How Much to Carry on a Ride?

When riding for sport or recreation, I've noticed that the amount of stuff I feel that I "need" to bring along is not only subjective, but dictated by my bike's setup. When my bicycle is set up with a handlebar or saddlebag, that bag inevitably ends up filled with things I am convinced I need. What if it rains? Let me just stuff a jacket in there. And a sweater in case I misjudge the temperature. What if I get hungry? Pack some food just in case. Why not stop to take pictures? In goes the DSLR camera. And maybe a book in case I stop for coffee. By the time I am done, the bag is bulging with all the things I "need" for the ride.

And yet when riding a roadbike without any kind of bag attached, I somehow manage to make do with my jersey pockets: Keys, phone, money. Done. Leave. Ride. Even when the morning starts out cold and I end up removing layers of clothing toward the end, I can usually just stuff them in one of the pockets (that's a wool long sleeve tee sticking out of the left one and a pair of gloves in the center). I can keep surprisingly large food items in there as well - riding with a banana or an apple in a jersey pocket has not been a problem. 

There is a point of view among cyclists that a bulky saddlebag or handlebar bag on anything shorter than a daylong ride is an affectation and an unnecessary handicap. There is also the opposite point of view - that riding without a fully packed bag is akin to being unprepared and irresponsible. I can sort of relate to both ways of looking at it, depending on the mood I am in. A year ago, I felt "safer" with a bag even if I did not need it, but now I prefer to carry as little as possible. If I want to focus on the cycling, I take only what fits in my jersey pockets. If I am using my bike to explore photographic locations then a bag is a must, but I try my best not to overpack it. 

How much do you carry with you on a ride and has this changed with your riding style? 


  1. my Boy Scout background forces me to always be prepared. my multi-tool is way too big, but i've helped out myself and stranded cyclists multiple times. My hand-heat control is always out of whack, so i can't help but carry multiple pairs of gloves, no matter what i do.

    that said, i've gotten a lot better and refrain from packing anything unnecessary to the ride. i've also learned that it always gets warmer on a ride, so i try to start feeling a little chilly, rather than bring another layer. on a ride last weekend, i was worried after 10 minutes that i was going to freeze, but a few hours later, i had removed 2 layers.

    i haven't really gotten into carry too much stuff in my jersey, but if it means not having to stop, then i'll all for that!

  2. Riding with fully loaded saddlebags seems too touristy to me - I like surprises. I only take a multi-tool, some money, a phone and a water bottle with me when Im riding for fun, but if I'm comuting to work I always take a backpack for my work clothes and inner-tube repair set, first aid kit, toilet kit, etc... It's all light and minimal so it won't add much weight but it's still not as much fun.

  3. "And yet when riding a roadbike without any kind of bag attached, I somehow manage to make do with my jersey pockets: Keys, phone, money. Done."

    ... and with somebody to carry spare tube, tools, and pump? I do not see these things on your bike in photos taken on the road.

    I carry middling-width inner tubes, which are replaced by the skinny inner tubes of those who ride without baggage, spares, pump, and tools when I repair their punctures.

  4. Anon 1:11 - There is a tiny saddle wedge attached to my Moser that contains all that you mention, not pictured in the photos shown so far.

  5. So are you Yehuda Moon? Do you carry flares in your saddlebag? :)

    This is nothing new. When you go on vacation you should take the smallest suitcase possible. Otherwise you end up with tons of stuff you would never use.

    The more you ride, the more you know what you really need. To the point that you can tour for days with barely nothing. This guy mastered this art:

    Sure it is good to pack a light wind/waterproof jacket + something to fix a flat. Other than that: a phone, a wallet and a small camera (A DSLR? Really?).

  6. I have a standard "kit" in The Raleigh's wee saddlebag: small, removable headlight, batteries for front and rear lights, tube, CO2 pump and cartridge (not that I could change a flat on the bike without a spanner, which I've been waiting to get from a friend), inhaler. Those are the minimum for me.

