Top 10 Essential Items for Every Road Ride

With only three pockets to work with on a cycling jersey, it’s always great to focus on bringing only the necessities for long days in the saddle. The goal for every road cyclist is to be as fast and aerodynamic as possible, so packing jerseys smart is important so as not to be weighed down. Things tend to happen when you least expect it and being prepared gives peace of mind. I focus my essentials on three categories: nutrition, maintenance, and personal items.

If I’m going for a 50 to a 75-mile bike ride, I generally try to pack a Cliff Bar, Cliff Organic Energy food (Banana Ginger is my favorite flavor) and 2 to 4 dates. Dates have been a go-to for me because they are high in sugar and will help keep you going during rides. They are simple to pack, light, and small to stuff in a jersey pocket. Depending on which side your comfortable with grabbing these items, I tend to place food in the left jersey pocket. I recommend using the jersey pockets for food and leaving the water to the bottle cages attached on the bike frame. I do see cyclists that carry water in their jersey pockets – but water is heavy and will be uncomfortable.

As for maintenance, my center jersey pocket contains my pump, spare tube, Co2 cartridge/ adapter, and tire lever. I often carry a second spare tube in my saddlebag in case I get a second flat. (My saddle bag also contains a patch kit, tire boot, extra Co2 cartridge, and valve extension.) I use the Bontrager air rush road pump, which I’ve had for several years now. I love this pump because it has a Presta and Schrader valve as well as a Co2 cartridge adapter to pump a tire up in a cinch.

Lastly, my right jersey pocket houses my mobile phone, small wallet with credit card, cash and I.D and keys. I use a water-resistant mesh pouch to store my mobile phone just in case my back gets sweaty. I sweat a lot on hot summer days and the last thing I want is my phone to suffer from damage due to sweat seeking in or an unlucky flash rainstorm. During the colder months, a light wind vest or rain jacket can be stuffed in a center jersey pocket. I recommend wrapping the jacket around the air pump to save space.

This setup can be modified to your liking and is based on seasonal riding. Would love to hear what essential items you pack in your jersey for a road ride in the comments below.

Note: This product was purchased, rider tested and reviewed based on personal experience.

Parts List Breakdown

Links below to purchase all gear.

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Ridden & Written by

Dwayne Burgess (Manual Pedal)


*This review is based on my personal opinion and experience. All parts were purchased on my own and links provided are affiliate partnerships with Amazon.

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