your local ERIK’S to pickup a needed piece of gear, and identification is important in case of an emergency.
- Cell phone — While it’s nice to get out on a ride and unplug, it’s equally nice to have your phone with you, especially in the case of a situation where you need to call for help. Additionally, there are many cycling apps nowadays that you may want to use for tracking your distance, speed, heart rate and more.
Other items to consider:
- Bike Lock — If you plan on stopping by a friends house or going into a store for snacks, bring your lock so you can keep your bike safe.
- Lights — We recommend you always have lights on your bike. During the day, they help you be seen. If you are riding at dusk, dawn or at night, a front and rear light is a necessity to not only help you be seen but also help you see where you are going.
- Jacket — Most cycling jackets fold into a small compressed state so they take up minimal space in your bike bag. You’ll be glad you packed one when the weather surprises you with cooler temps and/or rain.
- Bugspray — Even though you’ll be in motion while out riding, bugs can still bug you! And if you take time to stop and smell the flowers, they’ll likely bug you even more. Rather than making space in your bike bag for a big can of spray, consider purchasing individually packed bug repellent wipes. They’re small and many even smell nice!
- Sunscreen — Slathering on sunscreen before you head out on a long ride is a great idea, but you’ll likely sweat it off within an hour or so. Pack a travel size bottle so you can reapply often when the sun is strongest.
Bike Bag Quick Tips:
Our ERIK’S staffers ride a lot! And thus, they’ve got a lot of tips and tricks that they’ve learned over the years that make their biking more enjoyable, safe, and efficient. Here’s their recommendations when it comes to using bike bags.
TIP #1: PACK A HAND PUMP
“I know people love their CO2 inflators but I have always carried a pump and rescued many a rider that blew through their cartridges because they did not know how to use them right.
A good solid hand pump may be a pain to use at times, but they work! And the Leyzene fits in my seatpacks!” ~ Doug Holtz, HR Director
TIP #2: GIVE EACH BIKE IT’S OWN BIKE BAG
“Every bike I own has its own bag with matching contents within them. The only difference is the MTB’s have tubeless repair kits. The pump is the same brand and style but the PSI is different for road vs MTB bags.
Having a bag on each bike may be costly up front but so worth it. There’s no need to swap a bag between bikes or change out tube sizes and pumps etc. I just grab a bike and go ride! No thinking, and that’s a good thing for me!” ~Doug Holtz, HR Director
TIP #3: BRING EXTRA TUBES FOR LONG RIDES
“Riding over 50 miles? Have two replacement tubes with you.” ~Joe Kreitzer, Purchaser
TIP #4: DOUBLE CHECK YOUR BAG CONTENTS BEFORE YOU RIDE
“Double check before leaving your house that the tube you have in your saddle bag matches the bike you’re riding that day.” ~Joe Kreitzer, Purchaser
TIP #5: BUY THE RIGHT SIZE BAG FOR YOUR BIKE
“Be sure to purchase your frame bag based on your bike frame size.” ~Mano Yanez, Purchaser
TIP #6: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
“Having all of the supplies that you need is way more helpful if you know how to use them. Watch some videos on how to change a tire and practice using your pump in the safety and comfort of your own garage! That way you’ll be truly prepared when you have to use your skills on the trail.
But, if you don’t know how to use the supplies, it is still helpful to have them with you so that a riding partner or good samaritan can lend a helping hand, and you have the right supplies for the job!” ~Rob Stepaniak, Content Person
As our Marketing Director Steve Parsons says, “Being prepared is not hard. But not being prepared can really suck.” Embrace these words of wisdom when it comes to packing your bike bag and then get out there!
Missing something? Swing by your local shop to get the gear you need or shop our bike bags and supplies at shopERIKS.com.