The anti-morning person’s guide to packing for a ride

When I wake up for a ride at the crack of dawn (no matter how late the ride leaves, it always feels like the crack of dawn), my brain is still off. Even after pouring a cup of coffee (that I pre-programmed the night before, the ultimate lazy cyclist hack), I’m still a little too slow-moving to remember everything I need for a successful ride. The trick to being prepared for a ride is setting everything out the night before.


clothesLay everything out on your bed so you know you’re not forgetting anything. Make sure you have:

-a jersey (or running top that will breathe well and allow you to bend)

-bibs (or shorts if you prefer)

-small accessories that you won’t want to dig for in the morning: cap, socks, vest/knee warmers if it’s chilly.

This ensures that all you have to do post-coffee is jump into your clothes, fireman style.



Locate two bottles and caps (why is it always so hard to find matching caps!), and fill them up the night before. Add electrolyte powder if you like an extra boost and a little flavor.



jersey pocketWe don’t wear jerseys to look like weird superheroes, we wear them for the back pockets. You can fit a lot in those pockets – a friend of mine once cut through the stitching to turn her three pockets into one and fit an entire pie into it! The items in your back pockets will be readily accessible throughout the ride, which makes it easy to snack while riding. The night before, set aside your snacks, hand pump, sunscreen (for hot summer days, it’s nice to have a small tube of sunscreen so you can reapply it half way through the ride), and wallet.



walletSome jerseys have waterproof zipper pockets for your cards and cash. If you jersey does not, a plastic sandwich bag makes a nice lightweight, waterproof wallet. In your fancy new wallet, pack:

-your ID

-a credit or debit card

-some just-in-case cash.

Consider keeping your phone in here, too, so it doesn’t get sweaty.



seat packMost seat packs are big enough to store flat repair supplies:



-maybe a patch kit or CO2

-your keys (I like to keep my keys in my seat pack instead of my jersey pocket so I can be sure they won’t fall out when I reach for a snack).

I also keep an emergency Gu in my seat pack, so that when I unpack it to change a flat I am reminded to eat a snack. Flat repair is a great time to rehydrate and take in some calories.



snacksChoose snacks that are easy to eat, easy to pack, and most importantly, tasty. Pack your favorite flavors so you’ll enjoy eating on your ride. Since everything will be in your jersey pocket, choose things that won’t melt too much in the sun (unless you like licking Clif bar wrappers for sustenance). Check out Emma’s post for good advice on snacks.



Set out your sunglasses, hair ties, sunscreen, helmet, and chamois cream so your morning routine is quick and simple.



Charge your phone and Garmin in a conspicuous place so you won’t forget to grab them in the morning. Set a loud, reliable alarm. Or two.



Fill your tires and ready your bike the night before. Check out Courtney’s post for good advice on safety checking your bike.


Packing the night before ensures that you’ll be ready for anything the ride throws at you. Now, all you have to do in the morning is autopilot through your coffee/oatmeal routine!

One Comment

  1. […] 2) Gather Ride Day Essentials — Take inventory the day before to make sure you have what you need in your saddle bag and pockets: 2 spare tubes, patch kit, tire levers, C02 cartridges and header (or hand pump), and a mini-tool if you have one. Resealable zip lock bags are great for protecting your phone, ID, cash or credit card inside your jersey pocket. Not sure what to plan? Here’s how to pack for a ride. […]

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