We're supposed to be a self-sufficient, hardy bunch who are prepared for anything that might arise while we ply our craft out in the forest. Flat tire? No problem. Broken doohicky? I've got a zip-tie for that. Attacked by a bear? Kill it with your Leatherman and use its hide to make yourself an endur-bro butt bag. At least, I think that's how a lot of us see ourselves. But I've noticed myself trending the opposite direction lately... ''Oh, I'm only going out for five hours, so I probably don't need an extra tube,'' which is a surefire way to find yourself doing the walk of shame home in the dead of night. It's like I'm playing a game with myself sometimes to see just how little I can get away with carrying, and I'm getting closer and closer to turning into RC's much-maligned parasite
I wasn't always an idiot, though. There was a time when I didn't leave for a ride without my massive, army-themed CamelBak that was home to everything from spare shift cables and a derailleur hanger, to a roll of Gorilla Tape, a box of Pop-Tarts, and a few cans of Coke. Diet, of course. I probably went overboard back then, surely because I didn't want to be 'that guy' who needed to beg and borrow his way off the mountain.
All this came flooding back to me a few nights ago when I was talking about how I carry my essentials with me during a ride, which is now an approach that only involves a small seat bag and, if I'm really getting out there, some bits and bobs tucked into the pockets on the back of my bib shorts. No backpack, no asspack, and usually nothing in the pockets of my shorts, either. Mind you, my pump and multi-tool have a home on my bike, as does at least one large-sized bottle, and my ratty ol' seat bag is responsible for a tube, tire lever, tire boot, spare valve, and a few links of 11 or 12-speed chain. Maybe I'm not as unprepared as I thought I was?
What do you carry with you when you head out for a ride? Are you a light packer, or are you ready to kill and skin that bear?