    Then in the basket goes whatever clothing I think I might need for the weather (sometimes, no extra stuff), my drink/water, camera and sunscreen (if necessary). I put that stuff on my old roadbike, too. I like to be prepared!

  7. "A DSLR? Really?"

    Sure. I've carried medium format analog cameras on my bikes as well.

  8. I've never used anything more than a small wedge bag under the saddle and the rear pockets of my jersey. Spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, multi-tool and some cash fit in wedge bag; pump straps to the seat tube and the jersey pockets will hold snacks, cell phone and even some clothing items. I have to admit I would like to bring my camera sometimes. Usually when I'm out riding though it's just for riding with no plans for any other activity along the way.

  9. Tube, multi-tool, patch kit under the saddle, frame pump on the bike. A small point and shoot in a jersey pocket or pants pocket if I'm wearing a shirt w/out pockets. That's for 1-2 hr rides. Longer than that, and I carry food, lip stuff & cash in a jersey pocket. Arm and knee warmers would go in the jersey as well, but don't get used too much. A jacket... what's that? This is Southern California after all...

  10. 2 hour road ride (including breaks) is probably minimum for me, otherwise it doesn't feel worth it getting dressed for it. The longest I've done with just the wedge and my jersey pockets has been 60 miles.

  11. Each of my bikes has a saddlebag with tube, patch kit, small tool selection, showercap (for the seat, if I park in the rain), and a U-lock. On a pleasure ride around LA, I usually don't carry anything else. In fact, I add or subtract luggage from the bikes depending on what I anticipate having to carry--for shopping trips, in case of uncertain weather, etc. Always the least amount of crap possible--often just one pannier. (I am a lifelong geek, after all.)

    I do wear my own brand knix or shorts for riding, so carry my normal "pocket stuff" in them--keys, phone, wallet, kerchief.

    Don't even carry a water bottle unless I'm going out into the stick or up into the remote hills (and you can be very, very remote in the middle of LA, as we do have wild, puma-prowled mountains in town). So much more civilized to stop for a latte or a lemonade or beer at some pub or bistro, after all....

  12. Forgot to note: of course my saddlebags have a pump in them--I favor the Topeak Morph series, since they fold out into surprisingly effective floor pumps.

  13. I've gotten pretty strong reactions when mentioning in passing that I usually do not bring food from home, but just buy a snack at a convenience store when I get hungry. Some cyclists believe that you must eat constantly on a ride or you will perish.

  14. This is disappointing. I was hoping for an Ode to Jersey Pockets or a Paen to the Duffle Bag.

  15. I don't know how you could ride with all that stuff in your jersey pockets. That would drive me nuts!
    I have nice, big, boxy handlebar bags on my bikes that never get removed. I used to just leave them empty on short rides, but now I toss random crap in there just to be sure I don't get "soft" by riding a light bike around ;-)


  16. Jim - I've actually seen someone use a duffle bag as a makeshift saddlebag. Genius. I do love the jersey pockets. Before I tried it, I assumed it would be uncomfortable to carry stuff in this manner. But a well designed jersey really keeps everything in place and I don't feel the stuff in there.

    Ryan - I do not normally carry all of that in my jersey pockets; it's just an example of what's possible in a pinch.

  17. For me, how much I carry depends on the bike, the type of ride I'm doing (dirt? pavement?), the length of ride, if I'm riding with others or alone, and the weather.

    At a minimum, if I'm riding somewhere beyond my normal 2.5 mile commute, I take a spare tube, multi-tool, pump, water, snack and water.

    If I plan to ride more than 30 miles, I'll probably bring additional stuff: spare chain links, zip ties, alcohol swabs, couple of M5 bolts, wind jacket. These take up little to no room and weigh next to nothing, but can be valuable if something breaks.

    If the forecast calls for rain, I'll bring a rain jacket and saddle cover.

    And so on, etc...

    If I'm strictly commuting to and from work, which I do even in hard downpours, I won't bring ANY tools, tubes, pump, water, or snack with me, but if there's any chance of rain, I pack my saddlebag with rain pants, shoe covers, saddle cover, and rain jacket.

  18. Really? While I favor eating constantly as a general principle, I don't eat on rides unless it's lunchtime. (Which I do interpret rather broadly, I must admit.)

    I often ride 60 to 70 hilly miles on a fixed gear with one snack and one lunch stop, often skipping the snack. I don't "eat constantly" while hiking, either, which is more of a workout than cycling. Sometimes I don't eat at all on a ride

    On a century ride I will bring snacks along, but that's because my century routes tend to bypass decent eating places.

  19. Any one who leaves home for more than a few minutes without adequate rain gear either lives somewhere with more predictably dry weather than we experience here in the northwest of Ireland or they are going to get wet. there is still some question about the need for a saddle bag however as it is often advisable to just wear the Goretex rather than carry it.

  20. Definitely a frame pump. Some rides I have to change route so I can stop rescuing those who've spent their CO2. Insert in the patch kit a single edge razor blade and a strip of patch canvas for booting tires. Another one where someone else most likely gets the benefit, the payoff is still there. For offroad or anything approaching offroad, a chain tool. You can limp home on a flat, you go nowhere without a chain.

    The big saddlebag stays mounted these days. Periodically the accumulation gets edited. When I go fast I remind myself that the aerodynamic problem of a bike is that it's too short a form. So the saddlebag is my tail fairing. And it's a great excuse when the young guys drop me. Racers always have an excuse. Mine is secured to the saddle.

  21. Assess and carry the minimal--ever seen (American) mothers with their babies in 'strollers' that are in effect small SUV's? You could start a small civilization based on consumption with the stuff they carry around.

    I rarely carry anything more than strapping a spare sew up tire and an air cartridge under the saddle (and food in pockets if the ride warrants it). A small backpack if I am doing errands. No bag hangs off my bikes.

  22. Don - I've gone on 25 mile roadrides in the rain without raingear or fenders. I got wet and muddy, then rinsed my shorts and jersey when I got home. I don't expect everyone to agree, but I find this to be less of a hassle than messing with raingear. I am talking about a "training" ride though, not a meandering pleasure ride.

  23. (Writing this while stuffing my jersey pockets)

    Do the Campag pockets sag at all?

  24. Almost not at all. I love this jacket and should review it some time.

  25. Depends on the bike; always a pump, patch kit, levers. Big fan of Lezyne pumps.

    If it might get cold/rain, a wind shell, packed somewhere. Shell + long-sleeve wool is good down to 20F, for me.

    On the Big Dummy, given what it already weighs, I pack a pretty decent kit (i.e., including cone wrenches). Also plastic gloves to keep my fingers clean. I usually end up fixing other people's bikes -- I've reattached a pedal (that came loose, that buggered the threads in the crank), and helped fix a broken chain.

    I'm not a big fan of multi-tools.

    Most days, since I might be buying groceries, a couple of spare Ikea bags to carry stuff. If I have to put the bike where it might get rained on, those do for the seat, too.

    I don't usually worry about food, because I don't usually do long rides, I can buy it, and I could stand to burn a little fat anyway.

  26. As with all cycling there are no rules.

    I'll often go on a 40-50 mile ride with a pannier on my tourer's rack and a heavy D lock inside it if I think I might want to go to the supermarket when I get back into town.

    On the other hand I'll go for a quick 30 mile blast on my road bike with just a spare inner tube in my pocket.

    As for food, I don't need anything for a ride of up to 50 miles and a small bar of chocolate can push that up top 65ish. And in my part of England it is hard to go anything like that far without finding a shop.

  27. I have a tool pouch that contains tire irons, multi-tool patch kit and a fiber-fix kevlar spoke. that is usually joined by a spare tube and pump. on my person, I have a cellphone, wallet and keys, as well as some tissues. that's my constant for commuting, errands and road rides.

    for urban rides, I'll bring a lock and maybe a book. for road rides, I'll sometimes bring a rain layer if it looks like rain, but otherwise will not bother. In cold weather, I'll go out warm and will just plan on shedding layers as I warm up or as the sun comes out. While some of my layers pack down ok, I tend to prefer to keep clothes in a saddle or front bag and to keep food handy in jersey pockets.

    If I expect to be out for more than two hours, I'll bring electrolyte tablets and some food (either Fig Newtons, granola or Clif bars, depending on mood) Amount of food is commensurate with expected ride distance and plans for lunch or dinner.

    For brevets, my packing list will tend to include more clothing and more food, as well as some more maintenance items (chain lube, more spare tubes, spare tire, etc.) That is, again, driven by expected ride distance as well as the prospect of riding in the dark.

  28. Peppy (the amazing aero cycling cat)December 2, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    I just carry my tail and whiskers.

    If I get hungry I can catch a mouse. I don't carry tools because cat.

  29. Peppy, that just isn't true. I have seen you strap panniers to your back in order to carry birdwatching equipment.

  30. On my own bikes, I always carry a handlebar bag. Most of the time, it doesn't have much in it - I don't see the temptation to carry things I don't need. (I also don't carry a lot of junk in my car, even though it has a large trunk.)

    When I test bikes with more limited luggage capacity, I often find that as the day warms up, I want to take off layers, but cannot, because there is nowhere to put them.

  31. If I go for a longer rides I certainly make sure to bring enough stuff to make it back home under most circumstances. I don't have anyone to pick me up with a car and getting back with public transit is almost never an option. So a spare tire, patch kit, tire boot, pump, and multi-tool with chainbreaker are a must. Add a spare folding tire for rides over 120 km.

    Being vegan, my options for buying food during the ride are usually not that great and thus I bring most of my food in the form of Clif Bars.

    During the summer this means that I can mostly get by with a saddle wedge bag and my jersey pockets (it's amazing how much stuff fits in there...). If the weather conditions require more clothing options, I opt for the Carradice Nelson or an Ortlieb Front Roller.

  32. "dr2chase said...
    "...Big fan of Lezyne pumps."

    I like the way Susan has hers attached here. Seems practical and not overly cumbersome.

  33. My cycling consists of mainly recreational, or exploratory mileage.
    The Pashley Parabike has a Carradice Barley on the back and a zip roll on the front. This has to carry Sketch books, cameras, drawing and sketching paraphernalia - plus all the usual cycling requisites.
    The Brompton by it's nature has a some great options for storage and stowage - but strangely enough I prefer my Tilly Intrepid [Messenger style bag], and invariably go native for anything more than basic snacks and drinks.
    I've adopted this regime because if I've driven to a site, and then gone on with the Brom' and experience a problem - all it takes is to call a cab and I'm back at the car in two shakes. I guess a lot depends on how you're using your bikes and what you expect from them - of course; Your mileage may vary.

  34. Peppy, have you done comparisons of mice with other energy foods like bananas, fig newtons, cliff bars?

  35. bwhahahahah... I am the luggage queen or idiot, depends on point of view. Around the village it's always double panniers as I will stuff them full to the brim with groceries or shopping. In the bottom is a pump and spare tube and levers. Nothing stinks more than a full load of groceries with a flat.

    On a one to two hour trip it's a handlebar bag with tools, camera, gloves, wallet, keys and fruit or fig newtons. Rain jacket gets rolled up and shoved somewhere. Rain is just a part of life here in NL. Often overshoes too.

    On tour... well.. I love my folding sink and gas stove. I've tried packing light but I just can't manage it. I want my self-inflating mattress instead of a thinner one, a simple black t-shirt dress used as night gown/dinner dress/museum clothing. Shower shoes are mandatory at most campsites etc. There are just certain things I can't go "ultra light" on. :(

  36. I have a Carradice saddlebag fitted in which I can carry allen keys, chain tool, and 15mm spanner for wheelnuts. I have a frame fitting Zefal pump on the bike. The Carradice allows me to carry a waterproof coat, and food. In past years I carried a Trangia stove for a brew up during the ride. Don't do the same miles anymore so there is no need.

  37. cycler & Peppy - Eating city mice strikes me as risky; you don't know what kind of contaminated garbage they've been feeding on. I hope Peppy sticks to organic, free-range mice from some nice farm.

  38. How does Peppy keep his fur dry in the rain?

  39. Much of my cycling is in rural areas, sometimes without much car traffic. That's usually not the case around Paris, but I also don't have anyone I can call for a ride. So like Hobbes vs Boyle, I'd rather carry an extra pound of tools and spare parts than face a 3-hour walk to the nearest train station. Hence, I carry what I need to fix the most likely problems:

    For flats: Vulcanizing patch kit, spare tube, tire levers (Crank Bros. speed lever, plus 2 on my multitool), and Lezyne HVG frame pump (my only pump at present, so the hose is nice).

    For other problems: Alien II multitool, a bunch of zip ties, tire boot, Fiberfix spare spoke, emergency derailleur hanger, portable cassette remover, spare SRAM power link for my 8-speed chain, spare derailleur and brake cables, needlenose pliers, crescent wrench, and Pitlock pit for my skewers and seat post binder bolt. In the US I usually carry a first aid kit, too; I haven't gotten one here in France yet but I really should. It sounds like a lot, but most of this stuff is very light.

    In case I'm out longer than planned: Petzl Tikka Plus headlamp, reflective Sam Browne belt and ankle bands. My main bikes have generator-powered lights; the headlamp is for reading signs, fixing flats, and being seen in an emergency. I don't mind getting cold and wet, but I do like being seen when it's dark and wet.

    Because you never know: plastic spork (actually two-ended, spoon on one end and knife/fork on the other), cargo net for the rack (lets me carry big things without needing a pannier), a couple short straps, some change, and a helmet cover that doubles as a cover for my leather saddle if I have to leave the bike in the rain. A honking big Abus Granit-X U-lock is mounted to the bike, because this year my bike is either in Paris or Oxford, both of which have serious bike theft problems.

    Most of that stays in my Carradice Zip Roll saddlebag. The exceptions are the pump (attached to the frame), the Petzl lamp (usually in a handlebar bag), and the Pitlock pit (clipped in in the handlebar bag, with a spare on the keychain that stays in my pocket). Sure, I don't always need all of it, but it's much easier to just leave it there and not have to think about it.

    I also take a handlebar bag (man purse) that has my wallet, mobile phone, sunglasses, keys, camera, spare battery for my Garmin computer, cue sheets, any maps I need, plus food. I often stop at convenience stores for food, but in rural Massachusetts and Île-de-France I can't always count on running across one, so I like to bring a couple things to eat if I'll be out for more than 40 miles or so. Sometimes I'll stop at a local bakery and pick up a sandwich to eat an hour or two later.

    I sweat copiously, so I try to avoid carrying much in my pockets.

    Here's a photo of my current setup. The pump is on the monotube, behind the water bottle.

    When I'm touring, I add a folding spare tire, since it can be hard to find 406 tires with smooth tread, and some spare spokes.

    I will sometimes toss a book in my bag if I think it's likely I'll sit around at a café or at a park for a while, and an extra layer if I suspect the weather will change. Most of what I carry, though, on fast recreational or fitness rides, is not for comfort or entertainment, but to fix problems that might arise. That seems to be a different category from the items that you mentioned in your post; those are more comfort-related.

  40. Peppy (the whole mouse)December 2, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I eat the whole mouse.

  41. "How does Peppy keep his fur dry in the rain?"

    Her fur. Peppy is a lady cat.
    I think she waterproofs it with a special conditioner.

  42. I haven't found a jersey that I like and that fits, so I'm stuck with a bag. I do need to get a smaller one though, as I've been using one of my touring saddlebags. I just need a bag that fits my lock, first aid kit, a snack and my repair kit. A rain jacket or layers I take off can just get bungeed to my rack.

  43. Once a pack rat always a pack rat. I find that I haven't changed over the years and I'm still one of those self sufficient people that resort to "touring mode" just to go to the post office. But that's fine with me. I'll be out there changing other people's flats and bandaging their knees, just because I can.

  44. dotted lines - I found shopping for jerseys to be a torturous and degrading process. The ones made for women seem to be designed to pinch, itch and accentuate rolls of belly fat. The wool ones tend to be more flattering though, particularly Ibex and Swobo. Among the non-wool options, I like the fit of Campagnolo and Capo, though both are expensive.

  45. Peppy (the aqua team hunger cat)December 2, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    Forest cats have several layers of fur, with different properties. Sometimes I go for a swim.

  46. For commuting: PDW 15mm wrench/tire levers (about aize of index finger) and 1 tube (I cant patch to save my life) in a Brooks Challenge saddle bag. Also a frame pump on the frame. Wallet, keys, cell phone, and u lock.

    For rides with friends: map, bannana, pb&j, camera all stuffed in y jersey pockets.

    I used to think I had to bring a lot more but Ive learned to tone it down. On large group rides I tend to be the official mechanic and bring a pannier with tools. Last group ride I had to put a crank arm back on, good thing I brought my 9mm allen wrench!

  47. Mostly I only carry what goes in the jersey pockets. Sometimes a tiny pouch under the seat on a very long ride for the tire levers etc., and so I don't have pointy stuff in my pockets. I have tiniest little hand pump you ever saw. I make sure I can fix a flat and broken chain, that's it. I prefer the feeling of being light. It feels good. And I like the simplicity.

  48. It depends on the bike. My full-size commuter has a Carradice College bag on the back with various tools, bungee cords and extra baggage options, since that's for long-distance and heavy hauling. My Raleigh Twenty is for short hops to and from trains, so it doesn't have anything on it other than whatever I carry in my briefcase or messenger bag, and my fixie (when it's in working order, don't ask) only has a spare tube and tire levers tucked under the seat with a toe-clip strap, and a minipump clipped to the frame.

  49. Well, right now all I have is the 21 speed Electra Townie, which I've been using as an exercise bike around our little hilly neighborhood. (Bike rule: You never realize how hilly an area is until you bike it.) So I carry ID w/ emergency contact info, house keys, garage door opener, and phone. This goes in the little camera bag I velcro strapped to the handlebars or one of my smallish dog walking purses. Haven't been on a major ride w/ the Townie yet, but I have all of the equipment (patch kit, pump, multitool, etc.) Depending upon the situation, I will use a larger purse (in lieu of messenger bag) to carry stuff for medium range rides. Also have a convertible backpack/gym bag that I plan to use for longer distances.

    Side note: The Shibas are too big to go in a basket up front or in the back, so if I ever decide on dog transport, it would have to be in an attached trailer.

  50. Funny ... and glad to know I'm not the only one with the ongoing self-debate over what to carry and what to carry it in.

    To solve my own dilemma, I just put one of Rivendell's medium saddlesacks on my Hunqapillar. I got tired of trying to figure out where to put stuff, especially when taking my DSLR and lenses. Backpacks just aren't comfortable for me, and I prefer to keep smaller stuff up front (just a personal thing).

    When the Rivendell bag first arrived, I was shocked and thought it was enormous, possibly a big mistake and a lot more bag than I could ever need. But after using it for a bit, it's actually the perfect solution. It just stays on the bike, secured to the rack and saddle loops for a very stable mounting. My spare tube, larger pump, and tool kit are always in it, and I can put in whatever else I might need for the ride at hand ... camera, extra clothing, lunch, books, etc. The bag itself is pretty light, as far as bags go, so the only weight is whatever might be inside. It doesn't really matter if I have a big bag that's mostly empty sometimes.

    It's nice to have options.

    My road bike, on the other hand, is lightly equipped, with no racks or large bags, just a tool roll and pump. Although I do enjoy riding it, I don't ride it as much, because it limits where I can go and what I can do. Faster, yes ... versatile, no. The Hunqapillar goes anywhere and can do anything, so it's the one I ride almost always. I guess I've gotten over the "go fast" thing in my old age.

    On another note, I hope Peppy is a little more choosy than the Forest Cat I used to have. He brought home field mice, chipmunks, and birds. It was cute for a while, but then he brought a live snake into the house as a toy, and couldn't understand why I wouldn't let him keep it. Such a beautiful cat ... and our dogs feared him greatly.

