If you found yourself saying, "Literally all of those," you're in luck, because the following hacks will not only make your life on the road easier, they'll make it more enjoyable as well. But don't take our word for it—try these tips out for yourself.
Frozen Bottle1 of 17
It's the middle of the day. The sun is beating down on your back and the sweat is dripping down your face. You might even be imagining an ice cold glass of water—or, who are we kidding, beer—when you get home. What if we told you that icy goodness could run down your throat right then and there? Fill a water bottle 2/3 of the way and freeze it the night before. In the morning, top the bottle off as you head out the door (this will help thaw the water a little quicker and give you access to a small amount of water in the event it is cooler than expected). It'll begin to thaw out in a few hours, and you'll have refreshing ice cold water when you need it most.
Snug Bottle2 of 17
As your bottle cages begin to wear out, it's not uncommon to find yourself with bottles that rattle around and occasionally pop out. To avoid losing your favorite vessel or to cut down on that annoying rattling sound, stick a bit of bar tape inside the cage to fill any gaps. A small strip of adhesive sandpaper will also do the trick.
Duct Tape3 of 17
We all know duct tape can pretty much be used for anything—from fashioning a makeshift helmet clasp to securing water bottles. But taking a whole roll with you on a ride is not just silly—it can get heavy, fast. Instead, rip off a strip and fold it onto itself. Then, take a couple more strips and fold them onto the original piece. Just don't forget to fold the end under to make it easy to peel off when the time comes.
Or, kill two birds with one stone and wrap the strips around your water bottle. They'll peel off easily and make your bottle snugger in its cage.
Sunscreen4 of 17
Sunscreen itself isn't a hack, but here's one: Don't apply it to anything above your eyes. The next time that sweat and sunscreen concoction drips into your eyes and you scream like a kid without no tear-shampoo, you'll be wishing you remembered this tip. Worried about getting a nice little forehead tan line? Wearing a cap and sun glasses should provide enough shade to get you through your ride without too much change in skin color.
Saddle Height Marker5 of 17
You've probably spent months, maybe even years, getting the perfect saddle height. So when you have to pack your bike down but forget to mark the height, you probably want to scream more than a few expletives. Save yourself some trouble by using a sticker, a small strip of tape or a marker line to easily find that ideal position when you put everything back together.
Proper Tape Wrapping6 of 17
Wrap your bars starting from the ends of your drops—not from your hoods. This helps prevent any issues of tape unraveling while out on a ride, which isn't just an annoyance—it looks pretty silly, too. And looking our best out on the road is important, right?
Plus, if being efficient and going as fast as possible is a priority of yours, stop your tape just past the hoods so as not to ruin the aerodynamics of the handlebars.
Gel Tire Boot7 of 17
We've all probably changed a flat at least once or twice. But what do you do when you're stopped with more than just a tube puncture? To remedy a tire slash, line inside the affected area with a gel wrapper to boot the tire and protect the inner tube. A folded dollar bill will also do the trick.
Spare Derailleur Hanger8 of 17
Designed to break in an impact, a damaged derailleur hanger is one of the most common ride-ending mechanicals. They're generally inexpensive, so just slot one into your saddle bag for an easy mid-ride fix.
Cleaning Your Drivetrain9 of 17
To keep your bike spotless and running smoothly, you don't need to buy a fancy contraption. In fact, all you need is an old toothbrush, a shoelace and a sponge. The toothbrush is perfect for carefully getting into those nooks and crannies around the rear derailleur, including the pulleys. The shoelace, meanwhile, can be used to clean in between your chain links; simply run one end through the top of the chain and out the bottom, then pull it up and down repeatedly between each chain link. You can also use a shoelace to clean your rear cassette—just take your wheel off and starting at the biggest sprocket, work the shoelace in toward the hub (left to collect the grime, right to move to a new section).
Finally, use the sponge and a bit of degreaser to give it the final polish. Fold the sponge in half and place the midsection across the chain, then spin your pedals backwards as you hold the sponge in place (about 10 to 15 pedal revolutions should do the trick). Take a clean cloth and wipe the excess off the chain, then apply a little lube and voila! Good as new.
Baby Powder10 of 17
It's not just good for chafing. Take your spare inner tube out of the box and save it in a small plastic baggie with a sprinkle of baby powder. The powder will allow your tube to slide around in the tire as you inflate, reducing friction and ultimately dodging unnecessary pinch flats.
De-Stink Your Shoes11 of 17
The stench from your cycling shoes may be something you've become immune to, but save your significant other or even your pets some grief by removing the insoles after every ride and stuffing the inside with newspaper to absorb any moisture left to stew. Don't have any newspaper? Pages from an old phonebook, paper towels or even a quick douse with the hair drier will do the trick just fine.
Stem Cache12 of 17
It might be inconvenient to access, but you'll be thankful you stuffed your stem with the essentials next time you're out on a ride and find yourself in need of cash, patches, money or other similar items. Plus, it'll give you peace of mind in case you ever forget to pack something important in your saddle bag or jersey pocket.
Dampen Road Vibration13 of 17
No one loves vibrating hands. To cut down on the pesky rhythm, first wrap your bars with an old inner tube. Remove the stem and cut the tube to the appropriate length before wrapping with your bar tape of choice. This will not only repurpose those old inner tubes, but also cut down on bar tape use, saving you money as well as your hands from feeling like you used a jackhammer all day.
Carry a Presta-Schrader Adapter14 of 17
Not all flats are explosive—some leak gradually. If you're out of spare tubes and CO2 cartridges, a Presta-Schrader adapter will allow you to fill up at any gas station pump until you make it back home.
Plastic Protection15 of 17
Depending on where you live, summertime can get hot. And no one likes soggy bills or a sweaty, sticky phone screen. There's a simple hack for keeping your items dry and out of harm's way without buying a fancy cellphone case. A simple Ziploc bag will protect your phone, cash and cards from sweat and rain. Plus, you can still use your touchscreen through the thin plastic barrier.
Tire Swap16 of 17
Your rear tire generally wears out twice as fast as your front tire. When it's time to replace, put your front tire on the back, and the new tire on the front—just like when you rotate your car tires or flip your couch cushions. Plus, the fresh tire on the front wheel will greatly improve handling on descents.