Cycling Tools And ‘What If’s’ To Carry On A Ride


Deciding which bicycling tools to bring along on a bike ride is a common part of the experience for all cyclists except the most spontaneous individuals. Spontaneous riders just get on their bikes and begin riding. Imagine that.

That’s a refreshing picture, but not too amusing.

It’s the riders on the other end of the be-very-careful / just-do-it spectrum that are great sources of entertainment. More on that later.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me reveal that I only carry a couple of cheap ‘energy’ bars from Costco, a tube, a C02 inflater, a tire iron, and my CELL PHONE. My wife keeps suggesting that I carry the little ‘Runner’s ID’ dog tag she got me for Christmas, but I’m still convinced that any information necessary for shipment of my sorry carcass to the morgue can be obtained from my cell phone.

And for me, that’s the key: the cell phone. I figure I can always call for help.

Except when I’m way back in the mountains where lions, and tigers, and bears are a reality. For those situations, should they happen, I carry a container of ‘spontaneous problem solving’. I figure that if inmates can break out of maximum security prisons with only a sharpened spoon, I, too, can figure out how to get out of most situations.

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Don’t Forget To Bring These ‘What If’s’

Recently, I was dutifully researching the topic of which items to bring on a ride, when I came across a site that had successfully solicited suggestions from its readers. The writer had laid out a few items to carry along and then included a ‘share what you carry’ option. The responses were amusing. To my readers who are in the be-very-careful camp, the reaction may not be ‘that’s funny!’, but instead ‘that’s a great idea!’.

You know who you are.


-‘Kate’ from New Hampshire brings bug spray and binoculars for bird watching.

I suppose that’s a good idea. It may force us triple-type-A’s to slow down and view the sparrows. I think I may also strap a shotgun onto my back in case any of the birds look like they’re made of tasty meat.

-‘Boy Scout’ suggested a list so long that I’d be convicted of plagiarism if I were to copy and paste it onto this site. Some of the more interesting items are safety pin, wet wipe, chain tool, extra screws, tampon, chain whip, duct tape, electrical tape, derailleur cable, and vice grips.

So many great ideas, so little spontaneity. How about a small TV in case the Tour de France is televised during the ride? And what’s a Boy Scout without a campfire? A bundle of firewood would fit nicely in a knapsack (‘knapsack’ is Boy Scout talk).

‘Rider from Ireland’ takes along spare glasses in case he stops to wipe his glasses, …and because he’s tired, …they slip from his grip,… and fall down a hillside. He begrudgingly acknowledges that it might never happen, but ‘What If?’.

These things do happen. I was just thinking…I’ve heard of instances in which a pedestrian is struck so hard by a car that they’re literally knocked out of their shoes. Could happen to me on my bike. I’ve taken to strapping an extra pair of lightweight SIDI’s to my back.

‘Rich’ advocates a pen and notepad in case you think of anything else to bring next time.

I like that. Be very careful and make plans to be even more careful in the future. Live a little, Rich, and bring a typewriter.

‘Rider from Ireland’ gets back on board to note that his ’tissues’ wedge in between his steering tube and his front reflector in a dandy fashion.

Bravo! Us Yanks have been wedging tissues between our left and right butt cheeks for years. Not quite dandy, but that’s what a guy has to do if he’s unwilling to leave the $1.29 tacky front reflector on his full carbon road bike.

And MORE from ‘Rider from Ireland’- Be sure to bring a map and field compass…and emergency rations like energy bars. But avoid bars with salt, fat, or additives.

I know what he means about the energy bars. I’ve taken to carrying Turnip bars with me. The celery bars worked reasonably well until I found out that celery’s high in sodium.


One last word of advice from ‘Rider from Ireland’- Bring extra batteries for any lights that may be needed, should your lights dim on the way home in the dark.

I was just thinking…Why should you ‘double down’ on an energy source (electricity) that failed you in the first place? Why not carry a Coleman lantern with a tidy little canister of white gas?

Of course, there’s the solution that’s glaring in its omission- an extra bike! While a bike on your backside won’t solve all ‘what if’s’, it doesn’t take up too much room.

There’s still space for the firewood, shotgun, binos, TV, extra shoes, typewriter, turnip bars, gas lantern, and…

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2 Responses to Cycling Tools And ‘What If’s’ To Carry On A Ride

  1. Macdougal says:

    nice! thanks for sharing. looking forward for more =)

    • admin says:

      Macdougal,

      If you know of any interesting things people carry along on their rides, let us know.

      Ron