What should you be carrying on your ride?
Whatever and where ever you are riding it is important to carry supplies to allow you to cover most eventualities whilst out on your ride. These can be from tools you may need for roadside repairs to food for fuelling you in case you get caught out by lack of energy on the way home after finding the café closed.
Below we will cover just some of the things you may want to consider having with you on you ride.
Food / Energy
Having something in reserve can really help when you're planning a hard ride. If you're on a training ride or heading in to the unknown, carrying some food and fluids is essential. Failing to stay hydrated is a common issue on longer rides. Any ride over two hours it is strongly advised to be drinking regularly to stay hydrated, even in cool weather. Loss of hydration by over 5% of your body weight can effect you performance by up to 30%. 2% loss of fluid compared to body weight will make a noticeable difference, which is why taking on good fluids is important. Companies such as SIS and High5 have but research in to these effects and have developed their products accordingly. Replacement of essential electrolytes, as well as energy substitution in the form of sugars and glucose, are some of the key aspects brands such as these have concentrated on for 'on ride' energy sources.
For those that race or are in competitive sport, other sources are designed in the form of energy gels or bars.
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When riding on the road you are less likely to sustain the type of mechanical failure that those that off road might due to the terrain you will be on. That is not to say that your are in hazard free environment. Potholes and grids can cause pressure punctures, hedge cutting will leave thorns, glass and nails can split your tyre. So you will need some tools to help with possible incidents. A spare tube and tyre levers are a first must have item as this will be your most likely requirement. Here at High On Bikes our staff tend to carry two tubes as it will save time repairing the puncture at the road side if you can swop out a tube. In the event we are unlucky to get a third puncture we will carry a patch kit like that of Slime, Fatspanner and Lezyne. in terms of inflation, there are many different pumps available. On some occasions a CO2 canister can be useful for speed and ease of carrying. For more major, though uncommon incidents, a multi tool with a link extractor can be useful to have, so if you are unlucky to snap a chain or have a bolt come loose you are able to resolve it and get home. For snapped chains a quick/split link can be another quick aid to getting you on the way.
The same tools can be taken on an off road ride as well as the road but there are a few extras you may consider. If your heading in to the forest or trails consider what you may encounter and how you need to cope with those issues. Off road you are more likely to lose traction and come off in to the undergrowth. First aid kits, foil blankets and mapped out routes will help you give your location if the unfortunate were to happen. Your first aid kit does not need to be bulky but needs the basic essentials. St Johns Ambulance have a small kit here for an example.
Off road riders normally use a back pack and not saddle pack to carry there kit as they tend to carry a little extra. Plus these bags can often double as your hydration bag such as Hydrapak .
Storage / Carrying
Other ways of carrying your tools are items such as Pro storage bottles that come in two sizes dependent on how much you want to carry. Saddle bags are common on the road and come in varying sizes again. If you want to have things up front and more readily to hand, Topeak make the TriBag which mounts to your crossbar.