Shred [Verb]: To ride one’s bike in a fast, fun, and flowy fashion. Typically used in reference to mountain bikes, but can be associated with road bikes as well.
To accommodate early morning rides, I always have a bag filled with everything I need so I can wake up, get dressed, and run out the door without having to do much else besides grab my bike and fill my water bottle. I’ve labeled this bag the Ready-to-Shred bag, and despite the humorous name, it’s a serious matter. This bag is filled with everything I need to go for a ride at a moment’s notice. Typically I’ll leave it either in my car or next to the front door, so if an opportunity to ride comes along, I’m ready. Any type of bag can be turned into a Ready-to-Shred bag; it’s not what the bag looks like on the outside, but rather the contents on the inside. In my earlier years I used something as simple as a reusable shopping bag, but lately I am drawn to the many compartments that the Dakine Builders Pack offers or the TYR Transition Bag with the ventilated compartment for sweaty garments. No matter which bag you choose you will be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Nutrition: You can’t drive on an empty tank, and the same rule applies to riding. I keep a handful of gels in my bag so I can quickly get something in my system before a ride. While it doesn’t have to be gels, it’s a good idea to keep some type of nutrition in your Ready-to-Shred bag so you can be properly fueled for your ride, or for after your ride when the bonk has you looking at a flight of stairs as if it were Mount Everest.
Shoes: Driving with cycling shoes is dangerous. The cleats get in the way and it’s just awkward. To solve this problem, I throw sandals on in the morning and keep my cycling shoes in my bag along with the rest of my cycling necessities. It’s also not a bad idea to keep some fresh socks next to the shoes as well, for either during the ride or right after.
Warmers: Although it is often sunny and beautiful in California, some rides call for a little extra gear. I keep arm and leg warmers in my bag so I can easily add layers. Along with warmers, I always keep my vest bundled up in my bag – specifically the Castelli Velo Vest because it folds up so small that I can easily fit it in my jersey pocket half way through the ride if I get too warm.
Helmet, Gloves, & Glasses: These three items are grouped together because I always put my helmet in my bag last, upside down and on top of everything else. Inside the helmet I place my gloves and glasses so I can find them with ease. These three items are the nuts and bolts of my gear, and if they’re on top I can always quickly glance into the bag and double check that they’re not forgotten at home.
After Ride Accessories: In addition to the cycling gear listed above, I always keep a few extra items in my bag so I can put myself together immediately after the ride. One of the most useful items is a container of baby wipes. While it may seem weird to purchase these, especially if you do not have a baby, they are great to wipe the sweat and grime off your face. I also take a hairbrush and a dress, so if I need to run out in public after a ride I do not have to walk around in spandex with wild hair.
While I use my Ready-to-Shred bag mainly to help with my morning routine, I’ve found that having all my cycling necessities in one bag is also helpful for last minute invites, like the after work evening ride. In order to get the most out of the lowering, evening sun, my Ready-to-Shred bag helps me scoot out the door and onto the roads or trails quickly and efficiently, which ultimately leads to more ride time.