Cycling is a pretty minimal activity. You just throw a leg over a bike, and start pedaling. However, most people want to stay connected, or have a way to get out of trouble if something should occur when out on a ride. That's why bike jerseys have pockets, and bike shops sell saddle bags!
Let's take a look at what's inside my jersey pocket/saddle bag.
Currently, I keep the following on my person:
- Phone (Charge it, but don't necessarily look at it! Keep it protected from sweat and moisture).
- Tire Tube Patch Kit - the new superpatches work great!
- Tire sidewall patch kit. Park Tool makes something that will get you home.
- Tire Tools (I carry three, since these tend to snap in two at times).
- One extra tube (make sure it's the right size (650c, 700c), and that the nipple is long enough to fit in any of the new, aero wheel rims).
- TWO Co2 cartridges (always carry a backup just in case - cartridges can be finicky).
- A "Cool-Tool", with allen wrenches, maybe a philips head and regular head screwdriver on there, maybe even a chain-breaker...
- Money - I usually carry two $10 bills.
- Business Cards. Because, well, you never know...
You can add or subtract from this list, but it's always a good idea to be prepared. Take a maintenance 101 class at your local bike shop as well, because you'll end up with a good idea of what to do if you experience something when cycling.
Remember - the vast majority of your rides will be event-free: Cycling should be mundane. But it never hurts to be prepared, mentally, physically, and equipment-wise!
Being prepared means knowing what causes events and anomalies to occur, and riding in a way that those events are much less likely to happen in the first place. Being fit and improving through our classes will help you be more prepared.