What's In Your Pocket?

How long have people stuffed their ride essentials into a jersey pocket? Certainly much longer than I have been around on the planet that’s for sure! Every rider has been there - reaching into a packed rear jersey pocket and fishing around for those elusive sugary bars, attempting to fish out rogue pound coins for the obligatory coffee stop, or yanking out one tyre lever, having lost its way from its accompanying mate.
So step forward 3 solutions to storing all your tranklements, each differing in looks and prices yet all essentially performing the same function, albeit to varying degrees of storing said trinkets.  I picked three different types of jersey bags, but in essence they all do the job. That’s the job of keeping your back pockets organised and offering protection from the elements – be that some gnarly back sweat after a hard session in the saddle, or a glorious downpour and mud spray (for those that forgot to fit their mudguards).
First up is the “Lezyne Caddy Sack”. Crafted from a tough pvc plastic and sporting a sealed waterproof zip, this was the biggest capacity-wise of all three pouches due to its width. Its dimensions are 10 x 14 cm and wouldn’t struggle to fit everything needed for a long ride. But its size may not be suitable to cram into all jersey pockets – It wouldn’t quite fit without a struggle into quite a few tops of mine (a UK size 8 or XS). That’s not to say this is definitive downer on the case though – just something ladies of a smaller stature should be aware of. It will fit just fine into two pocket jerseys and of course one pocket jackets. If in doubt measure the width of your pocket. Its big capacity and toughness makes it ideal as a commuter case to sit inside a backpack or messenger bag. I keep a spare tube, a co2 and affixing head, 2 x tyre levers, a condor mini tool and a patch kit comfortably in this pouch – with room to spare. Available in wither silver as pictured or black, it may not present itself as the most refined solution to handling your goods, but for less than £8 one would be hard pushed to find a better solution to keep all your items safe.
Rapha launched their aptly titled ‘Essentials Case’ in 2010. Made of supple soft leather, the case has dimensions of 15 x 10 cm. Inside a card sleeve holds debit cards securely, whilst a splash of pink is found with the ‘Bon Courage!’ motif inside. Smaller in capacity than the Lezyne, it will hold a tube, levers, patch kit, keys and a small multi-tool just fine. Costing £30 (now reduced in the January sale) some people won’t stomach the perceived ‘rapha pricing’as always  – I purchased mine and am actually using it as an everyday wallet, thus retiring my ancient and much loved Comme Des Garcons turquoise number to the drawer. It’s also perfect size for those with an iphone, although you will struggle to do it up with an iphone and tube contained. Its also slimmer in width than the lezyne so slipped easier into jersey pockets of all sizes. Its a very stylish little number, and a great gift for any cyclist. A more expensive Paul Smith version in purple highlighted colorway is set to launch soon should you want something even more swish.
Lastly is the rudimentary looking ‘Jersey Bin’. Its basically a sleeve of plastic with a secure ziplock style closing designed to offer water protection to your bits and bobs – rather than storing equipment and spares as the examples above. They also work with touch screen phones so you can text home in an emergency whilst raining! Available as a two-size-double-pack for £6.20, they measure 9.5 x 17.5 cm. I picked up a nice Sigma Sport branded one on a La Fuga club run some months ago, and it provides a neat solution to keeping phones and notes from getting a soaking. These are tall and narrow, fitting easily into most pockets. (They are available in two sizes and a variety of prices on jerseybin.co.uk)
If your looking to avoid that unsightly jersey sagging that can occur when loading yourself down then I couldn’t recommend one of the above more highly. One plus factor in having a wee bag is of course its incredibly stylish and debonair (come on be honest – we all strive for that out on the road) but another major tick in the box is that it encourages you to only take out necessities. How many times have you ridden a long route only to get home and discover you didn’t need the extra two bars or two tubes? Streamlining is a good thing here, meaning you will only carry what’s truly needed. Feel free to comment below as to what your ‘ride essentials’ are and what you keep them in...

