What are the pockets for in a Cycling Jersey?

For many, the oft brightly colored cycling jersey seems to be all about performance—its skin-tight lycra serving two main purposes: aerodynamics and sweat wicking.

These aspects are certainly true. I remember donning my first proper cycling jersey on an 88 degree day in the city and was astounded at how dry and cool I felt as I was picking up speed on the bike path home. It seemed like Giordiana has actually woven magic into that shirt.

So why ruin all that performance with pockets? If you’re serious about cycling then you are also serious about mileage and where you can go with your bike. If you are traveling away from home you are going to need some supplies. Here is a visual packing list of what you will need for most trips (in no particular order):

Packing list for cycling

1) Food

Bonk has a way of sneaking up on you; you’ll be rolling along and feeling great when all of a sudden you’ll notice that you’re breathing a little harder on the hills, or maybe your legs just aren’t pushing with the sprightliness of the beginning of the ride then *wham*, you are having a difficult time even crawling along at half speed. Make sure to have some snacks and if you’re on a long ride make sure to eat them. How often will vary on your level of fitness but generally you should be snacking on something at least once an hour.

2) Hydration

For rides on hot days or for longer than an hour or two you should bring two bottles with you. The pros like to do electrolytes (eg: cytomax, gatoraide) in one bottle and water in the other (which you can drink, or dump on your head if things really heat up)

3) Bike Pump

Learn from my mistakes: get a good bike pump. It doesn’t have to be a full frame-length pump, but it shouldn’t be the smallest/lightest thing you can find either. I had an ultralight that fit great in my pocket, but when it came time to actually use it it was difficult to get up beyond 80psi and it took forever. Even if you have “puncture resistant” tires it pays to have a good bike pump

4) Presta-> Schrader converter

This little item can come in handy when you’re in the middle of nowhere and have a pump fail or break. Pretty much all gas stations have air pumps, but none have presta valves. This converter costs nothing, takes up no space and can be a life-saver when straits get dire.

5) Tubes

Though a bit of a pain, bring two tubes. Why? Because your rear tire follows your front tire and if you hit the right kind of sharp object when you are rolling along at 25mph…well, you get the picture.

6) Tire Lever

Some tires pry off by hand, but don’t wait until you have a flat to find out that yours are too tight. Tire levers are a must-have.

7) Multi-tool

Random things happen on the road that you can’t anticipate; your saddle could start slipping down, a tree branch could get jammed in your derailleur, a brake hood could slip. Your multi tool will allow you to Macgyver your way back out of most mechanical problems.

8) Zip-lock bags

Of all the expensive equipment a cyclist arms him/herself with, there is one is often overlooked: the humble ziplock bag. Pack anything in these that you don’t want to get wet with sweat or rain (money, cell phone), things that you don’t want to get rubbed around too much (eg: spare tubes) or use them to cluster and organize your things in. When it comes to packing for your ride zip-lock bags are your friends.

9, 10) ID/RoadID, Health Insurance Card

Should anything unforeseen happen to you, it will be important for people to be able to identify you and know who to contact for help. On the flip side, you will also need your ID to get into bars.

11-12) Cash, Credit Card

On the road, cash is king. You should bring a 20 to get snacks, lunch, drinks while adventuring. Since bills are fairly sturdy you can also fold and place one between your inner tube and tire to limp to a bike store should you gash your tire bad enough that the inner tube starts to pop through. A credit card is good for larger bills like bike parts or a bus ride home.

13) Cell Phone

Great for taking group pictures and texting your significant other to say that you are running late.

Happy Trails!

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