The cycling gods, in all their wisdom, did not create all century rides equally. Some rides are well supported with SAG vehicles and rest stops that allow cyclists to rest and refuel along the way; other century rides have a more laissez-faire attitude toward their events. What you bring largely depends on the ride itself, so be sure to perform some research and find out the kind of support your ride offers.
There are, however, a few quintessential items you should not ride 100 miles without.
To Pack in Saddle Bag
First of all, if you don't have a good saddle bag, a century ride is the perfect excuse to invest in one. We like Fizik's line of minimal, monochromatic bags. Or follow Rule No. 31 and just keep this stuff in your jersey pocket.
- Patch kit
- Spare tube(s)
- Tire lever
- Co2 cartridge
To Pack in Your Back Pockets
Cycling jerseys are made with three rear pockets for a reason— use them all, and use them wisely. This is where you should put the items you most often wish to access.
Ziplock bag containing:- Driver's license
Insurance information (You'll never need this, until you do. You can thank us later.)
- Cell phone
- Cash (for a celebratory beer after, or to boot your tire in case of puncture)
- A small tube of sunscreen
- Or save some space by getting a Road ID that includes all of your personal information.
- Energy bars. Choose wisely—Port-A-Potties can be 15 miles apart (Picky Bars are wholesome, tasty and loaded with calories.
- Gels. We recommend two caffeinated (Gu Roctane is a serious pick-me-up. and one non-caffeinated (Cliff Shot gels are organic and have a litter leash for that annoying tab. ); save the caffeinated version for the last 20 or so miles when you need a boost.
- A banana. An important part of fueling on a century ride is to eat solid food; a banana will fit easily into your pocket and provide a quick hit of easily digested carbohydrates.
- Reserve water bottle. This one is personal preference, but a third bottle can help you make fewer stops along the way.
To Pack on the Bike
Some items are just too big and cumbersome to fit in your jersey pockets or saddle bag. Make sure to install both water bottle cages on your frame in case you haven't already.
- Two water bottles, one with a nutritional supplement (we like Skratch Labs exercise hydration mix) and the other with water.
- Compact frame pump. If you're willing to lug one along, your group will thank you in the event of multiple flats or a blown Co2 cartridge.
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