I wonder what other people carry with them on short bicycle trips? The question arose a couple of days ago when I brought the bike back from its first service and then tried to sort out the extra bits and pieces that I had bought for it. Where to put everything? Was I carrying too much? What do other people do?
All of my riding so far, and for a few months yet, will be short leisure trips of up to 2-3 hours and I am now carrying quite a long list of items with me as follows:
Puncture repair kit, spare innertube, a toolkit comprising standard and pointed pliers, Allen keys as required for my particular bike, bicycle spanner and small adjustable spanner, flat and Philips screwdrivers, tyre levers, cable lock, D-lock and cable, yellow waterproof jacket rolled up tightly and stowed in its own hood, Cardiff A-Z Atlas and the local Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (needed because I don’t know the area at all well yet).
It looks like a lot of tools on my list but they all fit into a standard soft fabric pencil case. I might be persuaded to reduce their number if I could find a multitool of decent quality with the right combination of tools. Meanwhile I will go on wondering why bicycles are designed to need so many tools.
Apart from the D-lock, which has its own mount for which I found space below the saddle on the frame, everything on this list has to be stowed either in a 9-litre Carradice saddlebag, which is then full to capacity, leaving no room for my camera or anything else, or in my cheap and cheerful but perfectly functional panniers.
Of course I could use the panniers full-time (leaving the saddlebag at home) which would allow me ample spare carrying capacity for picnics, art equipment or a bit of shopping on my travels.
The bike is beginning to look like a mobile hardware store now that I have added a D-lock to the other “extras”, including a stand, a bell, a computer, front and rear lights, a mirror and a waterbottle with holder.
It feels like a lot of equipment but I have left out the fridge, microwave and kitchen sink! Don’t laugh – we had all three of these to spare until a couple of weeks ago!