Part of the lure of cycling is the hours spent in quiet solitude while pedaling along miles and miles of peaceful country roads or the exhilaration of navigating a rugged bike trail through the wilderness. However, if the rider is not fully prepared to handle any needs and problems along the way, all those miles of solitude and wilderness beauty can quickly devolve into a very unpleasant situation. If you are an avid cyclist, or know someone who is, the following information will help ensure that you have everything you need to stay safe, even when cycling miles from home.
Covering the Basics
Riding your bike on daylong outings requires you to make arrangements that will ensure you:
- can maintain your body temperature, even in inclement weather conditions
- avoid dehydration
- maintain energy levels
- are equipped to handle injuries or illness
- can make emergency bicycle repairs
- have a way to contact help or assistance, if needed
In addition, you may also need to be able to navigate successfully through unfamiliar areas and help other bikers deal with issues or emergencies along the way. One of the best ways to accomplish all these things is to put together a basic biking pack that can be kept stocked and ready to grab at a moment's notice from your home, work or vehicle.
Making Good Choices
When choosing items in include in your bike pack, select those that are compact and lightweight to reduce unnecessary bulk. Good choices to include are:
- one or more ultra-thin solar blankets that can be used for both warmth, shelter from rain or as a tent (remember to also pack a small piece of rope to support the blanket when using it for an emergency tent or shelter)
- energy bars (or other compact food items such as nuts, dried fruit or jerky that will provide the protein, calories and nutrients required for long-distance biking)
- a small water bottle or bladder and some type of small purchased or DIY water purification device (this will allow you to remain hydrated easily by enabling you to use any available water source)
- a small first-aid kit (include a pressure bandage, smaller bandages for cuts, an elastic wrap for sprains and a tube of antibiotic ointment, as well as an epinephrine auto-injector if you are allergic to bees or stinging insects)
- a small, lightweight tool kit (make sure it includes a compact wrench tool that fits the nuts and bolts on your bike and a tire repair kit)
- your cell phone (if you will be riding in an area where your mobile phone does not work, consider purchasing a small, inexpensive disposable phone that you can keep in your pack for use in calling 911 from any area)
- a small pack that can be strapped onto the frame of your bike (make sure to choose the smallest model available that will hold all your supplies and ensure that it does not interfere with pedaling action, create a balance issue for your bike or rub against your leg or arm when riding)
Arrange all your essential items in the small pack, placing the most needed items on top where they will be able to be easily accessible when needed.
If the ride will take place in a rugged area that is without reliable cellular coverage, you will need to make other arrangements in case of an emergency. One option is to make sure that you leave detailed information with a trusted friend or relative. Be sure to include an accurate map of your route, where you will be departing from and what time you should be expected to call and let them know you are okay.
When shopping for any biking gear or supplies, start with a visit to a reputable bicycle shop in your area. Their knowledge and experience will help you plan for specific issues you may encounter while riding. They can also inspect your bicycle to ensure that it is up to the challenge of your next biking adventure.
For more information on cycling subjects, contact a company like Sarasota Cyclery Inc.