De-Clutter Your Ride.


For quite a while now I have been extoling the benefits of riding with a utility belt. I’ve been copping a whole lot of flak about it too. People pointing and giggling and mates arguing over what I might be carrying in my “bumbag”. “You look like a twat” is the most common feedback I get, but luckily none of this fazes me as I have a dry back, plenty of spare parts and hair grooming products, and I just know it looks great with my socks and SPD sandals.

So while it’s easy for me to pull it off and get my picture in Spoke magazine you guys are left carrying that huge back pack full of gear that never really gets used does it?

Well, therodfather is going to sort your shit out yet again…listen up!

It’s not the 90’s people, it’s 2016. Things have changed. We don’t need to carry all that crap anymore. With bike parks everywhere we’re so much closer to our car now. Global warming has meant we can ditch the jacket. Tubeless and CO2 have left the tubes and pump in the shed and reliable bikes mean less and less tools and spare parts.

But before you go all free and loose and get stuck out in the wops and have to walk the 200 metres back to your luxury motel you need to get a few things sorted with your bike and body.

The Batman and I collaborated on this under-jersey waist belt. I wasn't always a media guru. In the 70's while still at school I formed a marble bag sewing empire, so It was pretty natural for me to move into high-end mountainbike wear manufacturing. This prototype I made from curtain mesh and a couple of pencil cases from the $2 shop. It doubles as a corset to make me look more like The Batman.

From left I have cash, tyre boot, patches, tyre plug tool, bag with glue, spare plugs and brake pads, upholstery needle and thread for open wounds and tyre slashes, chain joiners, my homemade tyre tampons (repairs sidewall cuts without taking the tyre off), valve key and a tyre lever. In the bag, 2x Co2 with head,multi-tool and food in the front pouch.

This is what I take when I'm reasonably close to my van or I'm riding with a few others so pumps and tubes are easily borrowed (or bought, hence the cash).

Pump and tube.

What is the no.1 failure on a ride? Flat tyres. You need to go tubeless and you need to get a tubeless rim with some form of beadlock. You will still get punctures and tyre slashes, but with a tiny plug kit these are all repairable and can be fixed without losing too much air. So you will still need a pump right? Sort of. I’m now carrying a Co2 can which will fit in my pocket or taped under my seat (which looks real pro) and it’s not hard to borrow a pump to top up your air from one of those “hikers” you’re riding with. Just remember that Co2 dries out your sealant so you need to sort this out when you get home.

So you'd be pretty ok just riding with a plug kit and Co2 with some cash in your pocket and water in a bottle. But if you really need to feel properly prepared then add the following for peace of mind. 


Look after your bike. Unless you crash, twist your bars or snap off your brake levers (go and loosen your bar clamp now), nothing should go wrong with your bike. Now that we all run a single narrow wide ring up front and probably no chainguide, there’s no such thing as a jammed chain either (what…! You’re still running a front derailleur?...fool!). Carry a small multi tool if you like.


I hardly ever wear a jacket. I get too hot. A polyprop/merino base layer works great and  will fit in your pocket if you over heat. If it’s properly raining then I’m at the movies.


I could get in trouble here, but I’m very lucky that I don’t sweat much. If I hydrate for a few hours before I ride I can go 3 hours on a 500ml drink bottle in my bottle cage. This used to look pretty naff, but with all those cool enduro kids rocking them, suddenly it’s hip, just like arse pouches .


At your ultimate body fat percentage are you? Lose some weight you fat bastard and burn it off. Ok, you need a little carb top up, carry a handful of dates in your pocket to get you through.


Get one of those funky handlebar mounts, so rad, so handy and goes so well with your bumbag and ankle socks…..I’m joking you egg. Your phone has to go in your pocket like a holster for quick access to the real world.

When I need to step it up a notch I go to DEFCON 2. Yes I have another completely separate kit. All the same stuff from DEFCON 1 but I add a pump, tube, 1st aid, collapsible bottle, a few cable ties and tape, PLB and camera (pouches attached to my Hipster Pack) and a light shell jacket or merino T. You can see the elastic cord tied on to the Hipster for carrying anything else, or for strapping it to my bike. I'm happy to go a full day mission with this kit. I have some pills for dodgy water in there too but I'm lucky that I don't need much water and backcountry streams have been reliable for me so far.

So what if you come unstuck and something actually goes wrong? Never fear, there will always be someone with all the gear on a trail near you. Just be prepared to be admonished for not carrying spares. $10 handed over should placate them and that’ll fit down your socks (calf length) right? And never take the piss out of therodfather about his bumbag…you may just need him out on the trail one day and there’s a whole lot of goodies in there…you have no idea. (well now you do I suppose).


So what have we learnt? Get a great pair of shorts with multiple pockets with zips that can carry those spares without making you look like you’ve got a canoe in your pocket, or wear some funky bib-shorts with pockets, or cut down an old lycra xc top with pockets and wear it under your jersey. Or use a utility belt, like me and The Batman.

This is what I expect to see in your pocket if you are one of those awesome people who thinks they can avoid walking home even though they appear to be riding half naked. For me, getting stopped on the trail by a punter with "got a spare tube mate...oh and a pump? Hey, what about a tyre lever?" is a very expensive proposition.


Rod “No I’m not carrying your jacket ,wallet and keys in my bumbag" Bardsley