5 Must-Have Emergency Items

boone_fuji_leanBefore you roll out on your next ride, you need to make sure you’re prepared for an emergency. Now, we don’t mean you necessarily need to bring an entire first aid kit with you (although for you mountain bikers out there, it’s probably not a bad idea). What we mean is making sure you can get yourself home safe and sound without bonking, flatting, or getting lost– or at least being able to make The Call if you do.

emergency items

  1. Phone: No matter how short your ride, always bring your phone with you and make sure it’s charged up. There are a million situations that might lead to you need to make The Call for a ride: you might crash, bonk, get one too many flats, break a chain, etc… You just never know. Plus, it’s great for taking Instagram photos along the way.
  2. ID, Emergency Contact and Medical Info: Always bring a photo ID with you on your ride. In addition, write down your name, home town, and emergency contact number, plus any important medical info (previous injuries, medical conditions, allergies) on a sheet of paper and keep it in the plastic baggie with your phone.  That way if you crash or are involved in a car accident, the EMT’s and police will know who you are, who to contact, and what treatments you may need. There are also products like Road ID that make bracelets you can wear with your emergency info. It might also be a good idea to put an ICE (in case of emergency) number in your mobile phone.
  3. Cash: Cards are awesome, but cash is still king. Many country stores don’t take cards or have minimum limits on how much you can put on a card, so if you need food you may be out of luck. Plus, you can always use a folded up bill to boot a tire in case of a sidewall cut to keep the tube from pushing out of the hole.
  4. Map or GPS: Even if you think you know the route really well, always bring a map or GPS with you. Whether it’s a map printout, your phone, your Garmin 510, 800 or 810, or something else, always make sure you know how to get home.
  5. Flat Repair Kit: Nothing will end a ride faster than flatting without a repair kit. Always bring your repair kit with you, and make sure you include: spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, Co2 cartridge and chuck or mini-pump. Do not ever try to ride on a flat tire; you’ll just ruin your wheel. Don’t know how to fix a flat? Check out our handy how to.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments section below.

12 thoughts on “5 Must-Have Emergency Items

  1. I alway ride with my SPOT GPS Tracker. I figure if I’m in a location that doesn’t have a cell coverage I can still get a message out with my SPOT and Heaven forbid I need EMT’s I can push a button and they will be dispatched, I dont even have to speak…

  2. My medical ID is hooked to one of the straps on my riding shoes. You can also strap one to the seat [post or goose neck.

  3. general purpose triple spoke wrench should be added. It can make the difference between limping home or dragging your bike back 5+ miles.

  4. The note is useless. EMTs will not look for it and if it gets wet, your information is destroyed. Either use a RoadID or use an ICE application on the phone. One even exists for iPhones that can be used as the lock page so that EMTs can find it. First responders are now trained to look for Road IDs on either the wrist or ankle (if you are a runner don’t worry, shoes are also checked if one is not found there). Information to put on the ICE/RoadID: Your name, emergency contact phone number. Any short and useful medical information: Allergic to PCN, allergic to bug venom (bee stings), plate in right collarbone (so we don’t think that is a fresh injury when we find it). Some applications have a subscription to a medical repository that can only be accessed by and in a hospital environment. Also, if you are going on a longer ride, carry two tubes and enough CO2 or a small (mini) pump to inflate them.

  5. I always bring a couple of alcohol swab packets. They are light and small, but great for cleaning greasy fingers, road rash or your glasses. They also make a great boot if you badly hole a tire. And they really help those instant patches hold if you clean the tube with a swab first.

  6. Requiring a minimum purchase to use a credit or debit card violates the merchant’s contract with the card issuer. The merchant can impose an additional fee, but it cannot require a minimum purchase.

    And yes, I’ve been that asshat arguing with the poor minimum-wage clerk at the quicky-mart.

  7. Rather than writing down your emergency info, take a photo of your driver’s licence & insurance card with your phone. I keep photocopies of these 2 documents, actual size, laminated back to back, in my saddle bag. I also keep a Park Tool emergency tire boot – they’re like 3 for $4 and work way better than a folded bill.

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