It’s not about the type of bike.
Road bikes, touring bikes, hybrids, tandems, recumbents, Bromptons, ladies’ shopping bikes with big baskets, full suspension mountain bikes, Halfords ‘speshuls’, a tall bike... we’ve seen them all, and they’ve all made it to the end of the ride.
But... we’ve also seen a lot of people make their ride tougher than it needs to be. Do spend a little time going over your bike with the list below and see if you can’t make life easier for yourself.
The first, biggest rule is...
Lose everything that you don’t really, really need.
The lighter the bike, the easier the ride and the lower the risk of parts playing up. If you’re on a road bike or mountain bike with clip-on mudguards, consider taking them off. This type of mudguard is intent on working loose and rubbing against your wheel. If they’re not doing that, they’re rattling.
You DO need to carry a couple of spare innertubes, a pump, a lightweight waterproof, tyre levers, a spare chain link and some allen keys. (Put those in a small seat pack, a back pocket or in a cheap lightweight rucksack.)
You DON'T need to carry Auntie Mabel’s fruit cake and her famous cheese and pickle sandwiches. Nobody has ever starved to death on one of our rides. (Put some squash, water or an energy drink in your water bottle and stick an energy bar in your back pocket. That’s it.)
Locks are a little trickier. Once you’re on the ride your bike is reasonably safe – and you could always ask one of your fellow riders if your bike can be locked to theirs at the beginning or the end of the ride – but if you need a lock getting to the start and going home from the end then you should bring one.
Check to see that your tyres don't have any flints or pieces of glass embedded in them and that they are inflated to the right pressure. If they’re under-inflated your chances of getting a puncture increase, and your efficiency is greatly reduced. Read more about checking your tyres
Lights generally fall into two categories: Those that enable you to see, and those that allow you to be seen by other road users. You probably already have lights in the "be seen" category. For night riding, your usual "be seen" rear light will do the job. But your front-light should go a step further and let you see the road. Out on dark country lanes, lights that let you see potholes before you hit them will make your ride more enjoyable and less nerve-wracking. Make sure the batteries for your lights are fully charged. Consider carrying spare batteries, or even a spare light if you are using USB lights.
If you need to buy new lights, please exercise caution when buying them from outside the UK/EU via sites such as eBay. This is due to safety concerns around batteries and chargers.
Make sure the battery for your electronic shifting (if that's your thing) is fully charged.
It’s worth going through the Dr Bike checklist to ensure your bike is ready for the ride.
Also take a look at our safety information