10 comments:

Pépé said...

I've been using a Rapha product. It's the old style thick plastic bag the hats used to come in. Multitool, tyre boot, park patches, quicklink, gas and nozzle, money, map, phone. Current one is about 3yrs old. Tubes under saddle with a toe strap.

Neil said...

In a tiny grey canvas saddle bag the size of a pear, I stuff 2 tubes, a tire boot, a tire lever, a mini tool, and a mini chain breaker. I use a frame pump on the bike. It's overkill, but I love the peace of mind. I bail my riding buddies out more than myself!

Saddle bags aren't 'cool' but this one inconspicuously sits up against the saddle nicely. I dig it.

Haris said...

A tube, 2 co2's and affixing head, a couple of tyre levers, a Topeak mini 6 tool, a pre-glued patch kit and a business card with my emergency phone numbers + a ten euro note (inside a plastic cover) packed in the tiny 0,5 lt Bianchi saddle bag. An extra tube, a Pany LX-5 (inside it's Crumpler bag), 2 energy bars and a set of cleat covers in Rapha Jacket's back pockets. Mobile + keys in Rapha jacket's tiny zipped pocket. It gets very difficult when I need to also pack a wind/rain jacket in Rapha's (rather smallish) back pockets ...

Ian Parkinson said...

Hmm...wasn't until I started thinking about it that I realised I might be a bit obsessive. Three bikes, with three identical mini-saddlebags held on with old Campag toe-straps. Tube, patch kit, two tyre levers, handwipes and plasters, allen keys in each. 15mm spanner in the one on the fixed, cut down chain splitters on the two geared bikes. Then cash, credit card and keys in an old Timbuk2 messenger's purse in one pocket, phone in another and mini-pump in the other. Not at all obsessive.

damien breen said...

Just been re-reading Le Métier and both Michael Barry and David Millar use saddle bags when out winter training. That is endorsement enough for me. And they're so convenient I don't care if it looks uncool.

For phone, keys, money etc. I use the little zip-lock bags that ZipVit package their vitamins and whatnot in. The same one has lasted me over a year already, and I have a whole stash waiting in the wings ready to be called into action. Practical, effective, free.

Dan (@52Teeth) said...

I'm down to 1 tube, 1 lever and a Lezyne pocket pump. Plus phone and food depending on length of time out.

Did not puncture or mechanical once last year in 7,000 km on the roadie.

Its also worth sorting out kit with people you ride with. You don't need 7 pumps, 22 tire levers and 6 multi tools between you!

Bianchista said...

I must admit I also have a cute saddle bag, the fizik clip one. I had one that lasted 3 years then finally gave up the ghost and the clip rotted off but its so perfect I went straight out and replaced it! In it i keep levers, mini tool, co2 and squeeze 1 tube in, leaving the essentials case for money keys & phone.
Loving hearing everyone's methods here!

atlanticspeed said...

2 tubes, 2 CO2 cartridges and adapter, tire levers, multi tool, $20, blackberry, energy gels, business card with phone numbers and stuff (thinking I should get a Road ID?)..that's about it. really like the idea of the essentials case..nothing worse than sticking your hand into a rear jersey pocket, fumbling around for something or old energy gel packs leaking all over your stuff..

John the Monkey said...

The ICS clip on my Fizik saddle bag had given up within a year - I much prefer a velcro strap to fix the bag - Specialized's wedge is what I use now, largely for the neoprene multi-tool sleeve on the inside that reduces rattling.

Mine has levers, patch kit, a single tube and a Topeak Hexus multi-tool in it. My phone & keys live in a Topeak tri-bag on the top tube. Jersey pockets are occupied by arm warmers, gilet & food, usually (an early morning start means changeable temperature through the ride, most days), and occasionally a second tube if I'm out with other folk, or on a particularly long ride.

Phips said...

"One plus factor in having a wee bag is..."

You don't have to stop for 'nature' breaks?

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