“I’m afraid I’ll be stranded.”
This weekend my friend Missy and I did some triathlon training in Michigan (and also watched amazing athletes complete the Ironman 70.3 Steelhead in St. Joe’s for inspiration). This meant we would be biking a considerable distance in an unfamiliar area. Whether going on a long ride or just running to the store, getting stranded is one of those things I’m always secretly worrying is going to happen. Spoiler Alert – if you’re wondering if you will ever get stranded, you will and you’ll be just fine. In the meantime, just know how to prepare and you won’t have to worry about it.
I created a list to refer to whenever I want to double check that I have what I need. I’d highly recommend making a list of your own and keeping it with your bike gear. Boom. Problem solved.
To Bring List – Short Trip (3 miles or less):
- Helmet (I’m sure I didn’t need to tell you this one because you know better than to bike without it)
- Bike Lock + Key
- Cell Phone
Bonus Tip: Set your cell phone background to be a picture of your emergency contact phone number. That way if you get in an accident people can see your emergency contact information even if your phone is locked.
If and when you regularly take short trips, I also recommend designating a bike bag (mine is this one from Po Campo). The Six Corners bag is designed to easily clip to the bike and to fit what the basics you need. (It also doesn’t hurt that they are good looking bags). Having a designated bike bag ensures I know where my bike stuff is and keeps me from having to swap it every time.
To Bring List – Long Trips (3+ miles):
I’m not an expert road-rider, but when I go for a long ride I am usually going at least ten miles away. For those rides I bring the following items (in addition to the items above):
- Spare Tube: Make sure it’s the size you need – this is indicated on the sidewall of your tire (the two numbers with an x in the middle, ask at your local bike shop if you need help)
- Tire Pump
- Tire Levers (Don’t know how to fix a flat? Learn how here)
- Snack (like a Clif bar, fruit or trail mix)
- Wrench (if you don’t have quick release tires on the bike)
At this point I am going to stress the snacks. Personally, I love an excuse for a snack, so this isn’t a problem for me. However, suddenly feeling hungry when you’ve got a ways to go (especially if you’ve been drinking coffee all morning) can be slightly traumatic. Buy a box of Clif bars or Larabars and just always keep one in your bag.
Do Not Bring: (yes, there’s a “do not bring” list)
- Headphones. There is no reason you should ever be listening to headphones while you bike. Ever. Amen.