As a year-round commuter, you learn to carry the essentials. Getting halfway through a rainy roadside repair only to find out you left the tire levers on your other bike is a mistake you only make once. In today's post, we'll take a peek into my every day carry bag and get an easy (and dry) lesson in the must-haves for a commuter.
1) Spare Tubes
Whether the flat is yours or another rider's, having a tube to swap in can save you valuable time if you're behind. Patches are awesome, but they're always more fun to apply from the comfort of your home or office. Keep a spare tube or two on your bike and you'll always be prepared to help out another rider, or get yourself into the office before starting time.
Technically not a "bag" item, but it's with me on every commute. Riding helmet-free is cool if you're in control of the environment, but when when you're dodging doors, dogs, and delivery drivers on your commute, every bit of protection helps. Plus, where else are you going to mount your head-cam for those sweet videos?
All it takes is one day of leaving them on your dresser to realize how much of a difference gloves make. Softening road noise, improving grip, and making you feel A.C. Slater cool are all perks of rocking hand-protection on your ride.
4) and 5) On-bike Storage
Because you don't always want to rock a backpack, keeping the essentials on your bike means you'll never leave home without them! Riding sweat and strap free is just another perk to taking that stuff off your body, and storing it on the bike.
Whether you need to pull a wheel to fix a flat or help your buddy try out those old pedals you're selling, having an easy-to-handle wrench is always a good idea. A spare tire's no good without a lug-wrench, and those extra tubes you packed won't do you any good without the right tools either.
This may not technically be a "bike-essential", but answering in the affirmative when someone asks, "anybody got a light?" is an easy way to make friends on that new group ride and to check another box in your "always be prepared" column. Plus, when civilization crumbles or you bike your way too far into the wilderness, you'll be happy you have it.
8) Allen Wrench
Because again, there's nothing more frustrating that not being able to make a simple repair, having an allen wrench will let you easily tighten or adjust 90% of the bolts on your bike.
House keys, work keys, u-lock keys, they're already in your pocket. Just make sure they're with you before you head out the door.
This one's another no-brainer. All the spare tubes, tire levers, and patches in the world won't do you any good if you can't get air into your replacement. A small travel pump fits easily into most saddle bags and you can forget about it until you need it.
11) Patch Kit
Because sometimes the guy with a flat is "that guy" and you'd rather not give away a brand new tube. And sometimes the group rides through a bunch of glass, and you've got a whole bunch of tires to patch. Whatever the case, patches are important enough that I just realized I have three different patch kits on my bike. You should certainly have at least one.
Another 21st-Century must have, if you hit the road without your phone, you're turning around to get it. It's that simple.
13) Power Bank
People fall. People get paper-cuts. And, if you ride with Nelly, sometimes people just need a new face accessory. I haven't needed the bandaids yet, but they're there and that makes my Mom proud.
Yeah, so this bag could've used a cleaning, but you'll never regret having too many patches! Especially when your bike crush breaks down and you can swoop in and save the day like a two-wheeled Robin Hood. Seriously, carry a patch kit. If you need one, I've got a spare.
16) Tire levers
Fighting tires is no fun. Levers make simple work of even the toughest rubber and that can be the difference between showing up on time and having another one of "those talks" with your boss.
If you're fast, your face eats a lot of wind and that can dry you out. Even if you're slow, the right combination of dry air and a stiff breeze is all it takes to make your face feel like it's been dragged through sandpaper. Pop some chapstick in your bag and you'll never have to worry about your body writing checks that your mouth can't cash.
And that's it! For me, at least. Let us know what's in your bag in the comments. We love being prepared for anything.