As dusk settled in, the coyotes started to howl. I panicked.
I looked at my little pomeranian and all I could picture was a steak attached to a leash.
I had decided to take an after-work hike, planning for an hour out and hour-back walk. I brought my camelback and my dog, and followed the trail for about half an hour until I crossed under a second bridge, assuming I was about to finish the loop. And then things started to look unfamiliar. With shoddy mountain reception, I couldn’t pull up a map online to see where I had gone wrong.
Well into the night, the trail finally dumped into a parking lot… but not mine. I anxiously waited in hopes of a night hiker who could drive me back to my car, but after an hour, I swallowed my pride and tearfully called the police to pick me up. I could NOT BELIEVE that I had turned into one of those “stranded hiker” cases we all laugh about on the local nightly news.
The cop made me and my dog sit in the back seat like criminals, but he did return me safely to my vehicle, two freeways and four miles away.
The moral of this embarrassing tale: BE PREPARED! … A motto that translates from hiking to biking without a blink of an eye. My first mistake was taking for granted that I’m familiar with the area and neglecting to bring along -or even check - a map. Also, I didn’t have any snacks or a headlamp for when my hike extended beyond the 7pm time I thought I’d be done. And I’d left my valuables in the car, so I didn’t have money or ID in case of emergency.
When I started cycling, I packed my seat pack with all this in mind. On the bike, you’ll need some things hikers won’t, like repair equipment, but most of the other essentials are the same. I even keep a spare drivers’ license in my seat pack so I never have to worry about bringing it (and in the extreme case I get separated from my bike in an accident).
Below is a comprehensive list of everything in to consider packing in your seat pack - what’s in yours?
Extra Tube and flat repair tool
Patch Kit - only helpful if you know how to use it
Bandaids, Antibiotic/Burn Cream, Gauze wrap
Chamois Butter (trial size)
Sunblock (trail size)
2 sticks of gum
On my person I carry the following:
Credit card, at least $20 cash, cell phone, map, chapstick, visine, sunglasses, iPod, water bottles, banana/snack.