Packing your jersey pockets for a ride is as important as the
breakfast you eat in the morning, whether you're going for a short
spin before work or embarking on a 100 mile sportive over hilly
terrain. But just what do you need to carry with you, what's
essential and what's not? This the kit we deem as essential, the
stuff we won't leave home without.
My advice for carrying essentials to get you out of any
mechanical pickle (so that's an inner tube or two, a multitool with
a chain breaker and tyre levers) is to stow them inside a saddle
pack and strap it to the underside of your saddle. An alternative
is to use a tool keg and slide it into a bottle cage, but that, of
course, means you can only use one water bottle, fine for short
rides but not ideal on longer rides.
SILCA Seat Roll Premio is a top quality 'traditional'-style
saddlepack (with some nice modern touches like the BOA adjuster to
make it easier to use). Or SILCA's new
Seat Capsule provides an interesting alternative, a "hardshell"
design that's extremely neat and doesn't touch your seat-tube.
Certainly, some purists will scoff at the idea of fitting a
saddle pack to a bicycle, but with the tubes and other small parts
fixed to the bike you free up much more space in your jersey
pockets, and that makes a big difference on longer rides. It also
means you're less likely to forget an inner tube as it's
permanently attached to the bike. Some people also like to add more
things like chain links, patches, tyre boot and even cable ties for
getting out of any mechanical situation.
So with tubes and tools stashed on the bike, your jersey pockets
can be free to accommodate that other essential you'll need for any
long ride: food. Because you've fitted the tubes to the bike,
you've got loads of cargo capacity to take loads of food, from gels
to French baguettes. Okay, maybe that will stretch the pocket
loading a bit far!
There's also space for extra clothing as well. Whether you're
cycling in the UK or in the French Alps, the weather can be
changeable so it pays to take some extra clothing. After that,
you'll probably want to carry a phone, for emergencies and photos,
and some money for cake stops.
There's no right or wrong when it comes loading your pockets,
but here's how I do it: