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Safe cycling: 5 essential items for long distance rides and 5 for city trips

Cycling is a favored Canadian sport and pastime. To ride in most provinces, cyclists must outfit bicycles with the following:

    ·    Bell or horn
    ·    Front light and rear reflector
    ·    Working brakes

There are also many optional tools and accessories cyclists carry. The contents of your pack may change based on distance, location, and weather.

Here are 5 things riders should pack for long-distance cycling and 5 for city cycling.

Long-Distance Trips

Long-distance cycling might take you through unknown terrain and stretches of uninhabited land. It’s important to pack the things that won’t be available to you on the road.

It goes without saying that any extended bike trip should include:

    ·    Identification
    ·    Money
    ·    Mobile phone
    ·    USB charging pack

There are also some things you should pack for emergencies and safety, such as:

1. Flat Kit

Getting a flat in the city is an easy fix with bike shops and help nearby. When you’re 60 km from home with no civilization in sight, a flat kit is essential. Every flat tire kit should include:

    ·    Inner tube
    ·    Patches
    ·    Tire lever
    ·    Air pump
    ·    CO2 canister

2. Chain Links and Tools

You’ll be stuck if your chain breaks with no shop in sight to fix it. Chain links and tools depend on bike model and speed. The most common chain tools include:

    ·    Quick-release chain link
    ·    Master link pliers
    ·    Chain breaker

3. First Aid Kit

Nobody plans on a cycling injury, but you should always be prepared for one. A first aid kit should include:

    ·    Medial gloves
    ·    Antibiotic ointment
    ·    Gauze pads
    ·    Antiseptic wipes
    ·    Compression bandage
    ·    Medical tape
    ·    Emergency blanket

4. Emergency Tent and Waterproof Jacket

Emergency tents are useful, even if you have accommodations planned. The tent should be reflective, lightweight, and waterproof.

Along with your emergency tent, pack a waterproof jacket. Canadian weather is fickle. Summer evenings get cool, and hypothermia is a real threat in the rain.

5. Food and Water

Food and water seem an obvious essential for a long-distance cycler. It’s important to pack enough food and water for each leg of your trip. Some long rides don’t pass through towns for hours. Energy bars, energy gels, dried fruit, and nuts are all compact snacks that last.

City Cycling

You definitely need fewer gadgets in the city than on a long stretch of road. There are still some essentials a city cyclist should bring on every trip, including:

1. Bike Lock

A bike lock is necessary if you plan on parking your bike along your city ride. Whether you’re popping into a corner store, or stopping for a bike to eat, a lock will keep your bike secure. Opt for a combination lock if possible. Losing the key to a bike lock will lead you on a hunt for bolt cutters.

2. Multi-tool

Help may not be far off in a city setting, but it’s handy to have a multi-tool for emergencies. A multi-tool for a bicycle might include:

    ·    Spoke wrench
    ·    Hex wrench
    ·    Torx wrench
    ·    Pedal wrench
    ·    Knife
    ·    Phillips-head screwdriver
    ·    Flathead screwdriver
    ·    Wire chain hook
    ·    Chain breaker tool

3. Visibility Vest

City streets are full of traffic. A visibility vest keeps you in sight of drivers as the sun goes down. Lightweight visibility vests can be stored in panniers or backpacks until needed.

4. Cycling Mirror

Cycling mirrors don’t eliminate the need for shoulder checks, but they reinforce your line of sight during travel. Keep an eye on what’s behind you, without turning away from the street ahead.

5. Map or GPS

Unlike your well-planned long-distance trip, a ride through the city sometimes requires spontaneous route changes. A map shows you where to go if a street is closed due to construction or an accident.

Some of these components are essential for both long and short-distance rides. Consider your location, and what might be available to you on your journey as you pack. Safe travels!

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