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What Should I Always Have When Biking?


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Mia Gibbs



When it comes to biking adventures, being prepared is essential. Whether you’re planning a leisurely ride through scenic trails or embarking on an epic mountain biking expedition, having the right gear can make all the difference. As an avid cyclist, there are a few essential items that you should always have with you to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. In this article, we will explore the must-have items that every cyclist should carry when hitting the trails.


Before we dive into the specifics, it’s important to emphasize the importance of safety gear. Regardless of your biking style or skill level, safety should always be your top priority. Wearing a properly fitted helmet is non-negotiable. It can protect you from head injuries in case of accidents or falls. Additionally, investing in appropriate cycling clothing, including padded shorts and reflective gear, can enhance your visibility and comfort on the road.


Another crucial aspect of biking is maintenance. Having the right tools to fix minor issues while on the go can save you from being stranded in the middle of nowhere. A compact multitool with a variety of wrenches, screwdrivers, and a chain tool is a must-have. It allows you to make adjustments and repairs to your bike as needed. Additionally, carrying spare inner tubes, tire levers, and a mini pump can ensure you can handle any unexpected flat tires effortlessly.


In case of more extensive repairs, having an emergency repair kit is a wise idea. This kit should include items such as spare spokes, a spare derailleur hanger, and zip ties. It’s always better to be prepared for any situation that may arise during your biking adventure.


Essential Safety Gear

Ensuring your safety should be your top priority when embarking on any biking adventure. Carrying the following essential safety gear can help you stay protected and minimize the risks of accidents or injuries:

  • Helmet: A properly fitted helmet is a non-negotiable item for every cyclist. It protects your head in case of falls or collisions and can make a significant difference in reducing the severity of head injuries.
  • Reflective Gear: Being visible to others on the road is crucial, especially during low-light conditions. Wearing reflective vests, ankle straps, or stickers can enhance your visibility and make you easily noticeable to motorists.
  • Lights: Front and rear lights are essential, especially if you plan to cycle during dawn, dusk, or at night. These lights not only help you see the path ahead but also ensure that others can see you.
  • Bike Bell or Horn: A bike bell or horn is a useful tool to alert pedestrians or other cyclists of your presence, particularly when passing or approaching blind corners.
  • First Aid Kit: Accidents can happen, so it’s always wise to have a basic first aid kit. Include items such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, and pain relievers.

Remember, while having the right safety gear is important, using them correctly is equally essential. Always wear your helmet properly and ensure that all reflective gear is visible. Regularly check your lights to ensure they are in working order, and use your bike bell or horn when necessary to alert others of your presence.


Maintenance Tools

Maintaining your bike’s performance and addressing minor issues on the go is essential for a smooth and enjoyable biking experience. Carrying a set of essential maintenance tools can help you handle basic repairs and adjustments. Here are some must-have tools to include in your kit:

  • Multitool: A compact multitool is a cyclist’s best friend. Look for one that includes various wrench sizes, screwdrivers, and a chain tool. This versatile tool can handle most minor repairs and adjustments you may encounter while on your ride.
  • Tire Repair Kit: Flat tires can happen unexpectedly, and having a tire repair kit can save you from being stranded. Include spare inner tubes, tire levers for removing the tire, and a mini pump or CO2 inflator to inflate the new tube.
  • Patch Kit: In addition to spare inner tubes, carrying a patch kit is also a good idea. It allows you to repair multiple punctures on the same tube, saving you from depleting your supply of spare tubes.
  • Chain Lubricant: Keeping your chain well-lubricated is crucial for optimal performance. Carry a small bottle of chain lubricant and reapply it periodically to ensure smooth and efficient pedaling.
  • Brake Pads: Carrying an extra set of brake pads can come in handy, especially during long rides or in wet conditions. Worn-out brake pads can compromise your bike’s stopping power, so it’s always advisable to have replacements readily available.

Packing these maintenance tools ensures you can quickly address common issues such as loose bolts, chain problems, and minor tire punctures. Familiarize yourself with how to use these tools before setting off on your biking adventure, as it will save you time and frustration along the way. Regularly inspect your bike and perform routine maintenance to minimize the chances of encountering issues during your ride.


