How to fill your jersey pockets for a big ride
Setting out on a long-ride — whether it’s just for training or taking on a sportive challenge in earnest — requires a little bit of preparation and planning. Of course, there are things like checking your bike is in top condition and your tyres are pumped to the correct pressure. There’s also the need to make sure your body can cope with the demands, so build up your training distances gradually, then eat and sleep well the night before a big event. Finally, there’s the decision of what essential kit you need to carry in your jersey pockets. So here’s our guide for those Prudential RideLondon requisites.
Let’s start with the bike and make sure we have a few bits of kit that will help us overcome potential mechanical problems. A multi-tool with a range of Allen bolt keys, screwdriver heads and other functions is the bare minimum any rider should have in their jersey pocket.
>> To see our range of multi-tools, click here. <<
Some of the bigger multi-tools come with a chain breaker tool built in. However, for everybody else it’s essential to carry a chain tool and some spare pins or power links with you. Without one, a broken chain mid-ride isn’t just an annoyance — it may spell the end of your event.
>> To see our range of chain tools, click here. <<
Just as a broken chain can be big trouble, so too is a punctured tyre. Sportives in particular place conflicting demands on tyres: the rider wants to go as quickly as possible so will naturally fit the most speed-oriented tyre, yet sportive courses often take to scenic routes which means the likelihood of encountering gravel, flints or thorns is very high. If you suffer a flat, the first job will be to take the tyre off, which means you’ll need at least one or two tyre levers, available here.
Puncture repair kit, sticky patches and/or spare inner tubes.
Then you’ll need to repair the hole in the inner tube or — more likely in a sportive situation — quickly fit a whole new inner tube (only once you’ve found and removed whatever caused the puncture, though!). We’d advise taking a couple of spare tubes but it’s still worth having a puncture repair kit or sticky patches in case you have more than two punctures — it is possible!
>> Browse our range of inner tubes and puncture repair kits. <<
Pump or CO2 inflator
Once the new or repaired tube is in place and the tyre is back on the rim, you’re going to need to put some air in it. There are two options here: you could either use a mini-pump or a CO2 inflator. The mini-pump is a little more bulky to fit in a pocket but it’ll never run out, whereas the CO2 canister is a very efficient option but once it’s used up, it’s finished. Ideally, pack both.
>> Browse our range of mini-pumps and CO2 inflators.<<
Gels, fruit, energy bars
Sportive and organised challenge rides will have feed stations around the course, but it’s a little dangerous to rely on these alone for your refuelling needs. Also, you may simple feel completely devoid of energy — known as ‘bonking’ in cycling terms — between feed stations and will need something there and then. We’d recommend taking some fruit such as a banana. Also have a specialist energy bar in reserve, too, and one of your favourite energy gels ready to take before the final climb or last big push to the finish.
>> Browse our range of Clif Bar products, official nutrition sponsors of Prudential RideLondon, online here. <<
Electrolyte or hydration products
Different to energy nutrition, electrolyte or hydration supplements are especially vital on long rides when the body’s water and salt levels are subjected to testing conditions. Tabs and sachets take up next to no space, but add them to your bottle every time you refill with water at a feed stop and you should get round the ride cramp free and reasonably well hydrated.
Cape or lightweight jacket
Even on the most glorious summer’s morning, it’s worth remembering that this is Britain and all bets are off where the weather is concerned. Having an emergency lightweight jacket in your back pocket to deal with showers or windy spells is a fine idea. Try to buy one that packs down nice and small — some even come with their own handy stuffsack.
>> Check out our range of lightweight packable jackets. <<
Wet weather forecast?
If wet weather is literally on the horizon, consider packing a lightweight, yet fully waterproof jacket such as the premium Gore Wear Shakedry jacket or Kalf’s Flux jacket to keep you dry and comfortable throughout the ride.
Antiseptic cream and plasters
It might seem a bit like tempting fate, but we’ve been on a couple of sportives where a bit of antiseptic cream and a couple of plasters were necessary. Stick a small tube in your back pocket for emergencies.
Money and phone
Finally, a couple of things you should never leave the sportive HQ without: a phone to call the ride assistance number on your route instructions, and a little bit of cash, just in case.
Now go and enjoy the ride!