by Lex Albrecht
Professional Canadian road cyclist. She is a member of the Canadian National Cycling team, and the UCI Women's World Tour team, TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank.
In this post Lex shares her list of must-haves to go into a cycling event rain bag. We may not all be racing at her level but we can definitely appreciate the planning that goes into making sure you can enjoy a cycling trip, holiday, or event where bad weather may intervene.
A rain bag is essentially an emergency kit, and, hopefully, will never have to be opened. It's used in case of broken gear, inclement weather, or a forgotten piece of kit.
It should be about the size of a toiletry case. It's important for it not to be big, otherwise it will take up too much room in the team car during the race, which is annoying for the mechanics riding in the backseat with all of the spare wheels, tools, repair gear, and bottles. It can be just as annoying to the team director who has the race radio, paperwork, race food, spare bottles and the staff's lunch up in the front.
It's important to stay on the good side of the team staff...!
Even if you're not racing, you can put together a “rain bag” to keep in your car. That way you'll always be prepared when you arrive to the start of your next ride regardless of what Mother Nature throws your way.
Here's what cycling apparel I have in my rain bag:
Rain jacket (It's a rain bag after all!)
The director can hand the jacket out the window of the team car in during a race if a cold downpour starts. It can also serve as a windbreaker to keep you warm if the weather gets a lot colder than expected.
Since racing in a jersey with logos other than your own is strictly illegal, without a spare, if your teammates don't have an extra to share, you're out of luck!
If you've ever had to borrow a pair of shorts that don't fit you for a race, you'll know how uncomfortable and even painful this can be. Proper fit is absolutely key, especially if you want to avoid saddle sores and rugburn-style wounds.
Cleats and closure systems can get damaged in nasty crashes, but that shouldn't have to mean “game over” if you're still in shape to get back on the bike and race it out.
It's not uncommon to arrive at a race with only one glove, or two right hands. The rain bag is a savior.
Spare arm warmers