The Best Things to Have as a Cyclist

As a pro cyclist, I've learned a thing or two about how to prepare for a long bike ride, so I figured I should share some of the tips and tricks I've learned throughout my career. Here's my round-up of the top ten things you should bring on your next big cycling trip:

1. Foam Roller

Let’s face it, even if your spouse is a professional masseuse, you still are going to have to pull some magic to get a massage every day. For the 1-time price of only $30 - $60 you can have your own “choose your own adventure” massage every night! Get a foam roller!

2. Frame Pump

Unless you are highly skilled at the shake-weight, a frame pump will save you time and effort when your tires get flat. (One time a buddy used one to fend off a rabid dog that chased us through a desert in Arizona -- that’s enough reason to get a frame pump right there!)

3. Front and Rear Riding Lights

I’ve been hit by 3 cars, which makes me the ranking officer on this topic. Visibility = Safety. Hit by car = Total bummer. Get your front and rear gear lights!

4. Chamois Cream:

Pro tip: I recommend Aquaphor. The petroleum jelly base lasts for the entire ride, reducing friction and treating sensitive skin the entire time. A giant tub of Aquaphor is reasonably priced compared to other brands of chamois cream and is readily available at almost any drugstore.

5. Two Tubes

What is 1 – 1 = ? The answer is zero! That is how many tubes you now have after getting a flat tire 45 miles from home into a headwind with tired legs and an unavoidable trip past a broken glass factory with poor quality control standards (yes, I am speaking from experience). The point: Bring a second tube with you!

6. Wool Things

Wool retains 80% of its insulating capability when wet, which means you can sweat and get rained on while staying warm all day. I recommend arm warmers and a wool hat, and if you're really cool, a long sleeved wool jersey.

7. Old T-Shirts and Socks

You should be oiling and wiping your chain at least once a week (I can hear my mechanic grumbling) and nothing works better than an old tube sock to run the chain through to keep it clean and shifting well.

8. Multi-Tool:

There are a lot of good ones out there, just make sure they have a chain cutter, which brings us to the next item on my list…

9. Quick Link:

Having a way to repair a broken chain may seem a bit overkill, but I did it because I read one of these lists once, and sure enough I broke a chain when I was 40 miles away from home. 10 minutes later, I was covered in grease (because I hadn’t been saving my t-shirts and my chain was a dismal mess). Trust me, carrying an extra chain link with you is worth the hassle.

10. Camera (Phone)

There are amazing things you’ll see when you're out riding and you’ll want to be able to share your experience with others when you get home.

I hope this list helps you prepare for your next ride.  If you have any other items you think should be on here, let me know in the comments section. It'd be great to hear what you have to say.

Ride safe and #TrainWithHeart!

By Jim Stemper 

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