What to bring on a Ride–A guest blog from Andrea
Today, we have a special article by Andrea Milano, our intrepid and fearless ride leader !!!
Andrea leads bike rides in the Haymarket and Warrenton area, with several rides during the week, and a longer ride on the weekend. For more details, and to join rides, please join the ‘Fauquier/Haymarket Cycling’ google group.
to get you ready for our rides…
What to bring on a Ride
· Bike – I guess this part is obvious. A road bike is preferred for the distances we’ll be riding. It’ll be more comfortable and significantly faster than a hybrid for longer rides.
· Helmet – This is mandatory. Any helmet you buy will have about the same safety features. More money will get you nicer designs, more adjustment options, more vents for cooling, and lighter weight.
· Water Bottles – Your bike should have one or more water bottle cages. It’s worth investing in bike bottles so you can drink while riding. An alternative is to buy bottled water with a sports cap. Those don’t work as well in all cages though. For Tour de Cure, the rest stops are generally 10-15 miles apart, so there will be plenty of opportunities to refill bottles as needed. Water stops will probably not be quite that close together on your long self-supported training rides, so you should plan a way to carry what you need to go 25 or so miles if you can.
· Water/Sports Drink – Find what you like and use it on your rides. Especially as you go longer and it gets hotter. I like to carry a bottle of Accelerade and a bottle of water, plus more Accelerade powder to mix more bottles of sports drink as I choose.
· Food – Food is important when you go for longer than an hour or hour and a half. I prefer sports bars (Luna bars, sometimes Cliff bars, Balance bars, Honey Stinger bars). Some people like gels. Some people like bananas. I think the best approach is usually to have a variety of different options to choose from so you can generally find something to eat that appeals to you. My preference is generally to eat a little bit at a time as I ride along. So I’ll munch on a bar over the course of an hour, with a target of eating one an hour. You need to find the approach that works best for you, and practicing on your training rides will help you to figure that out.
· Electrolyte Replacement – On a hot day, if you’re going longer than about 2 hours, you need to consider electrolyte replacement. This is especially important if you are a heavy sweater or if you are drinking plain water. The issue is that you’re sweating out salt water, and replacing it with plain water. This can throw your body out of balance. I prefer to use Endurolye capsules, and on a hot day will swallow 2 an hour or so. The amount of electrolytes in sports drinks is not sufficient for many people on a hot day. If you find yourself cramping, or feeling like you can’t focus, suspect that you need more salt. If you don’t have any electrolyte replacement products at hand, eat a banana or some pretzels or salty chips and you’ll start feeling better.
· Saddle Bag – I’m about to list some mechanical stuff you should carry “just in case”. Even if you don’t know how to fix things, having the right tools and supplies will allow someone else to help you. A saddlebag is the perfect place to carry your “just in case” supplies. Here’s what’s in my saddlebag. I included links on Amazon for some of the items below. Those are just examples. You may find them cheaper elsewhere, especially for the smaller items!
o Extra sports bar (just in case!)
o Extra sports drink powder
o Spare tube (in a zip loc bag with a little corn starch or baby powder)
o CO2 Cartridges x 2 (get them cheap at Wal-Mart – you want 16g cartridges made for air guns) and CO2 Dispenser (Genuine Innovations Nano Microflate Inflator (Yellow) )
o Note that you could carry a frame pump as an alternative or addition (Topeak Pocket Rocket Master Blaster Bike Pump )
o Presta Valve adapter (Presta Adapter )
o Glueless patch kit (Park Tool Self-Adhesive Patch Kit )
o Multitool (Topeak The Mini 9-Function Bicycle Tool )
· Shirt with pockets (or Bike Jersey, preferably with 3 back pockets) – This is where I carry things I think I’m mostly likely to want access to during a ride:
o Sports bars (1 per hour that I think the ride will last, plus an extra one for good measure if I’m not sure)
o Zip loc bag with driver’s license, health insurance card, credit card, money, salt tabs, any meds I might need (e.g., inhaler), car keys, cell phone
o Sports drink powder (for longer/hotter rides)
o A couple tissues
· Bento box (optional) – some people like to use a bento box on their bike to carry more stuff, like some of their nutritional products (Louis Garneau Gel Box 2 Top Tube Bag ). You’ll see me put one on my bike for very long rides.
· Bike shorts – highly recommended once you get into longer rides. They make a huge difference in comfort. Note that the chamois in bike shorts is meant to go next to your skin, with no clothing between. A couple people have asked me about brands, but I think it’s really a personal preference thing. You need to figure out which brands work best for you. I used to be a huge Pearl Izumi fan, but lately have preferred Zoot, De Soto, and Sugoi.
· Bike Shoes/Clipless Pedals (optional) – These are also optional, but will make you much more powerful on the bike.
· Camelback – I’m not personally a Camelback fan/user, but some people find them really useful and helpful to maintain hydration. This might be a good choice if you have trouble drinking often enough using bike bottles or only have a single bottle cage on your bike.
Someone asked me if you need a backpack to carry all the stuff. I assure you a backpack is not needed!! If you ride with me, you’ll see that I fit what I need in my saddlebag and back pockets, and am prepared for most contingencies.