What to take with you on a ride


Stuff to carry

In the rear pockets the usual items to be found for road cycling are:

Rainproof jacket – if not wearing one

Energy bars/gels

Tyre levers

Mobile phone

Mini pump – if not attached to frame

Many now use the CO2 cylinders for a quick inflation on the roadside, so a couple of these would also be in the rear pocket

In addition most road cyclists have a small rear saddle bag (or a bottle sized holder which fits in to the rear bottle cage) in which they keep 2 inner tubes, levers (if not in rear pocket) and sometimes a spare chain link (a bit technical for beginners) and a multitool – these can be bought fairly cheaply and contain allen keys, screw driver and sometimes a chain breaker (again a bit technical so do not worry if this is not included). Weight is key so try and buy light. With this kit it will be possible to repair most punctures (of the inner tube). If the outer tyre splits it is usually because it is old, worn thin and possibly perished. Do not let your tyres get in to this state! Good tyres inflated to the right pressure (100psi is the norm for road bike) prevent punctures is the general axiom.

The Club will be training those interested in how to repair a puncture.

Finally, it is considered anti-social not to use mudguards in the winter when the roads get wet and muddy. Riding close behind someone without mudguards is unpleasant. You can usually fix them to a normal frame although some sleeker frames do not allow clearance for a mudguard between the frame and the wheel itself. For these bikes and for people who do not want to fix permanent mudguards the best solution is the: Crud RoadRacer Mk2 Mudguard Set (about £22.00 on line)


This is important. Up to now, most beginners will not have tackled rides over 30 miles. For these rides, water in the bottle is usually enough refreshment. However for longer and more arduous rides it is essential to bring the necessary nutritional “help”.

The easiest way is to bring a couple of energy bars but they do not provide fluid replacement. We recommend that all riders on 30+ mile rides add some carbohydrate to their bottles. In the summer you can also add some electrolyte supplement. About an inch of powder in the bottom of a litre bottle should suffice (follow the manufacturers recommendations).

Many of you will have experienced serious hunger when returning from a ride and the tendency is to eat anything and everything available. Most people who cycle do so in order to control or lose weight so this strategy is not smart.

The real benefit of hydrating with a carbohydrate based drink, apart from allowing you to ride further without “bonking” – a technical term used by cyclists that bears no relationship to other uses of the same word – is that, when you get back from a tough ride you do not have anywhere near the same level of hunger. So you avoid undoing all the hard work you have just put in burning 1000+ calories (as a rule of thumb most serious road cyclists of average weight will burn 800 calories an hour of strenuous riding).

Brands abound in this market but the most widely used are High 5 and SIS Go but there are hundreds and Wiggle have their own label. It is not inexpensive so shop around and buy in bulk if you can afford to. For the more impecunious, I can tell you that SIS Go is 90% maltodextrin and 10% fructose. Both of which can be purchased in bulk on line. To flavour, use a juice that does not include added sugar – PLJ for example or a proprietary sweetener such as Canderel.

Enjoy your cycling

(Please remember these are the views and opinion of only one member and are therefore subject to the usual caveats and disclaimers…..)

1 Response

  1. Andy Beckett says:

    Just ordered the Cruds from Wiggles, hope they arrive before the weekend 🙂

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