Emergency Repair Kit

No matter how well-maintained your bike is, sometimes unexpected breakdowns or mechanical failures can occur. That’s why it’s crucial to have an emergency repair kit on hand to handle more extensive repairs. Here are some essential items to include in your kit:

  • Spare Spokes: Carrying a few spare spokes can be a lifesaver if you have a broken spoke while on the trail. Make sure to include spokes of the appropriate length for your specific wheel size.
  • Spare Derailleur Hanger: The derailleur hanger is a small but vital component that can get bent or damaged in a fall or collision. Having a spare derailleur hanger allows you to replace it and get your bike back in working order.
  • Zip Ties: Zip ties are incredibly versatile and can help temporarily fix a wide range of issues, from securing loose cables to reattaching a broken bike rack. It’s always a good idea to have a few of these in your emergency kit.
  • Chain Quick Link: A chain quick link is a handy tool that allows you to quickly and easily repair a broken chain. Including a spare quick link in your emergency repair kit can help you get back on the trail faster.
  • Duct Tape: While not specifically a bike repair tool, duct tape can serve as a temporary fix for a variety of issues, such as securing a ripped tire sidewall or attaching a loose component. Wrap a few feet of duct tape around a small, lightweight object to keep it compact.

By having these emergency repair kit items with you, you’ll be better equipped to handle unforeseen breakdowns or mechanical issues that may arise during your biking adventure. Remember that these items are more for temporary fixes, and it’s always advisable to seek professional assistance for more serious repairs.


Basic Bike Accessories

In addition to essential safety gear and maintenance tools, there are several basic bike accessories that can enhance your overall biking experience. These accessories are not only practical but also provide convenience and comfort during your rides. Here are some must-have bike accessories:

  • Bike Lock: A reliable bike lock is crucial to protect your bike from theft. Look for a sturdy lock that can secure your bike to a fixed object when you need to leave it unattended.
  • Bike Rack or Basket: If you plan to carry items with you, whether it’s groceries, a backpack, or supplies for a picnic, having a bike rack or basket can make transporting these items much easier and safer.
  • Bike Pump: A compact bike pump is essential for maintaining optimal tire pressure during your rides. Look for a pump that is lightweight, easy to use, and compatible with your valve type (presta or Schrader).
  • Bike Computer: A bike computer can provide valuable information such as distance traveled, speed, and even heart rate if it has that capability. It’s a great accessory for tracking your progress, setting goals, and analyzing your performance.
  • Bell or Horn: Besides being a safety item, having a bike bell or horn is convenient for signaling your presence to pedestrians, other cyclists, or even wildlife on the trail.
  • Phone Mount: A phone mount securely holds your smartphone on your bike’s handlebars, allowing you to use navigation apps, monitor your activity, or capture stunning photos and videos while riding.

These basic bike accessories can greatly improve your biking experience by providing practicality, safety, and convenience. Choose accessories that are compatible with your bike and suit your specific needs and preferences.


Water and Hydration

Staying hydrated while biking is crucial to maintain your performance and prevent dehydration. It’s important to prioritize water and hydration, especially during longer rides and in hot or humid conditions. Here are some tips to ensure proper hydration during your biking adventures:

  • Water Bottles or Hydration Pack: Invest in a good-quality water bottle cage to securely hold your water bottles on your bike frame. Consider using insulated water bottles to keep your drink cool for longer rides. Alternatively, you can opt for a hydration pack with a built-in bladder, allowing you to sip water conveniently while on the move.
  • Plan Your Water Stops: If you’re going on a longer biking excursion or exploring remote areas, plan your route to include water stops or refill stations along the way. Research available water sources like parks, rest areas, or convenience stores where you can replenish your water supply.
  • Electrolyte Replacement: During intense or lengthy rides, replenishing electrolytes is important for optimal hydration. Consider carrying electrolyte tablets or powders that can be mixed with your water to replenish vital minerals lost through sweating.
  • Timing Your Hydration: It’s essential to sip water frequently throughout your ride, rather than waiting until you feel thirsty. By the time you feel parched, you may already be dehydrated. Set a reminder to drink water every 15-20 minutes, especially during longer or more intense rides.
  • Monitor Your Urine Color: One way to gauge your hydration level is by monitoring the color of your urine. A light, straw-like color indicates good hydration, while dark-colored urine may indicate dehydration. Aim for pale yellow urine to ensure adequate hydration.

Remember that proper hydration is not limited to just water intake. Consuming healthy foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables, can also contribute to your overall hydration. Stay hydrated, listen to your body’s signals, and be proactive about maintaining proper water balance during your biking adventures.


