As I ride to work each Wednesday, I have the comfort of knowing that my husband/bike mechanic/emergency support driver is no more than a few minutes away should I run into trouble. I’ll admit, this support has made me a little lackadaisical when it comes to preparing for emergencies when riding by myself.
But that changed this weekend when, venturing out for the first of my Rapha Women 100 training rides, I realized my backup plan was in New Hampshire participating in RAID Rockingham. With the two kids snoozing at home, I also realized that if something happened to me neither would know where I was, or be able to help.
Determined not to let this potential problem deter me, I came up with a few ways to ensure someone knew where I was, when I would be home, and how to find me if I didn’t get back in time:
- Tell a friend
A quick text to a friend confirmed they were a) in town and b) available as my backup should I need assistance – I texted her at the beginning of my ride, and when I got home safely.
- File a ride plan
Using Strava, I planned and posted my route, which I also loaded into my Garmin Edge Touring. I forwarded the name of the route to my friends who are also members of Strava, just in case they needed to find me.
- Take my phone
In addition to the route in Strava, I taught our son how to use his phone to track my location through the Family Sharing feature of the iPhones – just in case I strayed from my planned course.
- Take my AAA card
I really should know how to change a flat – but having depended on my husband for so many years, I haven’t figured this one out (yet). In the meantime, as a AAA member, I knew I could call for a ride if I needed one.
With many more solo rides planned for this season, I am also taking a few other steps to ensure I am prepared for future outings:
Helmet labels and Road IDs
Inside my helmet is a new label listing my name, year of birth, and a few emergency numbers. In addition, I have ordered a RoadID with the same information (and a cute “Shut up legs” badge) which I can wear whether riding or running.
Flat tire practice
The best way to ensure I’m comfortable fixing a flat is by practicing at home.
Emergency repair kit
Strapped to the back of my bike is now a basic bike repair kit including everything I need to fix a flat including a spare tube, levers, and multi-tool. I also included a laminated copy of my AAA card, just in case.
The Bike Guy’s wife, Kristin Brandt, is a full-time working mother, local business owner, amateur multi-sport athlete, and most recently, cyclocross racer.
Steve the Bike Guy is an affiliate of RoadID and receives a commission on sales through the site.