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7 things we use: William Tracy, Associate Editor

Words by William Tracy, Associate Editor

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Cash. It still works.

Cash!

Your phone’s dead, your wallet’s in the jeans back home and you’re out of food, 40 miles from your house. But that’s no big issue because you keep some spare cash tucked away in your pack. Whether it’s using a vending machine, tipping a friendly gas station clerk or even booting a tire (yes, we’ve done it before—preferably a one-dollar bill, not a 20), there are plenty of reasons to keep some good old fashioned emergency cash in your flat kit. And the next time a power outage, solar flare or asteroid takes down credit card readers, you’ll still be able to get your cappuccino. $1+; treasury.gov

Folds up small. Good to have just in case.

Velocio Ultralight Vest

As a ride essential, just about any wind vest gets the job done, but there’s something about the Ultralight Vest from Velocio that makes us reach for it over all the others stashed away in the closet. It’s ultracompact and keeps things to just the essentials: wind-blocking Japanese-milled Pertex Quantum Air nylon up front and a mesh back to dispel the heat, making it perfect for summertime mountain descents. This vest has found its way onto just about every ride for a while now—sometimes even when the forecast reads over 80 degrees Fahrenheit—because why not? It’s so small you’re hardly aware it’s there, and you never know when you’ll encounter a shady, cold stretch of road—or an overzealous box fan at a café. $139; 2 colors; velocio.cc

You know you like these.

Haribo Fizzy Cola Gummy Candy

When cameras catch a glimpse of Peter Sagan after a particularly rough stage, it’s not unheard of to see the decorated pro scarfing down Haribo gummy bears. We can’t blame him, but our gummy candy of choice is slightly different. This isn’t an everyday ride food by any means, but when the ride stretches far enough that you need a gas station food restock, we have yet to find something that raises the spirits and provides a quick jolt of energy better than Haribo Fizzy Cola Gummy Candy. If you have the option, make sure it’s the fizzy kind with sugar crystals on the outside; the regular cola gummies just don’t provide the same delightful tang balanced out by a classic cola taste that’s so satisfying on a hot day. These can save you when bonking is otherwise mere miles away. $2–$3/5oz bag; haribo.com

Never a bad episode. So solid.

The “99% Invisible” Podcast

It’s not every ride that we’ll pop in an earbud—that’s bad form to say the least when riding with others—but when we’re rolling out solo we have a lineup of podcasts ready to go. At the top of the queue for quite a few years has been “99% Invisible,” which dives into the design choices that shape our world but go mostly unnoticed. (How about that, a design podcast in our Design Issue!). You’ll be entertained and learn something as you explore the world on two wheels. Who knows, you might even notice something mentioned in the very episode you’re listening to! 99percentinvisible.org

Store whatever you like in this. Ideal for a giant burrito.

Handlebar Bag

It’s easy to write handlebar bags off as something used by the cool kids who buy custom frames and limited-run kits only to go on a coffee spin once a week. But before you do, there’s something to be said for these humble bags; and if you’re not racing or trying to take down a KOM, there’s plenty of reason to keep one on your bike. Holding food, keys and other ride essentials is a main purpose, but we’ve found they’re handy to have to grab lunch (there’s a reason some people call them burrito bags), transport garage-sale finds and any other things unexpectedly acquired on a ride. What we’re saying is that these bags give you more options to explore. And, okay, we just like the way they look! We often use the Road Runner Burrito Supreme, but there are plenty of options out there. $80; 8 colors; roadrunnerbags.us

You’ll thank us for this recommendation.

GU Roctane Electrolyte Capsules

All it takes is one catastrophic cramp to learn the importance of steady hydration and electrolyte intake, especially on hotter, longer rides. But sometimes sports drinks alone can’t cut it and you’ll need a little extra help to stave off cramps. On those rides, we turn to GU Roctane Electrolyte Capsules. Other nutrition brands make a similar product, but the concept remains the same: a boost of sodium and other electrolytes delivered in an easy-to-swallow pill. Keep a supply in a plastic bag with you on your rides to keep on rolling when the going gets rough. $9/50 capsules; guenergy.com

Remember Ricoh? This lil’ fella packs a serious punch.

Ricoh GR III Camera

In a world of ubiquitous smartphones, a standalone camera might not be an essential per se, but if you’re going on an epic ride or visiting a new place, don’t you want your images to be as good as they can be? The Ricoh GR III is a favorite of street photographers for its compact size, manual controls and DSLR-sized sensor. It’s a package that blows your iPhone’s camera right out of the water. Stow it away in a jersey pocket on your next ride and be ready to capture some of your best ride photos ever. $900; ricoh-imaging.com