  51. What are you to do with a flat? Or two? If all you have is a banana or apple?

    That said,I carry......too much,LOL! I'm an old boy scout-type of rider,I could almost disassemble\reassemble my complete bike with what I carry tools-wise,camera,extra H20,first aid kit,toiletries,etc. I'd rather carry too much a hundred times than not enough once...of course,I'm thinking of mtn biking with the above,and I almost always (7 out of 10 times) ride alone,and sometimes pretty far for walking out. For the road,a multi-tool,H20,pump\patch kit and spare tube,sometimes a camera (when my son's riding with me) :)

    Disabled Cyclist

  52. You know, some people can't fix a flat. Or use bikey tools to any effect.

    This bike has a tiny wedge with all necessary stuff to fix a flat, and perform minor adjustments, but it's more of a club requirement than a realistic expectation.

    We are not in stone age. There are cell phones, cabs, friends, etc. This notion of "you must carry/wear/do X or else" keeps a lot of folks from riding bikes.

  53. I prefer to keep tools and tube wrapped up in a rag, and then just transfer those to whichever bike is going out, but this doesn't work as well with the variety of bike ages (need different tools) and wheel sizes (need different tubes) I have. Nor do all my bikes have bags, so sometimes I stay closer to home and pay more attention to what I'm rolling over.

    Other than that, wallet/phone/keys tend to go in cargo shorts or bag, and water bottle in a cage, and that's it for most of the year. In cooler weather I keep a windbreaker in one bag (but I've never actually used it). Sometimes I take a Larabar or trailmix snack.

  54. When riding a road bike, I have a small saddlebag with multi-tool, tire lever, co2 cartridge, and a spare tube. I then use my jersey to carry a packable jacket, wallet, keys, phone, and food. I have 2 bidon cages, but usually only use the downtube one.

  55. Here is my under-the-saddle wedge on the Moser. Once it's on, I consider it part of the bike really.

  56. I'm a bicycle tourist at heart, ever since my first 6,000 mile tour 27 years ago. These days I just leave the touring panniers on the bike - they weigh very little anyway. Somehow, the only bag I pack for everyday use is the handlebar bag, and all it usually gets is a couple of local maps, a puncture repair kit, a spare inner tube, a pair of gloves and a high visibility vest if it gets dark. I don't usually even carry tools or a rain cape anymore, because i rarely go farther from home than a couple of miles, water won't kill me, and I always have my trusty 'Handyman' Swiss Army Knife in my pocket to help change an inner tube. The front and rear panniers stay empty in case I decide to do a grocery run or in case the kid brings home an art project that needs a pannier.

  57. It is the duty of my soigneur to ensure that all my personal items are ready to hand in the team car.

    My domestiques bring me that which is necessary as it is required.

    Riding without encumbrance is to be savored.

  58. I used to carry at least one kitchen sink, if not two. As I've gotten stronger and faster, I've realized that I'm never really that far from home, so I don't feel the need to carry as much. I started to carry even less once I realized that most of my rides are along bus routes. I could - and sometimes do - get by with just a phone, ID, and bus fare. The one thing I can't quite get rid of in the summertime is a book. If the weather is nice, I will inevitably want to stop at some scenic area and read. This has influenced my choice of bags somewhat, although I now have a jersey that could easily fit a paperback.

  59. MDI, I agree with most of what you say. While Portland is indeed beyond the Stone Age, there are some rural areas beyond town where I sometimes ride that may not be so advanced. Having appropriate tools (and the know-how to use them) is a good idea. These are areas with no transit service and where cabs don't go. That is if you can reach a cab on the phone, as there are areas with zero cell reception. At best you can hope that a driver who passes you may give you a ride, but some areas are so remote in the off season that you might not see anyone.

