When the weather is warm and I have a free weekend day, there’s nothing I love more than taking my road bike out for a long ride. The length of the ride can vary depending on my energy level, and whether I get lost or not, but for the most part I try to hit the 30-40 mile mark every time.
The wind in your hair and ache in your muscles as you pedal up and down rolling hills make it one of my favorite types of cardio, but like any outdoor venture, things can quickly go sideways if you don’t have the right road biking accessories and gear. That’s why packing the right bike accessories is essential. Figuring out the perfect kit can take a lot of trial and error, and I’m hoping you can benefit from my experience.
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As I’ve embarked on more long bike rides, I’ve refined my list of crucial road bike accessories, adding essentials and removing items that are just weighing me down, without serving a clear purpose. You don’t need many things for a successful ride, and if you’re riding in a populated area where a popped tire or broken chain won’t necessarily desert you in the middle of nowhere, there’s less of a need to plan for the worst case scenario. However, it’s always good to be prepared — if not for the sake of your ride than for your safety and sanity.
Here are my essential bike accessories for long days on the road, trail or a combination of both. You never know when the most finely tuned bike will decide to fail you halfway up the hill, and you’ll be grateful to have some of these items loaded onto your frame.
Part I: On The Bike Itself
There are a hand full of things you should have on your actual bike before a big ride, including but not limited to a good lock, a water bottle holder and an attachment to hold your smartphone. All of these have become staples on my ride, for convenience and safety. Here are the ones I have a highly recommend.
Titanker Cable Bike Lock
This bike lock cable isn’t as heavy duty as other options, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re leaving your bike locked outside overnight, but for short grocery runs on my way back from a ride it works just fine. It has a simple 4-digit lock that’s easy to set, and the cable is four feet long so I’ve never had trouble stretching it over stationary objects. When I’m not using it, it easily coils around the seat and stays in place, so I don’t have to pack it separately or worry about it falling off mid-ride.
Roam Bike Phone Mount
A bike phone mount is a must for me while I’m riding, for navigation and ride tracking purposes. I use the app Strava on every ride, and I like having the tracking of my mileage, speed and route right there in front of me while I’m pedaling. This one securely attaches my large iPhone 12 to my bike and is easy to adjust up, down and side to side as well.
Aluminum Bike Water Bottle Holder
Many bikes have one of these already, but if yours doesn’t trust me when I say you need it. You don’t want to have to carry your water bottle in a backpack or on your hip in a belt. And you definitely need water while you’re riding, no matter the distance.
This one is made of sturdy aluminum and is designed to attach to most bikes easily. It can fit 23-30 ounce water bottles and has a secure, firm grip so you don’t need to worry about your bottle popping off on a hard jump or bump.
Part II: In Your Pack
You’ll want to carry at least a small pack with you, for essentials like sunscreen, bandaids and other small bike accessories. I like a fanny pack, that I swing around and carry on my low back while I’m riding. A small backpack or CamelBak backpack will also work.
Filoto Running Belt
A slim running belt/fanny pack like this is perfect for carrying your lightweight essentials while out on long rides. It’s smaller, so if you’re going for a super long ride or riding in a remote area and want a bigger pack you’ll want to pick the option below, but for everyday rides this is perfect. It’s made of waterproof Lycra fabric and the external pocket makes it easy to grab stuff while riding, if you need to. It has a reflective strip for safety while riding at night and fits waists 32″-45″ across.
CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack
This CamelBak hydration pack is made specifically for cycling, with a water reservoir and a ventilated harness so you don’t get overheated. It has a safe zippered pocket for essentials, which I’ve found is big enough to hold pretty much everything I need to get through a 2-3 hour ride. It’s super comfortable to wear, even when filled with water, and the reservoir is easy to fill and empty with minimal leakage.
Hydro Seal Adhesive Band-Aids
You can have the most comfortable, well-made cycling shoes of all time, a 40-mile ride up and down hills could still leave to a blister, and it’s a good idea to carry band-aids just in case. I like these Hydro Seal heal-specific ones from Band-Aid because they go on smooth, stay on even with friction from a sock or shoe, and are meant to be worn until they naturally come off. The hydrocolloid gel makes them uniquely suited for long-term wear, and they’ve definitely helped some of my blisters heal quicker.
Slime 1022 Bike Tire Patch Kit
If your tire springs a leak while you’re on a ride, you might be out of luck, depending on how bad it is. However, there are instances where you can patch it quickly and continue on your way. Having a small rubber tire patch kit in my pack gives me peace of mind. It’s a 7-piece kit with five rubber patches, a metal scuffer and a tube of rubber cement that helps secure everything. Thankfully I’ve never had to use it, but I recommend it to any biker who rides on rough terrain or in a remote area.
Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Face Stick
Sunscreen is essential when doing anything outside, especially biking, and this small face stick from Sun Bum is a regular in my bike accessories pack because of its slim size and SPF 30 protection. Because you should technically reapply sunscreen every 80 minutes after sweating, I always like to swipe my face a few times mid-ride to make sure I’m protected. It also goes on like a deodorant stick, rather than a sunscreen lotion, which makes it easier and cleaner to apply while on the road.
CHOMPS Grass Fed Beef Jerky Meat Stick
I never leave the house on a bike ride without a snack, and this grass fed beef stick from CHOMPS is perfect for a mid-ride pit stop because it’s got 9 grams of protein and no sugar. It’s a slim stick that’s easy to stick into a backpack or fanny pack, and the slightly smokey and spicy taste is delicious.
Part III: On Your Body
Castelli Women’s Padded Bike Shorts
Castelli makes women’s padded bike shorts that are a bit on the pricey side, but are more than worth it for their comfort level, quality and durability. This KISS AIR2 Donna Chamois pair has just the right balance of give and support, and are made to be comfortable on long distance rides. After 40 miles of riding, my rear end is definitely ready for a break from the hard seat and rigorous pedaling, but these shorts definitely help delay the soreness. The Lycra fabric is super breathable, and they’ve got reflective strips on the rear for visibility at night and in low-light conditions.
Bombas Performance Ankle Socks
I used to not be a believer in expensive socks, but Bombas changed my mind. These performance ankle socks stay in place, no matter how rigorous of movement you’re doing. They’re much more sweat-wicking than standard cotton ankle socks, and the raised lip in the back raises above the high backs of my cycling shoes and helps me avoid blisters. My favorite part of these socks is how tightly they contour to the shape of your feet, and how they provided padded support and more relaxed relief to the parts of your feet that need it.
I definitely recommend all long-distance cyclists invest in high-quality performance socks, and the brand I will personally vouch for every time is Bombas.
Read More: The Best Cycling Shoes of 2022
Zacro Adult Bike Helmet
A helmet is a crucial bike accessory. If you pack nothing else I’ve recommended on this list, please make sure you’re wearing a bike helmet no matter where or how long you’re riding for. This one is a super affordable option from Amazon that’s designed for aerodynamic movement and maximum comfort. It’s got a removable inner pad and a visor for keeping the sun out of your eyes. I’ve been able to adjust the fit easily every time I’ve worn it and the chip clip stays secure throughout the ride.
Read More: The Most Stylish Bike Helmets in 2022
Shinkoda Sunglasses Strap Adjustable Eyewear Rope
The last body bike accessory I’d definitely recommend is a croakie of some sort, to make sure your eyewear stays attached to you even if it shakes loose from your face. This adjustable sunglass strap 2-pack is super affordable, and easily attaches to a wide variety of sunglasses. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on this particular item in order for it to work as intended, and I’ve found this cheap version works exactly as I need it to.
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