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Gear to carry with you on bike

Apologies if there’s an existing thread for this, I tried to look for one but didn’t find it.

This will be my first RAGBRAI experience (very excited!), but I have a tendency to overload on stuff when I do long rides.

Here’s a rough inventory of what I’m planning to carry with me in my backpack:
– Camelbak water reservoir
– Multitool (it’s an old bike, something is bound to need tightening)
– Tire wrenches and patches
– Cooling towel
– Phone in waterproof case
– ID and cash/card in small wallet
– Bike lock
– Small first aid kit in Altoids tin

Along with this, I have a small under seat pack carrying my headlight/tail light and some zip ties.

How does this sound to you veteran riders? Anything I should add or ditch?

Thanks and see you on the route!

11 Replies

hnschipper, July 16, 2018 at 9:19 am

– Spare tube
– Tire pump or air cartridge
– Insurance card
– Something showing emergency contact info


Uncle Kraig, July 16, 2018 at 9:25 am

Sunscreen, lip balm and ditto on the “in case of emergency, please contact……”


cmparsley, July 16, 2018 at 9:29 am

Backpacks equal back sweat to me. It is hot enough out in the open in the middle of Iowa in July. The towns are close enough together that you can get anything you need along the way. The first year I rode I carried way too much stuff.

This is my 11th ride and here is what I carry:

Freezer Ziplock bag (sandwich size) holds my phone, cash, id and credit card. That goes in a jersey pocket. Small seat bag carries 2 tire levers, spare tube, 2 CO2 cylinders and the CO2 pump head, patch kit, and a multitool. The multi tool is wrapped in a piece of old tube. You don’t want something like that just rubbing on your spare tube in the seat bag and putting a hole in it.

I carry 2 water bottles in cages on the bike. If I happen to get a gatorade or bottle of water along the way, that ends up in a jersey pocket.

No need to carry a bike lock.

Taillight and headlight are always charged and clipped on the bike where they belong.

I also have a small frame pump meant for road bike tires mounted behind one of the bottle cages.

One piece of advice for everyone:

Practice changing your tube at home. Buy extra CO2 cartridges, if you use one of those, and practice, practice, practice. You don’t want the first time to be out on the road. Better to have an issue when you are in the comfort of your own living room when you are not under stress, than out in the middle of Iowa.

If a person is worried enough to need to carry half a bike shop with them, then they would be better off having their bike serviced by a qualified mechanic that they trust before ever setting out on a week long touring ride. A bike that works properly and doesn’t make any weird noises is a bike that is much more fun, and safe to ride.


Larry Klaaren, July 16, 2018 at 9:33 am

You may need some toilet paper. The “rectal towels” that come in a small little bag and are wet should work well. They easily fit in a jersey pocket.This is my first ride, but I have heard that is very, very important. Also maybe a pack of Chamois Better.


Anonymous, July 16, 2018 at 10:42 am

CARRY ALL YOUR SHIT! SKIP THE BAGGAGE TRUCK! Last 2 RAGBRAIs I had the semi haul my stuff…this year, I will try loading the shit out of my bike (Trek 920) and bring all my stuff!


Michrider !!!, July 16, 2018 at 11:14 am

I agree with carrying paper!!! KYBO’s are known to be paper free zones!!!


Christopher McGregor, July 16, 2018 at 11:43 am

All great advice! Thanks everyone!

bike helmet

And if anyone sees a black and white checkered helmet with Peoria, IL stickers, say hi :)


Kelli Libby, July 16, 2018 at 3:26 pm

If you need assistance out on the road flip your bike upside down. Several teams (Air Force) will stop and assist you and so will most other riders.
My advice you won’t need a bike lock on the road and the camel back is just too hot. The towns are approximately 10 miles apart on average and you can get water, juice, gatorade and most anything else.
Hope this helps. Have a great ride.



hnschipper, July 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm

I wear a Camelbak. I’m riding with a lingering hand injury and getting a bottle in and out of the bottle cage is very difficult while riding. I don’t want to have to stop every time I want a drink. I’ve done all my training rides with the Camelbak, so I don’t even really notice it anymore.


Christopher McGregor, July 16, 2018 at 4:15 pm

@hnschipper I love my little camelback/backpack combo. I wear it on all my longer rides.

BTW, also love your profile pic. Please tell me that Police Box is somewhere along the Ragbrai route :)


Dueywife, July 16, 2018 at 4:18 pm

I too go Camelbak and never look back. I find I don’t drink enough water if I’m going bottles only and bonus it stays cooler longer. I second the wet wipes for the bathroom and along with that some hand sanitizer. I would recommend extra sunscreen for mid-day application.I would also add a pocket knife and kleenex.


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