I’ve occasionally had people ask me what I carry when riding my bicycle. They are usually wondering what sort of tools to get, what emergency supplies to bring, and things like that. Tonight I finally got around to documenting what I keep in my bag. This is not an exhaustive list of everything I ever carry, nor do I think it’s applicable to everyone else, but I hope it helps some people out with figuring out what they want to carry.
The contents listed here are what I normally carry in my bag, a Deuter Race Air Lite hydration pack, which I first saw my friend Erik using and found to be really nice when I checked them out at Trail’s Edge. In the ~1 year that I’ve been using this pack I’ve been quite happy with it, although I’m still tempted to replace the bite valve with a CamelBak Hydrolock and Big Bite Valve. It’s much nicer than the CamelBak M.U.L.E. that I had previously, most specifically because of the extra ventilation on the back. The bag, packed and ready to ride with, can be seen here: photo.
I’ve also got a Fox 40 Micro Safety pealess whistle attached to my shoulder strap (photo). After hearing this story about a local guy, Joe Foy (hodaddy), who got stuck in the woods while riding in the winter alone I realized that I should have an auxiliary way to call for help, and the whistle it is. After all, one can blow a whistle for a lot longer than they can yell.
So, what’s in the bag? While the foodstuffs vary as they get eaten all of this is pretty typical:
· Cable Ties (Thin/short and wide/long, 4 or so of each.)
· 2x Nitrile Gloves (Stuffed into a small plastic zip-top bag.)
· Crank Brothers multi-17 Tool
· Sawyer Maxi-Deet 100% DEET Insect Repellant (Only carried in the summer, applied only when I need to stop in bug-infested areas.)
· Crank Brothers power pump ultra High/Low Pressure Pump
· Clif Kid Zbar (Half normal Clif Bar size and much tastier.)
· Trader Joe’s Dried Fruit Bar (Like a gel, but almost better.)
· Replacement Derailleur Hanger (from DerailleurHanger.com / Wheels Manufacturing)
· Tire Patch Kit w/ Sandpaper Abrasive
· $20 Cash
· Spare SRAM PC-1 Links, 8 and 9-speed Quick Links
· Presta to Schrader Valve Adapter
· ProGold Pro Link Chain Lube
· 1x Pedro’s Tire Lever
· 1x Tube (Typically Kenda Super Lite 29 x 1.9/2.3.)
· 2x Clean, Old Cotton Socks (Tube packed in one, multi-tool and tire lever in another. Also useful as rags.)
· Olympus Stylus 850 SW Ruggedized Camera (Usually in a jersey pocket, but almost always with me.)
· Car Keys
· Gels (Clif Shot Gels are good, and the Litter Leash works. I’m also fond of Hammer Gel.)
· Cell Phone in Pelican 1015 Case (More Photos)
Except for the camera, phone, and wallet, all of this packs down into a space a bit larger than two fists. It all fits nicely into the bag and leaves me plenty of room to carry extra stuff. If I’m going on a longer ride I’ll also throw in some extra food, such as granola† or maybe a sandwich. Sometimes I’ll also toss a folding saw or jacket in the bag. If it’s night time it’ll also house the battery for my light and a hand-held flashlight, and if it’s winter I’ll also add some chemical warmers and a heavy pair of gloves.
There are a few changes that I should probably make:
· Replace the $20 bill with some change. Maybe 5x $1, 1x $5, and 1x $10, just to make things easier when stopping in an emergency.
· For winter riding add a mylar emergency blanket, candle, and matches.
· Get some alcohol prep pads. Useful for cleaning hands and other things.
· Get some gaffer tape and wrap a few turns around the pump handle.
· Get a Surly Toob, a 3.x” 26″ tube, or something appropriate for the Mukluk. Especially when doing longer, solo winter rides.
· Get a small amount of toilet paper and store it in a waterproof pouch. Perhaps one or two of the packs that come with MREs.
† Trader Joe’s Oh My! Omega Trek Mix is my personal favorite. It’s all nuts, seeds, and berries and doesn’t result in my blood sugar crashing the way I do after a bunch of other more candy-like trail mixes. It also tastes really good when hot or cold.