  60. One of the things I'd done with my fixed-gear bike was to find as many parts as I could that used 5mm allen-head bolts, that way, I could adjust or repair the entire bike (except for the crankset and seatpost so far) with a single small wrench. It was nice to go for the occasional ride with nothing but a tiny pack under the saddle and maybe an ID and a couple dollars in a pocket.

  61. @MDI - but with all things, it depends. If I *can* repair my own bike, it seems silly for a dozens-of-pounds overweight guy on a 65-70lb cargo bike not to pack the tools for likely failures. That said, I work pretty hard to have a bike where that won't be necessary -- the tires have kevlar belts, the rims are enormous wide multiwalled things, disk brakes, durable hubs, that sort of thing.

    The size of a cargo bike also limits repair-portaging options somewhat; it's not like you can toss a longtail or a box bike in the trunk of a cab, unless it is a minivan with the seats down.

  62. Our family lives car free, so carrying tools is a must. This idea of having a cell phone to call a taxi, friends or family just doesn't work for us. Many of our friends are car free as well!

    The other thing too is... I'd have a hard time inconveniencing a family member to come pick me and my bike up unless it was an emergency. Petrol is 12.00 US dollars a gallon. A bike tube is 5 euros and 10 minutes to switch out. Buses here will not carry bikes, but the trains will for 7 euros. A spare tube is just the common sense thing to do and cheaper!

  63. road ride: tube, tire levers, mini pump, phone, ccard, dr lic, chapstick, house key, water.

    city ride to a board meeting: bike tool (to take off my tires if I get a flat - I do not have quick release skewers on this bicycle), mini pump, front and rear lights, two bicycle locks, pen, phone, ccard, dr lic, chapstick, house key, water (or just water bottle to fill when I arrive), agenda, some sort of bag to put it all in (working on improving that system).

  64. MDI - I understand the purpose of encouraging people to ride even if they don't know how to fix a flat -- yes, by all means, go and ride and have a great time. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they should continue to remain ignorant if they have the physical capability of changing a bike tire.

    It is still inconvenient to call friends for a pickup and asking them to re-arrange their plans to rescue you. Some cabs lack the cargo space to adequately transport a bicycle. Bike racks are not installed on all buses.

    In any case, in many of the scenarios that you describe, unless you're near a bike shop, getting a flat means the end of your ride. Being able to fix a flat means that your fun can continue with only this momentary interruption.

  65. I would guesstimate that only a single digit percentage of cyclists I see around can fix their own flats in the field. I guess they are all irresponsible risk takers at others' expense.

    I am not suggesting that when cycling outside cab/cell phone/civilization range one should not be prepared. It's best to not go there if not prepared.

  66. MDI - Your second sentence doesn't necessarily follow your first. Which one is the minority?

    If you're saying that people shouldn't engage in activities without being prepared, then how do you propose folks test for cell or cab availability? Is there a Google Maps filter that allows one to overlay wireless tower ranges and cab coverage in a given area?

    That seems like a lot of work or a substantial curtailment on one's riding options when one could just learn how to fix a flat tire*

    * of course assuming that one has the physical capability to do so.

  67. Maybe I've lived in/near major cities for too long, but I can't imagine not knowing when you are vs are not in cell/cab/friends range.

    I am actually not sure what you mean. I am certainly not saying that people should forget how to fix flats or avoid learning how.

    Again, perhaps I am living too near city centers, but when is the last time you've seen someone change their car tire on the side of the road as opposed to call AAA or limp into a gas station?

  68. MDI - When it comes to road cycling (as opposed to transportation), I guess I somewhat disagree with you, even though a cyclist such as myself is precisely who you have in mind.

    Case study: This morning I met up with another cyclist for a ride, and as I arrived I noticed that my front brake caliper had gotten misaligned. I was not able to fix it myself. However, I had a multitool in my saddle wedge, and the cyclist I met up with was able to fix it for me in 2 minutes using that tool. So having that tool made all the difference between doing the ride vs having to turn around and slowly cycle home. I am of the school of thought that cyclists should not be shamed for being unable to do their own repairs. But having that tiny saddle wedge permanently attached to the bike can at least make it possible for a more mechanically inclined cyclist to help you out.


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