Serpentine Sunday Rides – Kit to Look After Yourself


  • Helmet - compulsory on Serpentine rides.
  • Cash and/or cashcard – for café stop and any semi-emergencies (train journey home etc.).
  • Map – everyone has off days and sometimes we all get dropped! You may need a map to get yourself home or find the nearest station. Route maps can be printed from the London Cycling Routes page.
  • Mobile phone – ask the ride leader for contact number.
  • Inner tubes – 2 spares plus pump, tyre levers and the knowledge of how to replace a tube.
  • Fluid – water, juice, energy drink. There is often only one or two opportunities to refill so ensure you have enough.
  • Food – bananas, energy bars, malt loaf, dried fruit. Most rides have one cake stop but you should be regularly eating to avoid the cyclists 'bonk'.

You may also want:

  • Glasses – protect your eyes from dust, insects and rain.
  • Windproof and/or arm warmers – it doesn't take a big drop in temperature to get cold cycling.
  • Overshoes/booties – to cover your cycling shoes keeping the worst of the wind and the rain out.
  • Allen keys or multi-tool. 

A roadworthy bike

The checklists above miss out one key item! Before getting on your bike you should get into the routine of checking the following:

  • Wheels – pick bike up and spin them slowly, check that they are centred (spinning straight). Are the quick release skewers tight?
  • Bars – if you can see metal at the ends of your bars, it's time to replace your bar tape. Exposed ends are very dangerous in a crash.
  • Tyres – as the wheel is spinning you can also check that your tyres do not have any nicks, worn patches or embedded glass – perfect conditions for a puncture.
  • Brakes – are the blocks worn down? If so get them replaced. Are they gripping the wheel rim square on? If not, adjust or replace.
  • Frames abd forks – check for any cracks around joints.
  • Check everything is done up properly – handlebars, seatpost, saddle, any accessories attached.
  • Think about the conditions – if the road is wet, you want some give in your tyres to avoid slipping, so let a bit of air out of them (around 100 psi) otherwise check that tyres are hard enough (12your 5 psi) to avoid punctures and keep you rolling along.

See Neil Melville's bike buying guide

See also Group Riding Guidelines