How to Pack a Backpack for a Bike Ride

There are many benefits for riding long distances but without a well-packed bag, it's virtually impossible. Whether you're riding to a friends house or across the country, this article will tell you what to pack.


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    Distance. Before you even start to think about what to pack, you need to know how far you're going. Obviously you're going to have different things in your bag riding across the country and to your friend's house. If you know you want to go for a ride but not sure where to, decide now. For shorter distances, you could still pack everything if you would like to but it's not necessary. The distance you are riding could determine what you have to pack so know where you're going before anything else.
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    Experience. Along with distance, your experience is another big factor. A less experienced rider may have a tendency to fall more, therefore breaking more lights and having to pack more spares. However, as the rider becomes more experienced, they will probably break less lights and not have to pack as many spares. Judge your experience by how long you've been riding and how often you break or lose equipment.
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    What to pack. Now you know the distance you're riding and your biking experience, it's time to finally pack your bag. This is where most bikers go wrong. They pack their bag with food and drink but forget to pack tools. Here's everything you'll need.
    • Food. Tinned food is often the best as it doesn't go bad. You could bring sandwiches but on a hot day, they'll probably go bad. However, you will need something like a sandwich so keep one in a cool airtight container. Alternatively, you could bring money for some food along the way.
    • Drinks. The amount of drinks you'll need to bring depend on the two factors discussed above. The best drinks are water or an energy drink such as powerade or lucozade. Avoid fizzy drinks, Energy drinks like Red Bull and alcohol. Fizzy drinks and energy drinks will give you a temporary buzz, but after the buzz comes the crash. This means you will be completely drained of energy. Alcohol will affect your sense of balance. Drinking and riding is as illegal, not to mention dangerous, as drinking and driving. Never do either of these two things.
    • Spare lights. In case one of your lights decides not to work or suddenly breaks, bring a few spares. Again, the amount of lights you’ll need depend on the two above factors. For a long distance ride, a good number would be three of each type. On your bike you should have one back light, one front light and one light clipped on to your backpack. If you do the math, you will see that you need nine spare lights. If the lights on your backpack and the lights on your bike are the same, there's no need to bring this many. Bring about five. However, if all your lights are different, you will need to bring the full amount. If you’re only making a short journey, it’s probably save to just bring three spare lights, one back light, one front light and one on your bag.
    • Spare batteries. Along with your spare lights, you will need spare batteries. If all of your batteries die, you are very unlucky. Never fear though, just pull out your spare batteries and you're all good to go again. Bring about three packets of good quality batteries like Duracell. If you're bring cheaper batteries, bring more packets.
    • Spare reflectors. Just in case one breaks off, bring some spare reflectors. You will want to bring two or three red reflectors and two or three white reflectors. Although your reflectors are not likely to break, you may tie your bike somewhere and a thief may steal one. Usually, your safe ride would be over but if you brought spare reflectors, you're all set to ride.
    • Cable lock. You will probably get hungry somewhere along the way. If you want to get off of your bike and buy some food, you will need to tie it up. If you don't, there is a good chance that somebody will come along and take it. To avoid this, buy a cable lock. You want one that comes with a lock, not combination. Experienced thieves will easily be able to hack the combination in a flash but by the time they pick that tiny lock, you'll probably be finished. This is the one thing that you definitely don't want to forget; along with food.
    • Tools. You can pick up some foldable tools that have allen keys, spanners, flathead screwdrivers and phillips screwdrivers. You will need all of these. If you can't find one of the foldable tools, bring loose ones. You will also want to bring a small first aid kit and a puncture kit. The first aid kit is for small injuries like cuts and scratches. Anything more serious and you can call an ambulance. The puncture kit is in case you hit a nail while riding, that's never fun. Although you've got to bring your bike to a shop as soon as this happens, the puncture kit will hold out until you get there. You also want to bring a bike tire pump for when you start to go flat.
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    Go ride. After you've packed your bag, checked your equipment and planned a route, you're all set to go. Get your bike and leave home. Tell some people you are leaving and that you'll call them if anything happens to you or you need a lift in an emergency. Have fun!


  • You might not need a bag if you're only riding somewhere close. Bring a drink on it's own if you're not too sure.
  • Although you have a great backpack, you should also take a break every now and then.


  • If you start to get tired, don't drink an energy drink! Just sleep.

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Categories: Bicycling | Travel Packing