For a lot of rides your bike and a helmet are all you really need to have a great time but if you really enjoy riding and want to explore longer rides there are some items that you might want to consider to help you in a pinch or make your ride as smooth as possible.
It’s a good idea to carry at least 1 extra tube but 2 is even better. These will fit nicely in a saddle bag or thrown in your backpack. If you have more than one tube you can help out a less prepared friend or stranded stranger = Karma +100
Hydration is key on longer rides. It helps you ride longer while feeling better. Water bottle cages are easily installed on your bike using the water bottle mounts available on most bike models. Throw a couple ice cubes in before your ride for a nice sweaty refreshing water bottle when you go in for that first drink!
These will make swapping out a punctured tube 1000% easier. We swear by Pedro's brand levers since they are super durable and come in some pretty groovy colors.
Pump or Inflator
You might be lucky enough to get a flat near a gas station with a working air pump but that is usually the exception. Pumps and Inflators have their own pros and cons. Pumps are generally larger and may not fit in your saddle bag but they do not require cartridges and are generally easier to use. Inflators pack up small but only give you one shot to get your tire back up to pressure per a cartridge. If you have not used an inflator before you might want to read the instructions of your inflator in particular and sacrifice a cartridge so you are confident using it in the field.
GPS or Phone App
It can be really fun to track your rides! Cycling apps will give you a ton of data and will allow you to compete with yourself and others. Also getting lost isn't the best thing for a ride so having back up navigation is major.
A bit of Cash
In my experience $10 or $20 in cash is really nice to have on you during a ride and is often overlooked. Sitting on the curb watching the other riders in a group ride scarf down tacos on a pit stop while you go without because the truck is cash only can really kill the vibe.
It’s a good idea to practice all aspects of possible mechanical issues you might encounter on a ride. If you have never changed a flat on your own you can practice by taking out a good tube from one of your wheels and reinstalling. Make sure you know how to do this on a rear wheel as well since they can be a bit trickier on a geared bike. Hope this info inspires you to ride that extra mile or 100! Stay safe out there and party on!