You have your basic tool kit, fuel and spare tubes, but do you plan for emergency situations or carry extra things to make your ride or post-ride more enjoyable? It’s fascinating to see what cyclists bring with them on rides, such as unusual tools, gadgets and food. The following ideas will help prepare you for anything so you can enjoy your cycling experience more:
1. THE READY-FOR-ANYTHING PUMP
My ride accessory oddity is a presta adaptor on one valve. These can make life easier if you get a flat near a gas station that has an air compressor. When traveling for mountain biking, the adaptor can also help make use of old floor pumps, or it can be used with gas station compressors to seat tubeless tires. A final bonus: The presta adaptor also functions as a valve cover.
2. MULTIPURPOSE BAG
Mitch Bailey of Trek Canada makes use of a cheap shoe or helmet bag, ideally one with two straps or a shoulder strap. Having one in your back pocket gives you something to strap to the front of your chest to help block chilly wind.
If you’re doing a point to point, commuting or end up stranded and in need of a pickup, the satchel can hold your extra clothes and gear so you don’t have stuffed pockets or a messy assortment of clothes and gear.
3 & 4. TIRE PLUGS AND FUN FOOD
Evan Guthrie of Norco Factory Team is a gifted technical rider. He stuffs his pockets and packs to the brim on both cross-country and enduro training rides. For enduro rides, he carries tire plugs so that tubeless tires can be repaired and reinflated to provide maximum performance during high-speed enduro stages.
He also recommends carrying unique food on long rides. Evan has done mini burgers, pizza, hard-boiled eggs and even sardines in the tin to keep things interesting.
5. ELECTRICAL TAPE
Sandra Walter is the consummate professional cross-country racer. “I always have electrical tape wrapped around the barrel of my mini pump so I have it on hand in case I need to make a quick roadside/trailside repair,” she says. “It can work for anything from temporarily securing a loose fender to splinting an injured finger!”
Somewhat related to holding things together, Sandra has also used her spare tube to get out of odd equipment fails: “I once broke my shoe cleat on a long ride and used a spare inner tube to tie my foot to my pedal. It worked really well!”
6. EMPTY NUTRITION BAR WRAPPERS
Andrew Watson is another talented cyclist and coach who carries a few extra items on his rides to avoid getting stranded. “I always have an empty bar wrapper in my saddle roll to patch up a torn sidewall,” he says. Indeed, having that perfect material available when you end up with a large puncture is very helpful and does not require much extra space in your pack.
These ideas should get you thinking about how to optimize your cycling routine, prepare for odd mechanicals and even fit errands into your rides. While the basic ride tools and accessories will get you out of most mechanical issues, it’s good practice to refine your repertoire of emergency fixes and solutions. From bringing favorite foods to stopping at the grocery store at the end of rides and using old pumps, these “weird” things cyclists carry just might save you when you’re out on the road.