I’m the first to admit, I sometimes go out unprepared. Either knowingly or inadvertently I’ll head out on a bike ride only at some point during the ride to remember that I am screwed if I get a serious puncture or mechanical.
Some days, if I’m cycling close to home and on a bike with tubeless or tubular tyres I’ll just shove a CO2 canister in my jersey pocket and home it’s enough to limp home if I get a flat.
But it’s a risky business.
At the same time, there’s something quite ungainly about spending a ton of money on a gorgeous bike, making sure you’re turned out in your best kit with your super-expensive deep rim wheels polished brightly, and finishing off the look with a fugly saddle bag!
So here are five ways to carry enough bike spares to get you out of trouble, without getting you in trouble with the cycling style police.
1. The “nothing shall touch my bike” approach: Lezyne Caddy Sack
This pouch comes in a couple of different sizes and is big enough to carry the essentials (levers, spare inner tube, co2 cannister and a small multi-tool) in a tough waterproof casing that can be slid into most jersey pockets. It might not be small enough to be hidden completely in the pocket but it’s a neat solution if you don’t mind the extra weight on your jersey rather than the bike. A good option if you absolutely detest saddle bags.
The poor man’s alternative: a sandwich bag is probably just as waterproof and maybe easier to hide in your jersey pocket.
2. The “it’s meant to look like that” approach: Topeak Escape Pod
This simple cannister is about the same size as a water bottle and so occupies one of the cages on your bike. Ideal for shorter rides where you’re only going to carry one bottle anyway. Okay, so it’s not particularly sleek, but the plain black casing keeps things stealthy and the weight being lower on the bike frame is no bad thing (assuming you’re not a triantelope and shoving it in a bottle cage behind the saddle…). There’s enough room for the spares you need, including a couple of CO2 cartridges, just pack it carefully to avoid rattles.
The poor man’s alternative: take a 750ml drinks bottle and cut it open near the top at the widest point. Should be enough to stuff in what your need, especially if you still run tubs. If it’s good enough for Alistair Brownlee…
3. The “it’s a saddle bag, get over yourself” approach: Lezyne Pod Caddy
If you’ve got a bike with an aero seat post, some saddle bags won’t fit. The Lezyne Pod Caddy fits to the saddle rails and looks to do a semi-decent job of hiding itself out of the wind. The medium-sized unit is probably just big enough to fit the bare essentials for daily use and the quick release system should save faffing about roadside in the rain.
The poor man’s alternative: just buy a damned saddle bag, they start at under £10.
4. The “technology is everything” approach: Silca Sear Roll Premio
This under-saddle storage system (I’m not sure you can call it a ‘bag’) doesn’t look particular aero, but with its boa-dial fitting system and (apparently) sufficient capacity for levers, two CO2 cannisters, multi-tool and inner tube, it’s quite a compelling proposition. Until you realise the price is circa £45, which is kind eye-watering, even if the materials used are space age.
The poor man’s alternative: I’m really struggling here, there’s nothing quite like it!
5. The “I’m a triathlete!”approach: Topeak Fastfuel Dry Bag
Okay, so triathletes typically use these to store energy gels and jellybeans (I should know), but they can also double up as effective spares storage. Having a bag on the top tube is definitely marmite, but (and I can barely believe I’m saying this…) ones like the Topeak Fastfuel Drybag actually don’t look so bad, and behind the stem isn’t the worst place to have a bag on the bike. You’ll need to make sure you have enough spacers under your stem to fit it though.
The poor man’s alternative: don’t; just don’t…
So there you have it, five ways to carry spares on your bike that hopefully won't ruin all the effort and expense you put into making the rest of the package look good!