Cycling Checklist – Preparation and what to take on a ride

When setting off on a ride from home it’s easier to remember the essentials, like the bike or your cycling clothes! However if you are travelling to the start of an event it can be easy to forget something important like the helmet, or cycling shoes. It’s possible to forget anything if you are rushing or disorganised. For example, if you remove the front wheel to place it in the back of the car, make sure you don’t leave the wheel behind!

Allow plenty of time to put the bike on or in the car before you leave.

Pre-ride bike check

Saddle correct height
Tyres correct pressure and free from damage
Chain clean and lubricated
All bolts/screws etc. tightened to correct torque
Brakes functioning efficiently
Gears changing smoothly


Not everything on this list you will have or need, but will give you an idea of what you might have forgotten!


Helmet – compulsory at most events!
Cycling shorts/tights
Base layer
Waterproof jacket
Arm/leg warmers
Cycling shoes

Cycling glasses
Cycling gloves

Clothing/shoes to travel in
Spare clothes for afterwards


Sensible clothing for cycling including padded shorts if you have them. If you wear special cycling shoes don’t forget to take them… and don’t forget the helmet!

Depending on temperature/weather you may need more or less layers. The weather can be very changeable on a longer ride, with a wide variation in temperatures. Starting a ride at 6oC and finishing at 22oC makes for a very difficult clothing choice! Riding in all types of weathers and temperatures will help you decide from experience what works for you.

Travelling to the event in your cycling clothes will save time and hassle, particularly if there are no changing rooms, but it’s a good idea to pack a few spares like socks as they often get soaked on a wet ride and driving home with wet feet isn’t much fun. Spare clothes are a good idea if you have somewhere to change afterwards.

It’s a good idea to lay it all out the night before so you are not rushing and you can get a good night’s sleep knowing you’re ready. Some of it you may not need if you know the weather is going to be sunny or hot.


Bike extras
(in pockets / saddlebag / framebag / backpack)

Multi-tool (and any tools specific to your bike)
Spare inner tube (or two)
Tyre levers
Patch kit
Pump / CO2 cartridges
Chain links
Cycle computer
Heart Rate Monitor strap
Folding tyre


Food / Drink

Flapjack, bananas, gels, energy bars, chocolate, sweets, electrolytes
Water bottles
Recovery food and drink (for afterwards)


Money (for cafe stop/emergencies) / bank card / train tickets
I.D. (always sensible to carry on rides)
Phone (charged) + battery pack
Keys (house / bike lock / car)
Bike lock
Medications (and condition/allergy info for paramedics)
First aid kit


If you get all this ready the day before then you’ll have time to relax!


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