7 Must-Haves for Any Bike Ride
If we can't be on our skis, we're on our bikes – mountain, road, cruiser, e-bike, or anywhere in between.
Mountains or not, we love a good long summer ride. So, after you've whipped out the chain lube and given that two-wheeled beast a little love (or have your shop do it, we won’t judge), look at this list of things to take with you on your long ride.
If you are out for a longer ride, be prepared.
1) Flat Tire Kit
A flat tire kit can look a little different depending on whether your bike is tubeless or not, whether you want to patch or change your flat, and how “bad” your flat is. Here’s the kicker though, know how to use it–or make sure you’re riding with someone who does.
These kits can include a mix of:
• A tube (not a bad idea even if you have tubeless)
• A CO2 popper and cartridge
• A pump
• A patch kit
• Bacon strips (no, not the snack; although that’s not a bad idea either)
A good fall or even a rattling descent can shake your handlebars, brake levers, and cockpit loose. A multitool lets you keep everything tight; and make your ride even more personalized by fidgeting your cockpit and seat to your preference. Also, some bikes need a multitool to take the tires off, so if you check “flat tire kit” off your list, throw a multitool in there as well. We suggest a multitool specific for biking so you have a chainbreaker included on the tool.
Long road-bike rides need pre-planning as well. Photo by Rizal Setiya, Unsplash.
3) Food and Water
A short bike ride can quickly become an extremely long walk. If your bike becomes un-rideable or (*gasp*) un-rollable, 3 miles will not go by quickly. Bring food and water that is proportional to the distance of your ride, not how long you think the ride should take.
4) A Pre-Downloaded Map
Any long ride can get you turned around. Pre-download a map if you’re of the techy nature, take a photo at the trailhead, or throw an old-school paper version in your bag.
Two of our favorite apps for trails are:
• MTB Project
The Highly Recommended:
5) A First-Aid Kit
If you live in a bike town it's almost a rite of passage to have blood drip down your knees as you ride back to the trailhead. Our first-aid kits don’t include the classic band-aids, and instead are for larger traumatic injuries. For short rides, our med kit includes a bandana, zip ties, duct tape, and NSAIDs. For the longer rides we throw in a SAM-splint, tourniquet, CPR mask, emergency blanket, and iodine tablets. IF you’re taking these items, we also suggest a WFA or WFR class so you can properly use them. The duct tape and zip ties also act as a med kit for your bike. Win-win.
A plus of riding the dirt roads is the squad-ride possibilities.
6) A Quick Link
A little more nuanced bike part that takes some technical knowledge is the quick link. A quick link allows a broken chain to be cut (with your chain-breaker-multitool from above), shortened, and re-connected on a smaller chainring. If you’re getting deep into the wilderness, still being able to pedal can save hours of walking.
7) An Extra Set of Brake Pads
This may be an over exaggerated need-to-have that is spawned from personal experience, but an extra set of brake pads is an excellent thing to throw in your bag. If you’ve worn down your brake pads and heard the screeching, overheating, unhappy sounds coming from your bike then you probably agree. They’re light, they’re small, and if you lose your brake pads for any reason, you won’t have to walk your bike down the best part of the ride.
And of course, there is single-track – our favorite.
There are a million other things you can (and maybe should) bring like layers or other mechanical supplies, but these seem to cut it for most of the rides we do. As always, recreate safely, responsibly, and leave no trace.
Want more bikes? Check out "The Idiot's Guide to Mountain Bikes."
Article by Tatiana Armstrong
A former graphic designer at Wagner, Tatiana now finds herself in the mountain bike capital of SW Colorado. When she's working, you can find her skiing, biking, or doing yoga.