I’ve been biking a lot now that my hair shedding post-chemo has slowed and I can wear a helmet. I get excited to head out on my bike so I have a checklist that I run through each time to make sure I remember important items.
Besides remembering your bike (ha), these are items that I bring along on my ride. These are in no particular order:
Helmet: One of the most important items, if not the most important, is a bike helmet. There are a lot of styles on the market and while you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a helmet, make sure it fits correctly and is safety approved (check out my blog about bike helmets). Seriously, though, wear a helmet.
Cycling shoes: While I can ride my hybrid bike with any type of shoes, my road bike (aka Ruby) has special pedals and cleats that attach to the soles of special cycling shoes.
Air pump: It’s important to check your tire pressure before each ride.
Water/hydration bottles: Staying hydrated and energized are important, especially on long rides during warm weather. I like to take one bottle of just plain water and another of water mixed with a hydration/electrolyte such as Skratch Lab’shydration mix or Nuun hydration electrolyte tablets (these come in a variety of flavors and ‘styles’ with electrolytes, vitamins and more).
Sunglasses: Protect your eyes not just from the sun but any grit, bugs or objects that may hit you while riding.
Sunscreen/sun sleeves: Melanoma survivor or not, wear sunscreen! Or try sun sleeves, simple slip on sleeves that protect arms from the sun (usually starting at SPF 50). Not many cyclists I’ve met like these but I’m obsessed with sun protection. I’m fair skin and even I ended the past two summers with no tan lines on my legs or arms from my cycling clothes, thanks to sunscreen and sun sleeves.
Road ID/identification: I wear a bracelet that lists my name, emergency contact, the titanium rod in my left femur and my allergies. I like to wear this when hiking, traveling solo and biking. Heaven forbid you’re in an accident and unable to communicate, this type of ID can save your life.
Phone: I do silence my phone when I’m biking and try to ignore it, however, when I bike alone, I text my mom or sisters when I start my ride and when I’m back in my car heading home (if I’m on a long ride, they like me to text midway too). My phone also serves as a camera. I like to take pictures.
Garmin/tracker: I like using fitness trackers when I bike to help track mileage, monitor my cadence (pedal revolutions per minute, helping improve cycling efficiency, lower strain on your muscles and less pressure on my left leg) and overall collect my fitness outcomes. There are a ton of fitness trackers to choose from. I’ve used Garmin for years (long before I bought a road bike) so I stuck with the brand and bought an Edge 520 shortly after I bought my road bike, and since it functions on GPS, I can switch between my two bikes.
Chamois cream: Special creams used ‘down there’ help prevent friction and tenderness while biking. There are a lot of brands so I recommend doing test patches on your inner arm or thigh before putting in the sensitive spot.
Snack/food: If I’m biking 20-40 miles, I’ll stick a granola bar and/or fruit snack pack in my jersey pocket. Something simple to eat on the trail/road.