Your long ride essentials
The saying goes: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” It’s a life lesson, but it’s also equally true when it comes to road cycling.
You don’t want to be lugging around a backpack full of gear, but there are certainly some things you shouldn’t leave the house without when you’re embarking on a sizeable ride.
Here are six of our favourite items you should never leave home without:
With the human body made up of approximately 60% water, it should be no surprise that you’ll need to stay well hydrated to get the best performance. Make sure you’ve got at least one water bottle with you and keep it topped up with your favourite mix of electrolytes and carbohydrates for energy.
Flat tyres happen – and usually when you’re furthest from home. Having a set of tyre levers will make it much easier to prise a tight tyre off without damaging the rim.
Spare inner tube
Patching up damaged inner tubes can be dangerous on the side of a busy road – and it’s, frankly, a bit of a pain. Wait until you’re home to make any repairs and replace the whole inner tube while you’re out. Make sure your spare tube is the correct width for your tyres and that the valve length is correct for your rims.
Pump / CO2 canister
It’s tempting to buy a small pump for convenience’s sake, but these are often fairly infective. A larger pump which attaches to the frame will make inflating a tyre far easier as more air enters the tube with each stroke – and if you’ve got space for a CO2 canister, these can do the job in seconds.
Handlebars, the stem and seatpost clamps will all need to be tweaked along the way. A good bike multitool will have a range of hex keys, screwdrivers, sockets and wrenches to keep you on the road. Light weight, versatile and very affordable, Silverline’s 13 function tool will do the job.
Finally, don’t forget cash, a debit card, a phone, food and waterproofs. Marshals will ensure you don’t get lost on the Prudential RideLondon course, but if you’re cycling alone, it’s easy to stray off-track. You should also consider carrying ID in case you are involved in an accident.