Long bikes rides are a wonderful way to enjoy your time to yourself or others and get in some much needed fun. However, if you do plan on spending hours or even days on your favorite bike route, there are some things that you will want to take with you. This simple checklist will help you take on any challenge or emergency you may meet on the bike trail.
Water is the most quintessential thing you can take with you on your bike ride. Don’t worry about carrying a giant water bottle as many routes will come across a roadside rest station or a park where you can refill your water bottle as needed. If you go off-road cycling make sure you carry a portable water filter with you and know where a natural water source will be.
Since most people will be on the trail for as long as they can, they will likely wish to eat a snack at some point in order to stay fueled. The best snacks to take are either a power bar or something else with carbohydrates and protein. Some good snacks for bike rider include bananas, nuts, peanut butter, and dried fruits.
If your bike ride will last for one or more days, you will need to carry food for meals. If your route includes a restaurant or hotel simply carry cash/credit card for your meals.
3. Sun Protection
Bad sunburns can be excruciating and can happen to any part of the body that you do not cover. Sunburns can also take place on cold days or on cloudy days. Therefore, no matter what the weather is like, take measures to prevent sunburn.
A good preventive measure is sunscreen. Some people are more susceptible to sunburn than others. Even if you think one coat of sunscreen is good enough for your ride, go ahead and take a small bottle with you anyway. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Take sunglasses as well. Despite what many people think, you can get sunburn on your eyeballs. This is excruciating and not something you want to play around with.
Lastly, wear long sleeves. This may be impossible if the weather is very hot but long sleeves are the ultimate protection against the sun. This is because the UV rays that cause sunburn cannot reach your skin and cause damage. Also, if you wear lighter/brighter colors the sunlight will be reflected off your body and keep you cooler. Just make sure you pick the right shorts, as some may be more revealing than others.
4. First Aid
First aid is very important if you’re biking on a nature trail, off-road, or mountain biking. As you will likely have to take care of yourself should an accident happen, a small first aid kit won’t go amiss. Some band-aids, antibacterial cream, and maybe a few anti-inflammatory pills should be enough. Also, if you take any medications you should consider having those in there as well. What kind of first aid kit you have is really up to you and what you think your needs for that bike ride will be.
5. A Time and GPS Device
If you are going on a bike ride that will last days it’s a good idea to have a device with you that can very accurately account for the time and your GPS coordinates. Many smartphone apps are perfectly capable of handling this. However, you can also buy devices at your local athletic or outdoor equipment store that will also be waterproof and tougher than your phone would be. However, it’s also a good idea to take your phone with you in case you need to call for help.
This is where you think about all the other things you may need while on your bike ride. Chapstick, gloves, extra bike clothes, cash, your ID, and safety equipment such as extra reflectors or a whistle. A whistle may seem like an odd thing to carry but if you’re going mountain biking for an extended period you should consider taking one in case you get lost. A whistle will carry sound further than a shout and you won’t run the risk of your voice becoming hoarse and useless when you need it most.
7. Tire Repair Kit
This one also speaks for itself. Having a tire repair kit with you allows you to change a fixed tire whenever you need to so you can continue your journey without much delay.
8. Bags and Racks
And because no one expects you to carry all of this stuff in your pockets make sure you invest in solid and well made bike bags and racks. Some people prefer backpacks and others prefer to strap their stuff to the bike itself. Your own choice likely depends on the type of route you will be taking. Waterproof bags are always a plus when you’re out on the trail.
Long bike rides can be a perfectly pleasant way to spend a day or your entire vacation outside doing what you love most. Prepare a detailed checklist of all the things you’ll need for your cycling adventure and check it twice. This will keep you from finding yourself in a real pickle later on!