Freedom. The need to explore. The desire to get the heart pumping. Anyone who tosses a leg over a bicycle knows the feeling of getting out for a ride. Unfortunately that can all come crashing down to a halt for the rider who leaves the house unprepared! Just as anyone who has ever ridden a bike knows the joys of getting out for a ride, we also know that sometimes bad things happen to good people. An ounce of prevention really can go a long way towards keeping you on the road even when things don’t go as planned.  Here are some tips to make sure the ride stays fun, no matter the circumstances!
  • Check the battery level. It doesn’t need to be completely full (although that’s always good), but it should be appropriate for the length of ride you’re doing.
  • Check your tires! Inner tubes are permeable, and they’ll lose air over time. Having your tires pumped up within the range printed on the sidewall will help prevent flats and damage to the rim. A floor pump with a gauge is a great item to have at home. Gas station pumps operate on much higher volume and are generally a bad idea for bicycle tires.
  • Ensure that your front quick release skewer is tight. This is particularly important if you regularly remove the front wheel to transport the bike.
  • Grab both brakes to make sure they’re contacting the wheel. Brake pads wear over time, and cables eventually need adjusted—so making sure you can stop is always a good idea!
Once you’re out of the road it’s time to enjoy the ride! Of course, one of the best ways to truly enjoy the moment is to be free of worry and “what if’s”. Carrying a few key items with you can go a long way towards alleviating anxiety. Obviously, for longer treks you’ll want to consider carrying more gear, but here are a few things I carry with me on every ride. These items are stored in a simple seat pack that attaches to my bike saddle.
  • Small Bicycle pump or CO2 inflator. A way to inflate a tire in the case of a flat is always good to bring along. I carry a small pump that doubles as a co2 inflator, and 2 co2 cartridges. Since I’m often riding in cold rain, this can speed things up if I get a flat
  • A spare tube, tire levers and a patch kit.
  • A bicycle multi-tool. Something with metric hex keys and a screw driver.
  • 2 nitrile gloves. Bike chains can be messy! These take up almost no space.
  • An old Powerbar. It’s been a couple of years, so it’s probably time to change out the one in my seatpack! Carrying some “just in case” food is always a good idea
  • A 20 dollar bill.
  • Duct tape. I wrap this around a tire lever. Because, well, you never know when you’ll need some tape.
Of course, carrying these things will likely ensure that you’ll never need them—which is all the more reason to bring them along! A few quick pre-ride precautions and packing along a few items goes a long way to making sure you can always enjoy the ride!