What to carry on a bike ride

October 9, 2007

Chris Carmichael’s piece What to Carry details exactly what a cyclist should always have with them on a ride.

The more time you spend on a bike, the more you “learn to minimize the number and weight of the things you carry while maximizing their usefulness.”

(c) Apollo Lee

Carmichael outlines exactly which tools you should have with you plus which clothing combinations suit which temperatures.

Despite full length tights never being mentioned, it was the food requirements that grabbed me.

According to Carmichael:

Duration Carry:
60-90 min 1 Powerbar Performance bar and one PowerGel
2 hr 1 bar and 2 gels
3 hr 1-2 bars and 2-3 gels
4 hr 3 bars and 3 gels

Notice the discreet reference to one of the site’s sponsors?

The table assumes that you only consume one bottle of sports drink and then water for the rest of your ride.

It turns out I’ve probably been consuming way too much on my four hour rides.

I normally eat one bar, one gel and drink one bottle of electrolyte sports drink each hour.

No doubt we all have our own variations but given his pedigree you can hardly dismiss it as uniformed opinion.

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4 Responses to “What to carry on a bike ride”


  1. […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerptWhat to carry on a bike ride October 9th, 2007 Chris Carmichael’s piece What to Carry details … Fitch Filed in Cycling Tags: Carmichael, Cycling, food, Training No Comments » […]

  2. jcalnan Says:

    Interesting. I find that on long rides that bars of any sort end up sitting in my gut. I have been concentrating on my sports drink consumption, taking a couple of sips every 10 minutes or so. I tend to dilute the beverage more toward the end of a long ride. Water only if my ride is less than 90 minutes.

    I went to a sports nutritionist presentation a few months ago, and her recommendation was to consume 30-60 grams carbs/hour while riding, which is about one 16oz bottle of full-strength sports drink.

    She spent the most time talking about pre-ride nutrition. She says 1 gram of carb per kilogram of body weight per hour before your ride (meaning if you eat 1 hour before the ride=1 gram, if it’s 2 hours before, you’d eat 2 grams per kilo). For example: 2 hrs before a ride, a 140 lb. woman (64 kg) should consume 128 grams of carbs.


  3. @ jcalnan – Couple of sips every ten minutes does it for me too – on longer rides, I take 1 x 750ml of watered-down fruit juice (1 juice: 3 water) on the frame, plus 1 x 500ml of the same & 1x 500ml of 50/50 water & juice in my jersey pocket. So I can just swap over when the first bottle gets empty, and then look for water to make up the mix again from the third – if I can’t get any I can still drink it as-is, though it’s a little sticky. When I get home, I drink about the same again over 2-3 hours, starting off with a pint of electrolyte replacement stuff (Zymm – can’t find a local Nuun retailer).

    I eat every 30 minutes, looking for around 250 cals & 30g of carbs. And pre-flight fuelling (hmmmmmm – porridge) (sans kippers) is a definite plus.

    @ Adrian – the photo looks like a huge volume of stuff to take out! At the moment, I have a spare tube, tyre levers & CO2 inflator only on my road bike, and on the others, a pump, spare tube, puncture kit & multi-tool. Oh, and each has a £1 coin duck taped somewhere. Am I going out too poorly prepared though?

  4. Adrian Fitch Says:

    Karl, I don’t think you’re taking too little out. My normal ride kit consists of two spare tubes, tyre levers, glueless patches, a multi-tool, a pump, some cash, a credit card and my phone. I add lights when I’m likely to need them and my GPS with spare batteries if its a long ride.


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