What Are Your Brevet Essentials?

I’m curious about what randonneurs carry on brevets. I’ve noticed over the years of randonneuring with Felkerino that I’ve developed my own little list of rando-essentials that I tend to take along “just in case.”

Co-Motion on the 300K

Lots can happen when out riding all day. Weather can change suddenly, your body can start to not feel so good, and the bike itself might need some attention.

In addition to our tools, tube, spare folding tire, and patch kit, Felkerino and I both carry our own suite of just-in-case stuff. It’s not a lot, but it gives us that little bit of extra security during brevets.

We carry helmet covers in case of rain. For rides longer than a 200K, we stash our Gore-Tex jackets in the Carradice.

Felkerino and the Co-Motion

I carry a tiny flashlight or knog-type light to read the cue sheet.

During a 1000K, my mouthpiece got stuck on my sleeve and then dislodged itself from the Camelbak, flying off into the ditch… as it was getting dark. Felkerino happened to have an extra mouthpiece, and since that day, I’ve carried one too.

Because I have problems with my toes (a sad, but true, story) I often take a nail clippers.

Felkerino carries an extra SPD cleat screw. I actually had to use it once when mine fell out on the first day of a 600K.

Since we both use cue sheet holders made out of binder clips, I like to keep an extra one on hand. These can be loaned out in a pinch or can also be used in the event that one of our clips breaks.

I stow a spare pony tail holder. Felkerino does not.

You’ll almost always find lip balm in my back pocket. There’s no time for chapped lips on bike rides.

We take a small container of Chamois Butt’r for the road. Why? I think you know.

Co-Motion around Sugarloaf

Everybody has their own brevet necessities. These are some of ours.

How about you? What quirky essentials are on your brevet packing list?

37 thoughts on “What Are Your Brevet Essentials?

  1. I broke a lot of spokes when I first started riding. A polite but not very subtle bike shop mechanic mentioned it might be because I’m a big guy. I carry spare spokes, spoke wrench and a little widget I got from Velo Orange to remove the cassette in case I have to get at a drive side spoke on the rear wheel. It only weighs a couple of ounces, remarkable little tool.

    I also wrap about 18 inches of duct tape around my pump. Very handy to improvise repairs or even bandages. And a couple of zip ties.

    The rest would read similar to your list, though I don’t need a pony tail tie and I live dangerously with only the installed CamelBak mouth piece.

    As always, a great post MG.

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    1. We carry a zip tie or two as well. Good thought on the duct tape… AND regarding the Camelbak mouthpiece, you now know we can help you out of a jam if we’re on the same ride :).

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  2. The contents of my rack bag on a brevet would shame even a well-stocked bike shop. (e.g. four inner tubes, two spare folding tyres, four back-up front lights but TWO sets of Allen keys, why?) however I have recently decided I will no longer carry tuning forks. Yes, I’ve tuned my last roadside piano, deal with it.

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  3. WOW, What a Question! I carry lots. Four inner tubes,three spare folding tires, tire tools,patch kit and air pump in the tire bag. The rain bag has,rain jacket, pants, helmet cover, booties and rubber gloves. Tool bag with Set of folding Allen keys, folding mult-tool, Swiss Army knife, Shock pump, duct tape, electrical tape, flashlight (old bike light) and tye wraps. Another bag has food and a first aid kit. A 3 liter bag of gatorade, and two bottles of water. Also a blanket and MP3 player. I figure if I have it with me I won’t need it. By the way, I used to be a Boy Scout many years ago. “Be Prepared” was the Motto.

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  4. Tuning forks, mouthpieces– I got confused and thought this was a music blog. 🙂
    I also carry lip balm and Chamois Butt’r, but I don’t worry about an extra pony tail holder. (I’ve now jinxed myself.) I have two tubes and a Park Tool. Actually, what I carry is a lot of food, just in case– extra Shot Bloks, energy bars, pretzels/goldfish crackers, and electrolyte solution to add to my water. I’m a picnic on wheels!

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  5. Two tubes, 1 folding tire, mylar space blanket (only needed it once, but it saved my bacon), chemical toe warmers (year round), chemical hand warmers (~9 months of the year), chapstick, Lantiseptic, assorted meds, bandaids, zip ties, misc extra nuts & bolts, duct tape, a fiber spoke, a Wipperman master link (very handy when a friend broke her chain!), a spare cleat, 2 AAA batteries, a small toolkit, a Road Morph pump, nutrition, extra gloves (always!), a long sleeve base layer and long pair of socks (on all but the hottest summer 200Ks), a Tekkeon TekCharge AA external battery with outputs for both my GPS and my iPhone, mp3 player & earphones (which I only use sometimes, and only at night when approaching car headlights in my rear view mirror mean that I am never startled by cars. Don’t use them during the day.)

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  6. You definitely need a FiberFix, in case a spoke breaks. A trauma kit (w/blood clotting sponge) could save someone’s life, possibly yours. Spare lights. Maybe spare cables.

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  7. In addition to or in lieu of what others have mentioned (and old guy Tim just about covered it) I take complimentary hotel shower cap as emergency helmet cover, quicklink for chain, dime & nickle to open battery compartments on lights, spare cue sheet, bivvy sack on grandes randonnees of 1000 or more kilometers; and I try to ride with or ahead of at least one wrench

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  8. I carry too much crap. I’m pairing down my kit. But….a few things you didn’t mention:
    sram master link – nothing like trying to work out a stiff link when you just dropped one.
    Spare brake and shifter cable (tandem length).

