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Big ride kitlist

9 Sep 2016

Get ready for a big ride with this essential kitlist. Some are obvious, some not so much.

One of the great things about cycling is the beautiful simplicity of it – if you’ve got a bike, you’ve already got pretty much everything you need to go out and see the world. Of course, to get the most out of it, you’ll need to put a little more thought into preparation. Nothing is more disappointing than a ride being ruined because you’re cold and wet, or your bike breaks down. 

We’re very mindful of this, having signed up to take part in the 960-mile Deloitte Ride Across Britain in September (, but the same principles apply if you’re taking on a 50-mile sportive, a 200km audax or anything else involving long hours in the saddle. We looked at how to train your body for a monster ride before, but here we’ve brought together a checklist of clothing, accessories and maintenance essentials to keep you going for miles with a smile on your face, whatever the road throws at you.

The kit

The most important consideration here is comfort. Staying dry isn’t always possible but keeping warm is vital. Luckily, modern cycling kit uses lightweight, high-tech fabrics that make it easy to carry a wardrobe to cover all weather conditions.

Endura Windchill II gilet

Three-season protection, with a wind- and waterproof front panel and side panels in thermal Roubaix material. This feature-packed garment also has three rear pockets and a zipped chest pocket, and feels very well constructed, as you’d expect from the Scottish all-weather cycle clothing experts Endura.


Salice 012 CRX shades

Spending all day on the bike means the possibility of changing weather conditions. The photochromic lenses on these shades will adapt to varying light conditions, as well as protecting your eyes from flying bugs and grit thrown up from the road. They’re a good comfortable fit, and stylish, too.


Endura Windchill arm & knee/leg warmers

Removable arm and leg warmers make more sense than a long-sleeve jersey and long tights when you might need to be changing several times during a ride. These ones use Thermolite fabric with durable water repellency to keep your extremities warm and dry in all but the very worst of British weather.

Arm warmers £22.99, Leg warmers £32.99,

Isadore merino base layer

The natural antibacterial properties of merino wool make this the ideal base layer for multi-day rides when you might not get the chance to freshen up as often as you’d like. Designed in Slovakia, where temperatures can sink to -10ºC in winter, it’s also great at keeping you warm when temperatures drop. 


Getting there

Unless your big ride sets off from your front door, you’ll also need to plan how you’re going to get you and your bike to the start line – that might mean driving, or it could mean a plane journey. 

Thule Proride 598

Innovative roof-mounted rack from one of the biggest names in the business. The clamp in the main arm has a torque limiter to ensure you don’t overtighten it, and should you have to leave your car unattended, the retaining straps are also lockable to keep thieves away.


Bikebox Velovault Hard Case

The Wladimir Klitschko of the bike transportation world – big and hard enough to protect your bike from the roughest of airport baggage handlers. It’s a fairly major investment but worth it if you’re travelling abroad regularly with your bike – to take on the Haute Route or Étape du Tour, for example. 


In the saddlebag

Even if your big ride comes with support en route, a modicum of self-sufficiency will mean you’re never left waiting around for help to turn up.

Weldtite Jetvalve

Quicker to use than a pump, and smaller, although each canister is only good for one use, so it’s a good idea to carry spare canisters, or a pump as well for backup. Don’t forget to pack a spare inner tube or two as well!


Café lock Knog Milkman Retractable Lock

Not the most secure way to keep determined thieves at bay, being somewhat less sturdy than a full D-lock, but enough to deter opportunists when you stop to refuel with coffee and cake, or for a comfort break. Small and light enough to fit easily in a jersey pocket, it won’t weigh you down.


SKS Spaero Sport Alu

Small enough to fit neatly in a jersey pocket, this handsome chrome pump claims to be powerful enough to get your tyres up to 115psi – a bold statement that’s backed up by our own testing. The clasp to fit it to the valve is also well designed.


Topeak Mini 9 Pro Carbon

Many of the bigger sportives offer mechanical support along the route, but why leave yourself dependent on others when it might be quicker to fix minor problems yourself? This nifty tool is lightweight yet robust, and despite its tiny size packs in loads of quality tools, including tyre levers. 


Nuun Active Hydration Tablets

Pop one of these in your water bottle and it’ll not only taste better, the electrolytes will get depleted vitamins and minerals back into your system.

£6 (tube of 12),

The bike

Having done your training and got your kit together, now make sure your bike is up to the job. 

SKS Raceblade

Even if it’s sunny when you set off, these simple clip-on mudguards, suitable for most road bikes, are useful insurance against changeable weather, protecting your posterior from the spray thrown up by your tyres in wet conditions. They’ll also help to protect your bike’s delicate frame and expensive components from the damaging effects of grit and water.


Jagwire Road Elite Link

Over the course of time, cables can stretch and fray, impairing the performance of braking and gear shifting. It’s a good idea to replace them at least once a year, and definitely ahead of a big ride. These upmarket cables from Jagwire (above left) both look good and perform brilliantly.

Brake cable set £54.99, Gear cable set £59.99,

Lezyne Femto Drive

You may not be planning on riding at night, but plans have a habit of going awry and it doesn’t take much bad luck to get caught out and find yourself racing against the setting sun. A decent set of emergency lights such as these is also a good idea for extra visibility when black clouds are filling the sky. 

£21.99 (front and rear set),

Continental GP 4000 S II

Old, worn tyres are prone to punctures, so fitting fresh rubber ahead of a big ride makes a lot of sense. Lightweight racing tyres will give you speed but aren’t very durable, while puncture-proof tyres can be heavy and provide a harsh ride. Conti’s GP 4000 S II perform well in all conditions with outstanding grip and decent puncture-resistance.


Specialized S-Wrap Roubaix

Not strictly an essential but new tape will freshen up the look of your bike. And if you’re going to fit new tape, this S-Wrap Roubaix is a good choice, with its non-slip surface for extra grip, and elastomer gel backing for increased comfort on long rides.


SwissStop Flash Pro BXP

Even more important than the state of your tyres, perhaps, is the condition of your brake blocks. Check and replace if necessary. The SwissStop ones pictured above left are an expensive option, but their performance makes for a strong case in their favour, with excellent stopping power on alloy rims in the wet, as well as in dry conditions.

£21.99 (pack of 4),

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