Gearing up for a ride means balancing weight and necessity. You've got to bring water and on a longer ride, you want to bring along some calories. A credit card and some cash are practically necessities. Some tools won't go amiss. Everything you really need can fit in the rear pockets of your jersey or in your bottle cage. We'll run through that stuff and highlight some interesting ways to bring along some nice to have items without having to resort to throwing on a backpack.
You want to track your ride. You want to be accessible if there's an emergency and someone needs to reach you. You need a way to call for help if the emergency is yours. A fully charged cell phone is a must-have. If you've set up Apple Pay or Google Wallet on your phone, you may even be able to leave the next most important item at home.
A credit card
If you find you're missing something, you're hungry or your biddons are running on empty, credit cards allow you to exchange money for goods. I know, right?! Maybe you need a repair on the road or perhaps you have an equipment failure that requires cabbing it home. This tool is versatile and small and super light to boot.
A little cash
You don't want to buy a sports drink with plastic. Or maybe you do but in the rural locations that make for better cycling, you might run across places that either can't or won't let you do that. Plastic is versatile but in some cases, cash is still king.
Cycling specific multitools are the Swiss army knife of the biking world. Sure, a multitool adds a little weight and bulk. It's the kind of thing you bring along hoping you'll never need but the one time you do, it makes carrying it along on all those rides totally worthwhile. A multitool allows you to make little adjustments on the road and in cases, it can mean the difference between riding home and having to call for roadside assistance or worse, a ride home.
If you're in danger of bonking, a gel pack or power bar might be just the thing to get up and over that last hill. Gel packs are lighter, smaller and more convenient but don't bring much to the game than a quick sugar hit. A power bar is a little more cumbersome and can't be slammed back in the same way as a pack but they have the added benefit of putting more than just flavored glucose in your belly. Your call. Whatever you choose, please, don't just toss the trash. We've seen more Gu packs than we care to count on bike routes. That's not cool.