It’s that time of year when all the sportives are happening every weekend and people are generally out riding more and for longer.
So, with that in mind, what do you carry your supplies in for a long ride of around 100 miles?
I wouldn’t call myself a veteran of the long ride, but I have done a few over the years and being a bit of a bag geek, I have researched and tried a few different options of how to carry those much-needed items.
Firstly I must say, on the bike is the best option in my opinion. Backpacks and bumbags just end up getting uncomfortable and making you sweat more on those long rides. They are fine for shorter rides or nipping down the shops.
Pockets are a great option for quick access for snacks but don’t overload them as again, similar to backpacks and bumbags, a loaded pocket can become uncomfortable. I usually have a few snacks to keep me going until the next stop when I can top them up from the bags on my bike.
In my opinion, when doing a long-distance ride, bags that go on the bike are best. Of course, this depends on how much you need to carry and whether there will be stops with supplies, if you are heading to a café for a meal/snacks or if you just want to keep riding and eat as you go.
I am generally the latter and want to eat as I go to avoid queuing for snacks at stops. I can be sure I know what I am eating and won’t run the risk of eating something I haven’t tried before that won’t agree with me. I don’t want to spend the whole ride looking for the next toilet!
I tried a handlebar bag a couple of years ago on the Dunwich Dynamo. It was a great bag and served its purpose. It had plenty of room and stored everything I needed. I got all my snacks in, a rain jacket, a charger for my lights, as well as my tools and spare tube. This left me room to carry two water bottles on the frame which was optimal as this isn’t an organised event and it was my first time and I wasn’t too sure how many shops were going to be open. It is also a twilight ride starting at 8 pm and finishing at dawn. I did find the bag didn’t fit great as it just hung off the bars which meant there was a little bit of movement whilst riding.
On another 90-mile local sportive I completed last year, I borrowed a large seat bag from a friend. The forecast wasn’t the best so I decided to prepare and carry a waterproof jacket, overshoes and gloves. Although it was in the summer, it wasn’t especially cold so I didn’t need loads of layers. The bag did fit neatly under the saddle and didn’t get in the way when pedalling. I could feel it swaying a bit when I was out of the saddle going up hills. It wasn’t as easy to get into as the front bag and was a bit awkward to do up again once I got my jacket out.
This brings me to my latest purchase which I feel is the best yet! I have used it on a few rides now and it seems to be the perfect balance for the 100-mile ride. It’s a frame bag that fits neatly in the front triangle. I can fit a few snacks, tools and tube and a jacket which is all I need for this kind of ride. It is easily accessible whilst riding, although doing the zip up again can be a bit tricky sometimes with one hand. However, it’s very quick to get in and out of at a traffic light stop or if pulling over quickly. I have the Restrap one but there are plenty of other brands out there that make plenty more and some companies will customise ones to fit your bike perfectly.