Consider keeping a “go-to” gear bag partially packed at all times with a few simple items that are either easily forgotten at home or will help make your day in the saddle as epic as possible. Keep your gear bag in an easily accessible location so all you have to do is throw in your riding kit and helmet, load your bike onto your car, and hit the road. It’s a huge time saver since you won’t be running around at the last minute, tracking down all the little stuff you might need for the day.
In addition to you riding kit, helmet, shoes, and nutrition, here’s a list of 12 items you shouldn’t be without in your cycling gear bag:
- A skirt. Yes, you heard right…a skirt. A short skirt made out of stretchy material comes in handy for changing. It’s MUCH easier to shimmy in or out of your shorts using a skirt than a towel wrapped around your waist. Think about it…how many times have you dropped the towel mid-change and given everyone a show?!? It’s either happened to you or you’ve seen it happen to someone else.
- Sunscreen. Not much needs to be said here. Keep a tube in your gear bag and apply it before every ride. Sunburns suck. Skin cancer sucks even more.
- Warmers – both arm and leg. You never know when you might need them! Sometimes there can be a dramatic temperature shift between where you live or work and where you are going to ride. Better to just be prepared and have them on hand so you can stay warm and comfortable on the bike.
- Chamois cream. Chamois cream works best if you apply it immediately before you ride. So if you drive to the start of your ride kitted up, wait to apply your chamois cream until after you unload your bike and are gearing up to begin your ride.
- Wet wipes. Plain ol’ baby wipes or fancy-shmancy “bathing wipes” like Action Wipes. Either will do to get the dirt and sweat off your body and get you feeling (and smelling) as fresh as a daisy. A must if you plan to have coffee or need to run errands on the way home from your ride. Store package in a plastic ziplock bag to help keep them fresh longer.
- Extras – Gloves, socks, sunglasses. Yep, this is all the little stuff that’s really easy to forget. None of these items take up a ton of space in your gear bag, so toss some extras in there if you have them. Plus, you’ll be an instant hero to any of your friends who forgot theirs.
- Towel. Keep a bath-sized towel in your bag for all kinds of uses. If you got muddy on your ride, sit on your towel to avoid making a mess of your car seats. Use it to wipe your hands off after applying chamois cream or sunscreen. Use it to change under if you didn’t bring a changing skirt.
- Hat, headband, or bandana. “My hair always looks just perfect after I take my helmet off!”…said no one ever. Having a hat, bandana, or headband to throw on over your crazy helmet hair is nice if you are going into public after your ride.
- Tampons. When your monthly visitor arrives right before you get on your bike, scrambling around for a tampon takes the fun out of the ride before you even start. Especially if you are riding with a group of guys.
- Plastic bags. A great way to recycle plastic grocery bags is by keeping a few in your gear bag to use for sweaty riding gear or muddy shoes. This way your dirty stuff doesn’t get the clean stuff in your bag stinky and gross.
- A few bucks. Stashing a little money in your gear bag is handy if you’re riding from an area without an ATM nearby. If you have to pay to park anywhere or pay a day-use fee at parks or trailheads, having a few bucks on hand will prevent you from having to backtrack to find an ATM…or bum money from your riding buddies.
- ID bracelet. If you have a Road ID or similar ID bracelet, order a second one. If you don’t have one, order two. Keep one at home and one in your gear bag in case you forget to put it on before you leave. These little buggers can be lifesavers! If you are injured, it’s the best way for medics to identify you and get in touch with loved ones if needed.
We’d like to hear from you…what’s in your cycling gear bag? What’s that one item you never leave home without?