Nutrition and Snacks

Proper nutrition and fueling your body with the right snacks are vital for maintaining energy levels and optimizing performance during your biking adventures. Here are some tips to ensure you’re adequately nourished on the trail:

  • Energy Bars or Gels: Energy bars and gels are convenient and compact sources of quick energy. Look for options that contain a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to provide sustained energy during your ride.
  • Fruit: Fresh fruits like bananas, apples, or oranges are excellent natural sources of energy and provide essential vitamins and minerals. They are portable, easy to eat, and can help prevent muscle cramps due to their potassium content.
  • Trail Mix or Nuts: Trail mix or a small bag of nuts and dried fruits can provide a mix of healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates. They are lightweight, easy to pack, and offer a satisfying snack to keep you fueled on the trail.
  • Peanut Butter or Nut Butter: Carry small packets of peanut butter or nut butter to spread on crackers, rice cakes, or as a quick energy boost. They provide healthy fats, protein, and a good dose of calories.
  • Hydration Drinks or Electrolyte Mixes: Along with water, consider carrying hydration drinks or electrolyte mixes to replenish your body’s electrolyte levels, especially during longer or more intense rides.
  • Pre-Packaged Snacks: Items like granola bars, rice cakes, pretzels, and cheese sticks are easy to carry and provide a mix of carbohydrates and protein to keep you satisfied and energized.

It’s essential to listen to your body’s hunger cues and fuel it with snacks or small meals at regular intervals during your rides. Aim to consume small portions frequently to maintain a stable energy level. Consider experimenting with different snacks to find what works best for you and keeps you fueled and focused on the trail.


Navigation Tools

Having reliable navigation tools can help you stay on track and explore new biking routes with confidence. Whether you’re venturing into unfamiliar territory or simply trying to find your way back to your starting point, here are some essential navigation tools to consider:

  • Bike Computer: A bike computer with GPS capabilities is a fantastic tool for tracking your route, distance, speed, and elevation. It can also provide turn-by-turn directions, allowing you to confidently navigate new trails.
  • Smartphone Apps: There are various smartphone apps designed specifically for cyclists that offer navigation features. These apps utilize GPS to provide accurate route guidance, real-time tracking, and even features like offline maps for areas with poor signal coverage.
  • Handlebar Mount: To safely use your smartphone as a navigation tool, consider investing in a handlebar mount. This secure attachment allows you to keep your phone within easy reach and view your GPS app without distraction.
  • Printed Maps or Trail Guides: For remote areas with limited cell service or as a backup option, carrying printed maps or trail guides can be invaluable. These physical references can provide a visual overview of the area and help you find your way if technology fails.
  • Compass: While not as commonly used these days, a traditional compass can be a reliable backup tool for basic navigation. It can help you determine your direction and keep you oriented, especially in areas without clear landmarks or signage.

Having a combination of digital and physical navigation tools ensures you’re prepared for various situations and contingencies. Familiarize yourself with the functions and features of your chosen navigation tools before setting off on your biking adventure so you can make the most of them.


Personal Identification and Documentation

When heading out on a biking adventure, it’s important to carry personal identification and relevant documentation. These items are necessary for various situations and can provide peace of mind during your ride. Here’s what you should consider bringing:

  • Identification: Carry a valid form of identification, such as your driver’s license or identification card. In case of an emergency, having identification can help responders and others identify you and contact your emergency contacts if needed.
  • Health Insurance Card: Take a photo or make a copy of your health insurance card and keep it in a secure place, such as a wallet or phone case. This ensures you have your information readily available in case of a medical emergency.
  • Emergency Contact Information: Make a list of emergency contact numbers, including the names and phone numbers of people who should be notified in case of an emergency. Store this information in your phone, wallet, or other easily accessible location.
  • Bike Registration or Proof of Ownership: Some areas may require proof of bike ownership or registration to prevent bike theft and aid in recovery. Check local regulations and carry any necessary documentation to comply with the law.
  • Medical Information: If you have any allergies, medical conditions, or take medication, consider carrying a small card or wearing a medical alert bracelet indicating this information. This can be crucial for medical professionals in case of an emergency.
  • Cash and/or Payment Card: It’s always a good idea to have some cash or a payment card with you in case you need to purchase food, drinks, or any unexpected necessities along your route.

Keep these items in a secure and easily accessible place such as a small pouch or zippered pocket. Ensure that your personal identification and documentation are protected from moisture or damage during your ride. Carrying these essentials will give you peace of mind and ensure you’re prepared for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise.


