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How To Pack For A Bike Ride

Charles Luiting

Going for a bike ride was easy when you were a kid. You simply put on your helmet and hopped on. Maybe you even took a water bottle if your bike was fancy enough to have a water bottle holder.

But as the biking miles increase and your bike is used more for commuting, exercise or recreation the need to bring additional gear and provisions also grows. If you've ever done a longer bike ride, say more than 10 or 15 miles, you know that having items like a phone, an energy bar, a repair kit or rain gear can come in handy. Longer rides may even require a change of clothes and additional gear. What's the best way to efficiently bring all that along on a bike ride? We've got some suggestions.

Person storing a phone in their bike seat.

The Basics

First, determine what is absolutely essential to have along on a longer bike ride. In general these five items are a good place to start for most long bike rides:

  • Cell phone

  • Keys

  • Water and food

  • Cash/credit card/ID

  • Small repair kit

Some of that, of course, can be stored on your body (the keys and a credit card, for instance).  Stuffing your pockets can make for an uncomfortable ride, however. That's where our Top Tube Phone Bag can come in handy. It's inexpensive, easy to mount, allows you to see your phone when riding, and has enough room for smaller items like keys and cash.

"People want to have their phone in front of them," said Tom Kuefler, a Senior Product Manager for Schwinn. "The Top Tube Phone Bag is the storage solution that's right for most riders."

A good phone-only option is the Deluxe Phone Mount that allows you to position the phone at an angle that works best for you. Having your phone close and mounted in a manner that doesn't interfere with your ability to ride is key.  It also allows the phone to be mounted where it comes in handy for navigation, which is particularly helpful if you're exploring new territory. And if you want some music for your ride, well iTunes, Pandora and Spotify are all within arm's reach.

If your bike doesn't have a bottle cage on it, make sure to install one. Our Aluminum Bottle Cage fits most bikes and a wide array of water bottles. Hydration is absolutely crucial for longer bike rides.

As far as food goes, we'll leave that up to you, but do consider energy bars and healthy snacks like a banana that can help fuel the muscles you'll be working on a longer ride.

A person storing items on their bicycle

Beyond the Basics

Among the many awesome attributes to E-bikes is the ability for riders to take them on longer rides. That can, however, make it necessary to bring extra gear. Since you're staying out longer and getting farther from home those additional items can include:

"Most people will want to pack pretty light," said Kuefler. "There's a fine line between bringing too much and not bringing enough and for a lot of folks our Seat Pack is the perfect storage option. It's a good place to keep your bike ride survival kit."

Bike commuters who need to bring their laptops or a change of clothing should consider adding one of our Commuter Panniers that are large enough to carry more than the essentials. There's even an internal laptop sleeve that provides additional protection.

A first-aid kit is certainly not required but might be something to think about. At a minimum, consider adding in a few band-aids or moleskin strips in case a blister comes about.

If there's even a remote chance you'll be riding in the low-light or after-dark hours, make sure to bring more lights with you. Lights are the single best way to increase your visibility.

Man standing with an e-bike.

What’s Next?

Keufler hints that Schwinn will soon be offering additional carrying and storage options for longer bike trips, but he's not quite ready to let the "bags out of the bag."

The reason Schwinn wants to increase carrying options is clear, said Keufler. More and more bike riders are using their bikes for longer rides and advances in materials and technologies have made it easier than ever to carry additional gear.

While it may never be as carefree as the neighborhood rides of your youth, it's never been easier to pack for a bike ride. 

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