    The more space you have, the more crap you take.

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      1. Ha! Which Carradice do you have? We use the Nelson long flap for brevets, but on tour or even in winter time we’ll use a Camper.

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  9. I’m only new to Audax riding so I’m quite underprepared compared to you and Felkerino. I carry spare tubes, pump, multitool, tyre levers, Goretex jacket (if it looks like rain), spare batteries for my lights and a wind vest in autumn through early spring.

    I don’t have a lot of space to carry gear (I’m still waiting for my Caradice Slim saddle bag to arrive) but as I get along to longer rides I am sure I’ll bring more small bits and pieces of useful gear (next ride I’m going to throw cable ties in because I needed them last ride).

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  10. In addition to the other stuff, I carry a bandana (for glasses, but can also be swapped out for a sweat band in the last hour or two), and usually a spare headband (sweat band or ear warmer, depending on season). Yes, that’s two potential headbands. I really hate sweat dripping down on my glasses, or cold ears because the ear warmer got soaked.

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    1. I carry two headbands in the summer, too. Maybe it’s a luxury, but it doesn’t take up that much space. And I try to carry a bandana when we tour. It’s saved the back of my neck from getting crispy!

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  11. When I was in high school and we’d hitchhike to Shenandoah to camp on Friday afternoon, the competition was, Who can carry the least? Rain tarp, jacket, sleeping bag, matches, gorp was about it. A friend of mine once hitchhiked from Arlington to Lake Erie and back with a box of chocolate covered cherries. I did not carry an extra hairband, though I had a ponytail.

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  12. Well, in addition to the usual stuff, I include TP, toothbrush, floss, and tooth powder into the “rider essential” pocket on longer (24h+) rides.

    Cheers,

    Will
    William M. deRosset
    Fort Collins, CO

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      1. Our local food co-op sells it, as does Whole Foods. .I believe the brand is “Eco-Dent”, though there are others (Arm and Hammer made one for many years that was deeply unpleasant-tasting to me.)

        Cheers,

        Will
        William M. deRosset
        Fort Collins, CO

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  13. First of all lose the cycling shorts and you won’t need the chamois butter but then I think we’ve discussed that before. I always bring dental care stuff. especially floss. My moith gets sore from so much heavy breathing. Lately I’m trying to do more nose breathing. Next, I always carry ibuprofen. I’ve never actually used it on a ride but it’s good to be
    the hero to someone who may need it.

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    1. Hey Russ! Yes, I tried to go sans cycling shorts, and even rode a flèche that way. BUT for some reason it wasn’t working for me so I reverted back to my old ways… we’ll see if I change it up this summer. Oh, and also with ibuprofen, Felkerino carries Immodium or whatever it’s called… and one day he was a hero to me because of it!

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  14. I take many of things listed above–masterlink, tubes, etc. I just always have them in my Berthoud bag. But on anything 200k or over I always also have Fig Newtons and baby wipes, too. If there’s going to be significant night riding I clamp an extra headlight on to my fork.

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  15. Glad to see I’m not the only one that packs a lot for brevets. A lot of the people I ride with don’t take much and give me grief. To me, brevets are about self sufficiency which is paramount – not racing.

    Tire levels, spare tire, 4 tubes, wipes, rubber bands, zip ties, allen wrench quick tool, mini multi-tool w/ pliers, light for helmet, 2 tail likes (super blinks), various clothing depending on the weather, quick links, chain link tool, sun screen, butt butter (Chamois butt’r), nutritional items + medicine (powder mix, endures, etc), blanket, AA battery charger, phone, garmin edge, cateye micro, 2 head lights, pump, reflective gear, couple allen wrech bolts, shift cable, post its, pen. Probably forgetting something.

    There’s been a couple times where I’ve broken down from home on long training rides for something that was easy to fix; but I didn’t have the item on me. When wifey has to drive 1.5 hours each way for a pickup…………..I’ve learned it’s easier to just carry the extra stuff with me 

    Great topic post chasing mail boxes.

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  16. Hello – I carry a lot of the stuff listed here, including the Immodium AD which promotes one to hero status! 🙂 I also carry an insect sting relief kit. I was stung on the face last year and had a lousy ride for the rest of the day. I was stung again riding the TdC recently. The sting kit didn’t stop the pain. But it took away the “burn.” More info on my blog. One thing I don’t have that’s on the way is a space blanket. I was with a rider who crashed on Thursday. She hit her head and likely had a concussion (I hope to find out more tomorrow). She began to shiver after about 10 minutes. It was in the 60’s and shock was possibly setting in. I really wished I had a blanket. Fortunately, a police officer was nearby and had one. We’re not always that lucky. I’ll have one soon! I always enjoy the blog, MG, although I don’t say much! -Scott

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    1. Just started checking out your blog, Scott! Sorry to hear about that rider’s crash. We did start carrying a space blanket too. You never know when one might be helpful.

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  17. Lots of good stuff listed here! Personally, I always carry my favorite self help book (The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Randonneur-Poseurs™) and my Information-Contrôle Decoder Ring. Always…even on a 200k. Both items are on sale now at Randonneur-Poseur Guide. Subsribe to RPG magazine before June 1st and receive an information control decoder ring for free!
    (Disclaimer: I’m on the editorial board at RPG).

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  18. Recent addition is a compact pump as a spare. Broke a frame pump on a commute once. Those tiny compact pumps are lousy but better than nothing on a long event.

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