Weather and Climate Gear

When embarking on a biking adventure, it’s important to be prepared for various weather conditions and changes in climate. Having the appropriate gear can keep you comfortable and protected, allowing you to enjoy your ride regardless of the weather. Here are some essential weather and climate gear items to consider:

  • Helmet Cover: If you expect rain or snow, a helmet cover can help keep your head dry and prevent water from dripping into your eyes.
  • Waterproof Jacket: A waterproof jacket will keep you dry during unexpected showers. Look for one that is breathable to prevent overheating during intense rides.
  • Layered Clothing: Dressing in layers allows you to adjust your clothing to changing temperatures. Consider moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and a windproof outer layer to adapt to different weather conditions.
  • Arm and Leg Warmers: Arm and leg warmers are lightweight, versatile accessories that can be easily added or removed as needed. They provide extra insulation during cooler rides or when the weather becomes unpredictable.
  • Gloves: A good pair of cycling gloves can protect your hands from cold temperatures, wind, and provide extra grip on the handlebars. Look for gloves that are insulated, waterproof, and offer dexterity for shifting gears and braking.
  • Toe Covers or Shoe Covers: To keep your feet warm and dry, consider using toe covers or shoe covers. These accessories provide an extra layer of insulation and protect your toes from wind, rain, or cold temperatures.
  • Eyewear: Sunglasses or clear lenses can protect your eyes from wind, debris, and harsh sunlight. They also enhance visibility and reduce eye strain during your ride.
  • Sun Protection: If you’re biking in sunny conditions, protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and consider arm sleeves or a lightweight, breathable sun-protective shirt.

It’s essential to check the weather forecast before your ride and prepare accordingly. Remember to choose gear that is appropriate for the specific climate and weather conditions you anticipate encountering during your biking adventure.


Additional Items to Consider

While the previously mentioned gear covers the essentials for a biking adventure, there are a few additional items that you may want to consider depending on your personal preferences and the specific nature of your ride. These items can further enhance your experience and ensure you’re prepared for any unexpected situations. Here are some additional items to consider:

  • Cycling Shoes: Investing in a pair of cycling shoes can provide better power transfer, stability, and comfort during your rides. Depending on your biking style, you can choose from road cycling shoes, mountain biking shoes, or hybrid options.
  • Bike Lights: If you plan to bike during dawn, dusk, or at night, having reliable front and rear bike lights is essential for visibility and safety. Look for lights with different modes to suit your needs.
  • Bike Fenders: If you anticipate riding on wet or muddy trails, installing bike fenders can help keep you and your bike clean and prevent muck from splashing onto your body and components.
  • Bike Stand: A portable bike stand can be useful for bike maintenance and repairs while on the trail. It holds your bike securely upright, making it easier to perform adjustments or fix issues.
  • Bike Camera Mount: If you enjoy capturing your biking adventures, mounting a camera to your bike can help you capture stunning footage or document memorable moments along the way.
  • Bike Bag or Panniers: If you need to carry a larger quantity of items, such as camping gear or overnight essentials, consider investing in a bike bag or panniers. These accessories attach to your bike and provide ample storage capacity.
  • Bug Spray: If you’ll be riding in areas with insects or bugs, carrying bug spray can help prevent bites and discomfort during your ride.
  • Cycling Gloves: Beyond protection from the elements, cycling gloves provide cushioning and grip, reducing the risk of hand fatigue and improving overall comfort during long rides.

Remember that the additional items you choose to carry will depend on personal preferences, the duration of your ride, and the nature of your biking adventure. Consider the specific demands of your journey and customize your gear accordingly to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience.



As you embark on your biking adventures, it’s essential to be well-equipped with the necessary gear to ensure safety, comfort, and enjoyment. Having the right tools, safety gear, and accessories can make all the difference in your biking experience, whether you’re exploring serene trails, tackling challenging terrains, or going on long-distance rides.


Start by prioritizing safety with a properly fitting helmet, reflective gear, lights, and a first aid kit. Equip yourself with maintenance tools like a multitool, tire repair kit, and spare parts to handle any unexpected mechanical issues. Consider carrying an emergency repair kit for more extensive repairs. Additionally, invest in basic bike accessories like a lock, pump, bike computer, and bell, which will provide convenience and practicality during your rides.


Stay hydrated and fuel your body with snacks to maintain energy levels during your biking adventures. Consider the weather and climate and have appropriate gear like waterproof jackets, arm/leg warmers, and gloves to stay protected and comfortable. Don’t forget to bring personal identification, documentation, and any necessary medical information in case of emergencies.


Finally, depending on your preferences and the nature of your ride, consider additional items like cycling shoes, bike lights, fenders, and a bike stand to further enhance your biking experience.


By being prepared and carrying the essential items mentioned in this guide, you can ensure a safe, enjoyable, and memorable biking experience. So, gear up, hit the trails, and discover the wonders of the biking world!