Back in January I announced my partnership with Liv Cycling as one of their Ambassadors. Cue Imposter Syndrome for me. Ahhh, the things that ran through my head… like “oh god, am I good enough?” …“what on earth do I even know about cycling?!”.
Then I got my ish together and remembered that we all have to start somewhere, we are all at different stages in our journey and we all have ups and downs.
But the gods were on my side. I’d been ‘taking part’ in the Do Better Rides in 2019, an initiative by Ayesha McGowan and each month there were prizes to be won.
Lucky old me won an Introduction to Bike Maintenance workshop at London Bike Kitchen. The 6 hours were split over two successive weekends of 3 hours each and sounded like just the thing I needed to get to know my bike, and bikes in general.
I’m not gonna lie, I’ve always shied away from the bike maintenance stuff since I started riding as an adult and have pretty much just hoped for the best that i don’t get a puncture on my rides.
Again, I have been SO LUCKY. On my London to Paris ride I didn’t get a single puncture. Hallelujah!
Since I haven’t been able to ride as much as I want to up till now (due to studies) I’ve spent some time gearing up ready to hit the road in addition to planning a few adventures. First things first, bike security.
Keeping My Bike Safe
Now I’m not one to lock my bike anywhere but really, I should carry something, right?! On long rides for the past couple of years I’ve used a Hiplok FLX which is a cafe style lock with an integrated light.
It’s perfect when you’re in groups and maybe wanna secure your bike while you nip to the loo and someone keeps an eye on it. Before that, I used the Hiplok GOLD so the launch of their new combination lock – the SPIN – sits perfectly in between the locks I already own.
As with the original hiplok design, you can wear the lock around your waist and honestly, you won’t even notice it is there. The SPIN is handy cos you don’t need to remember keys nor worry about losing them.
If you haven’t already, consider getting bike insurance and sadly, if your bike get’s stolen, there are some steps you can take to increase the chances of recovery.
I also recently came across apple air tags – you can tuck one into the stem of your bike and g*d forbid, should it get stolen, you can track it using an iPhone or iPad. You can get a single air tag, two pack or pack of four (and use for luggage. especially when travelling with your bike).
What To Pack In My Saddle Bag
Since I got my new bike – Ava the Adventurer (Liv Avail Advanced Pro 2019) – I’ve slowly been getting the accessories I need.
I obviously got pedals in time for the arrival of Ava, but since then I had to buy bottle cages, tubeless tyre repair kit, protection sticker things, muc off bike cleaning kit and last but not least this saddle bag from Ortlieb.
Now I have the saddle bag, I was like “what should I carry in there?!” lol. So I reached out to the ladies of the VeloVixen Cycle Chat group on FB and here are the things they suggested:
- spare inner tube (even for tubeless)
- tyre levers
- pump / CO2 cylinders and inflator
- multi tool
- puncture repair kit
- spare chain (quick) link
- Added Extras: tweezers, mini first aid kit, disposable gloves, 2in long piece of tyre, spare rear mech hanger, wet wipes, paracetamol, chamois cream sachets, tampon
- Jersey Pockets: money (for cake, obvs), lip balm, gels, keys, bank card, driving license / I.D, windproof jacket, veggie percy pigs / jelly babies, tissues, sun protection
If you fancy riding without a saddle bag, then maybe a velopac / ridepac is an option? It’s a pretty cool way to keep your valuables safe and dry – see what else you can pack in your ridepac / velopac here.
In Case Of Emergency (ICE)
ID for runners has been well highlighted over the years and it really should be the same for cycling whether in a group or alone. I always make sure to carry my driving licence with me but you could also have a piece of paper with your ICE contact’s phone number on.
The See.Sense ICON Gets An Update
Centuries ago, I was gifted a See.Sense ICON Rear Light and tbh it’s taken me this long to write about it because it’s rare for me to ever need lights.
The USP’s of the ICON are that it makes you more visible at riskier moments and keeps you connected through a smartphone app with a runtime of 15 hours.
According to the website, they’re about to launch the ICON2 in July 2019 which is brighter, has a longer runtime and even more “smartness” (my own word).
Although I never really plan to be out in the dark, I guess it’s always better to be safe than sorry and have a bike light packed in my saddle bag. Don’t forget to charge your lights though peeps! 😉
Liv Presents: Getting Into Cycling
On Thursday 2nd May I will be hosting my first event for Liv at the Giant Store in Chelmsford all about getting into cycling. As everyone has had a different experience I asked Becca and Courtney to join me in a little panel-esque thing to add to my own thoughts and experience.
On the evening we’ll be covering topics such as:
– Types of cycling
– Choosing your first / next bike
– Essential kit
– Cycling Goals
– Joining a team or a community
– Nutrition tips for longer rides
If you happen to live in Essex, would be great to see you there. The event is as much about women who already cycle to share their experience too as it is for those looking for their next adventure (mountain biking maybe?!) or those completely new to cycling.
Meantime, next thing on my list is to replace my bottle cages with ones that match my bike. Seriously, first world problems, but its been getting on my nerves!
Anything I’ve forgotten in the saddle bag must have list?!
Jasmine Hodges says
That’s awesome that you’re an ambassador for Liv cycling and this post is super informative. I am getting into cycling seriously and I don’t know a lot about maintenance or what to bring with me on my rides. This helps.
I’m paying on a Liv road bike and I’m super excited to receive it and start riding it. I’m going to keep this post in mind.
Thanks Jasmine! Hope you’re loving your bike if you’ve got it already? Which model did you go for? There are lots of fab womens communities out there you can ask a million questions too (if you didn’t find my post through one of them!). Look forward to seeing where cycling takes you!
I’m lucky that my husband takes care of all the bike maintenance, but I know I should at least learn how to change a flat on my own so I am not so dependent on him. It sounds like you have all the essentials!
Hardest part is that if I don’t practice I will forget! But not having to practice is a good thing lol (i.e no issues)