I was reminded during last weekend’s ride that I’ve been negligent lately in attending to a detail all bikers should address when going out on a ride: carry money.

It didn’t seem like a big deal. I had put three bucks into a baggie, along with my cell phone. I had two bottles of water with me, which would get me to our rest stop, a convenience store where I could easily refill the bottles. If needed, I could buy some kind of energy bar.

We got there, as I reported in the last post, and I felt fine. I hadn’t drunk enough water, and one of my bottles was still full. I topped off the other one, and we started back.

My friend David was slowing on the return leg, and I let the other riders in our group go, to stay with him. We had maybe eight miles left to go, when I stopped at an intersection to wait for him.

“Do you want to stop at this convenience store?” I asked.

“I’m all out of water, and I’ve got no money,” he replied.

“Well, here,” I said. “Take this, and buy what you need.” Not that three dollars would buy much.

But it turned out that this place priced Gatorade G2 the same as bottled water. David bought the Gatorade, and drained the whole bottle.

“I figured with the cooler temperatures today, I wouldn’t have the same trouble I have in the middle of summer,” he said. We started our ride at 55 degrees, but by now it was in the low 80s.

I decided not to buy anything, or even top off my bottles. I still had one full one, and could make it the rest of the way home on that easily.

We did make it the rest of the way back, but were moving slowly by the time we got within the last mile or so. After waving bye to David, I headed to Starbucks to rendezvous with other club members. Instead of going inside to grab a coffee or iced tea, I brought one of my water bottles to the outside table, and sipped at it while we talked.

Several years ago, I learned to pack money the hard way. I was on a 52-mile ride, with no money at the halfway point. Even though I had an energy bar with me, I really needed some kind of electrolyte drink, and maybe more nourishment than the bar could give. I bonked hard on the way back and was lucky the ride offered sag support. I caught a ride back to the start. Ever since, I’ve made sure I carry money if I’ll be riding any distance from home — and even around home, sometimes.

I think it’s time to make a New Year’s resolution: Bring more money on rides. Three dollars won’t cut it. Ten is a more reasonable amount. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll pack a credit card along as well.

Do you have a preferred amount of cash you carry on the bike?


  1. Ashley says

    I usually bring along my debit card as well as ID and five bucks or so. I did one ride out on the Cape Code Rail Trail, and halfway I was pretty hungry, and it was lunch time. I ended up stopping at a restaurant and had lunch and a beer at the bar. Hey I was on vacation!

  2. jlganley says

    Seriously? This seems like basic life strategy to me: Never go ANYWHERE without some money. I always bring $20 and a credit card.

  3. says

    What I would have done for $3 last weekend when I was 80 miles into a century that inadvertently had no water/food at its last two rest stops. Life would have been much easier for me if I had some money. I won’t make that mistake again.

  4. says

    I usually bring $20, but not a $20 bill because I’m not using that as a patch! I also always have my cell phone, DL and insurance card. I bought a neat waterproof sleeve from West Marine that everything fits in.

  5. says

    Since my rides normally start with a train journey to the outskirts of London, I have to carry something to take the train tickets in anyway, and they are the size of a credit card–so I normally carry a debit card with them (and my ID). This also may be influenced by the fact that I’m generally riding further away from my home than you do. If I had a serious mechanical I’d need to get a taxi to the nearest train station which would be pretty hard with no access to cash.

    We also usually carry about £20 for the two of us (if we can remember to pack it) for food stops along the way, as places in the countryside often don’t take card. But we normally overpack on snacks anyway – bananas, bars, etc.

  6. says

    Huh…am I the only guy in the world who takes his entire wallet on every ride? Never had to deal with the question of whether I had enough money at a c-store…and we hit a lot of those!

    • says

      No…just got an email from a friend who also takes his whole wallet. “Leather gets a bit funky,” he says, ‘but that is what Father’s Day is for.”

  7. says

    LOL, well since I’m more of a “FRED”,. than you all, I carry my wallet in my “rack pack”, first aid kit, tubes, tools, patch kit, snacks, cable and lock, etc. Since I’m not “pace lining”, I take it all with me! :)

  8. CEO says

    You can ask at any coffee shop or convenience store for tap water; they have sugar packs for coffee too. A good last resort when you are stuck!

  9. says

    small ” fanny pack” from walmart cut and stitched for a custom fit on my handlebars. total cost $5. being able to carry phone, wallet with id cash and cards, nutrition…PRICELESS..! this is a no brainer to me. never leave the house without being able to identify yourself, and pay for yourself. that little $5 custom fanny bar bag fits my little .38 special very nice as well…just sayin.. former marine, i always protect myself and those around me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *