Have you ever taken part in one of the popular Sportive rides being organised around the country? Or do you go out with the local club on a Sunday? Then I’m sure you’ve seen gents with saggy jerseys caused by rear pocket overload. Or the clean lines of a carbon race bike being ruined by an enormous saddle bag.

Actually, I’m willing to bet you’re guilty of this yourself. It’s a pet hate of mine so here’s a tip on how to load up with the essentials while still looking pro.

So here’s my tip – use one of your bottles as a makeshift tool shed. Then only load up your jersey with essentials. My everyday kit is like this;

710ml bottle which contains:

  1. Multi-tool
  2. patch kit
  3. pump
  4. tyre levers
  5. spare inner tube
  6. emergency energly gel

Jersey pockets (always start loading from the middle pocket)

  1. Middle: Phone, money, keys & jacket if needed
  2. Right & left: Any gels or bars I need for the ride


And that’s it! Not a pocket bulge or saddle bag in sight! You look as though a team car is following you just down the road ready to hand out any kit you require. Not like you’re trying to carry the entire contents of your kitchen on your back.

For this to work on rides longer than 50/60 miles I need to stop and fill up my water but most people have a cafe stop somewhere on longer routes anyway! And if it’s a sportive you get feed stations where you can fill up your bottle every 20/30 miles.

Yes, there are times when a saddle bag and two bottles of drink, but that might only be 5% of the time (if you’re doing 100+ miles with little or no stopping at all).

Fully loaded and ready to roll out!