Friday, 24 May 2013

It’s not a sprint it’s a marathon – What to pack on a long ride!

The Long Ride Ahead!

A while ago on Dirt Worx News we posted 20 items that should be considered to take with you when you are going for a longer than usual ride. In the news that day we only listed them, but here we are going to break them down and tell you why these items are important!

When going on a long ride it’s always important to think what are the essentials to take with. However, this is also difficult as the last thing you want on your back is more weight, which will just make the ride uncomfortable, and if you are going to be in the saddle for more than 5 hours, it’s the last thing you want to think about. So where do we begin?

Back Pack/Hydration Pack -

A good spacious comfortable hydration pack is where this starts. There are plenty out there and some I would highlight more than others but the main thing to look at is comfortability, pocket space, obviously a good hydration system and again good packing space. Ones that often come up are the Camelbak Rogue or mule (holding 2L and 3L respectively). The great thing about these two is the space and how compact they are,  as well as comfortability that they have while on those long rides.
Ok now we have our “back pack” in hand, what else should you consider?

Spare Patch Kit –

Why would I need this if I have tubes? Simple they weigh nothing, take up no space at all and when you run out of tunes on those days which you think why am I riding, they can save you. Don’t take them for granted.

Tire Pump –

The world of the CO2 bomb is here for quite sometime now and yes, these things are awesome, but it also means you have to carry a few with you. On the other hand a reliable small compact (preferably double action) tire pump will never run out and will always be by your side. Clip it on the bike and off you go!

Multi-tool - 

Just as Bear Grills has his trusty flint and super-never-break-or-be-blunt knife; the bikers multi-tool is essential for any ride. These tools will literally save your life in most instances. Always spend a bit of extra cash on the good ones. Make sure it has all the relevant allen-key heads, both screwdriver types, built-in chain tool, wire cutters, pliers and tools for spokes – a leatherman can work but you will need another tool for the chain and spokes, so just don’t and get a bike tool!

Tire Levers –

The ever faithful tire lever is here to stay, no matter what you will use these, and be grateful you took them. They are light and take up no space, so no excuses

Shock Pump –

A little bit of a bulky tool to take along, and some would say not necessary, but it never hurts to be prepared to pump up the shocks when needed or in case of a slow leak this will help. It is also nice to fine tune the shocks for the long ride ahead.

Chain Lube –

Yes generally you need to lube your chain before the ride to allow it to dry properly etc etc. but you 
also need to always pack it just in case of those muddy rides, or dry sandy and dusty rides. A tip that you can use is, take a rubber band and wrap it around a small cloth around the bottle toclean the chain and dry off excess lube.

Sun screen and Lip Balm - 

In our environment of a mountain biker, the sun can be our friend or enemy, never the less always be prepared. pack a good lip balm and sun screen to protect you not only from the sun but other elements as well. After-all, it is not nice to be burnt to a crisp after an awesome long ride.

Phone –

Probably one of the most important accessories to take along with you. This is essential. With modern smart phones these days, it will help with not only calling in case of an emergency but also for GPS and other useful functions. Remember to have an “In case of an Emergency” contact list on the phone.

Packable Rain Jacket –

The elements can be friend or foe depending on how you look at it, but a rain jacket is an essential part of the equipment to take with. There are many different types of foldable brands out there. Look for a light yet sturdy and preferably wind proof one out there. Some to look at are First Ascent, Cape Storm, Atomic, Adidas.

First Aid Kit –

One should never leave home without one of these. They are generally light and compact enough to carry. A good one includes: bandages, gauze, disinfecting wipes and tweezers. A basic understanding of first aid should also be known.

Derailleur Hanger –

What is this? I don’t need this my bike is strong enough. How many people have said this and have come horribly short. A broken hanger can mean the end of your ride and if you have been going for a while and this happens, it’s a long walk back my friend. They are light and small to fit in easily into your pack…so pack it!

Extra links with a master link –

It goes without saying – if you have a chain you are always worried about that break. Pack extra links with a master link. Having this on board will let you carry on riding if you have any broken or bent links as well as full use of all gears.

Chainring Bolt –

These can sometimes sheer off or  rattle loose. Packing one will allow you to carry on riding with all rings intact

Energy drinks and snacks –

Always an essential item to take on a ling ride. With heat and possible dehydration setting in or hunger, have a pack of energy chews, snack bar or something to keep you going. If you have a bottle cage (most bikes do) have an extra bottle with some energy juice or rehydrate  to keep you going.

Zip ties –

The cyclists duct tape. These babies will come in handy not matter where you are and are useful for a 101 things. Carry a few with you and you will be surprised what they can do.

Spare cleats –

I found out first hand that these come in handy. Smashing your cleat on a rock or bending them does happen, so having a spare is always useful. Keep the bolts threaded in so you don’t lose them

Money –

Always needed, never enough. Well for your ride you don’t need millions. Keep it on you in case of emergency situations. Besides being used for the post beer, it can also be used a tire-boot (it’s a pretty cool trick check it out here)

Small but bright light –

Light the way the as they say. A light comes in handy always and carrying a small but bright one is exactly perfect for your ride. There are a lot of good ones out there so be sure to check with your local bike ship to get the right one.

This list is a combination of tools, essentials and general items which should be looked at. Remember when packing for a long ride, think of the essentials and then customise what else you would like. Things to remember are usefulness, weight and space.

Enjoy the long rides and Stay Dirty!

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