Happy riding starts with careful preparation. It's hard to enjoy a long day on open roads when, in the back of your mind, you worry that the slightest mishap could leave you stranded. In general, cyclists travel light, but that doesn't mean leaving essential tools, clothes and food at home. A few essential items can prevent a minor mechanical or unexpected bad weather from derailing your ride.
Finding a reliable way to carry your extra gear is key to ride preparation. A saddle bag should be just big enough to hold the essentials, and maybe have a bit of extra room to slip in a map or extra food. Saddle bags vary in size and often can be attached to your seat with straps or a quick release bracket.
Recreational/Touring riders may find the Topeak Aero Wedge Pack - Quick Click Fixer more suited to their needs. Large enough for the repair kit, a map, a snack and maybe even a wind vest, Topeak's large wedge pack attaches to your saddle using a convenient quick release clamp. Be sure to note that each bike using the pack needs its own Topeak Fixer Saddle Rail Mount.
There are a wide range of pumps and CO2 devices that will give you air on the road. Topeak Micro Rocket is one of the most compact pumps we've seen. A traditional frame pump is the best way to ensure a ride-able tire pressure in your repaired tire.
A CO2 inflator is a fast way to inflate a tire to rideable pressure. Genuine Innovations Microflate is our smallest inflator and attaches to a Threaded CO2 Cartridge. Trigger activated CO2 like the Ultraflate offer a bit more control over the airflow and use Threadless CO2 Cartridge. A 16 gram cartridge easily fills a road or MTB tire to a rideable pressure. If you only carry a CO2 inflator, we would advise you to carry at least two cartridges. Even inflators that appear to reseal the cartridge lose pressure in a matter of minutes after the cartridge's seal is broken.
No roadside repair kit is complete without a patch kit, a patch kit allows for simple on-the-go tube repair. A tire boot is always useful in the event of major tire damage A couple Tire levers will help ease those stubborn tires off the rim.
Nothing is longer than the ride home after "bonking", depleting your glycogen stores. Most experienced cyclists can recall a few times, at the end of long rides, when they simply could not generate the strength needed to push the pedals. While an extra gel won't completely ward off the "bonk", it will ease the pain as you limp home. Clif Shot Energy Gels and Hammer Nutrition Energy Gels are individually packaged gels that easily fit in your saddle-bag. It's always good to carry a little more food than you think you'll need.
Flat kit, multi-tool, jacket, food. Four essential items to take with you whether your ride is planned for 10 or 100 miles. After a bit of practice, carrying these items will be second nature and take up very little room. Ideally, a flat kit will fit in your saddle bag, food in one jersey pocket, jacket in another, leaving the third to store your cell phone, ID and a little $$$ for a coffee stop. Being prepared on the road doesn't have to weigh you down.