Road Cycling Events

Video: How to Pack Jersey Pockets for Road Cycling or a Sportive

Planning a long ride and not sure how to cram it all in those pockets comfortably? Here's how...

Packing up your pockets and heading out for a long bike ride is always exciting – you’re never sure exactly what the day will bring, but you know there will be miles of stunning roads and some snack stops along the way.

  • Well packed pockets have the heaviest items in the middle pocket and weight evenly distributed between left and right
  • Some jerseys just have 2 pockets, in which case larger items go towards the centre of each
  • This should mean they don’t bounce as you ride. If you still get bouncy pockets, the jersey may be a size too big

Exciting as it is, the not knowing exactly what’s coming means you do need to take a few essentials with you. However, since you’ll likely be setting off on a lovely lightweight bike, you probably don’t want to weigh yourself down with the contents of the kitchen sink.

All the Kit you Need for Your First Sportive 

Once you’ve worked out what to take, comes the complicated process of figuring out how to pack it all so that it doesn’t all jump around in your pockets on every climb. Or worse still – fall out!

We’re here to help. Here’s what to take, and how to pack it…

Middle Pocket

  • It’s all about weight distribution. This is where the heaviest items go.
  • Rain jacket, or gilet – depending upon the conditions. Arm warmers can also be folded up and placed here, though some people prefer to leave them rolled up around their wrists
  • Unless it’s fitted to your frame – a pump. There are many tiny lightweight ones around. You can opt for Co2 canisters instead, but these don’t allow you to pop some air in the tube before fitting the tyre, aren’t so great for the environment, and aren’t multi use

Easiest to Reach Pocket

  • This is usually the left pocket for right handed people, and the right pocket for left handed people
  • Here’s where you want to put the food that will help you through the tough moments when you really need energy
  • Gels are easiest to store, but bars and energy chews are other options
  • You can cut the top off the energy bar or chew packets to make eating them easier (don’t do this if they’re yoghurt or chocolate covered!)

The other pocket

  • Try to keep the weight of the items in this pocket similar to that of your food pocket
  • Include: Phone, Money (cash card if you know you’ll stop at places that accept cards), ID – with an emergency contact number on
  • You can pop all this into a plastic bag (we used an old glasses case) to keep it neat, dry, and cut down on the chance of losing any small items when removing others
  • Add keys here, or pop them in your zipped pocket. Ideally, take just  the keys you need – one house key or one car key


  • According to the Velominati rules, these aren’t cool. We’ll agree with this in any competitive environment – but not when it comes to long weekend rides, commutes or sportives
  • Pack this with an inner tube, multi tool, tyre levers, and a patch kit just in case you get more than one puncture
  • Make sure the multi tool is well folded in and can’t damage the tube
  • Ensure there are no other sharp objects in there, and if you’re lucky enough to go months with no punctures, remove the tube from time to time so it doesn’t stick to itself and refuse to unravel when you need it
  • If possible, add a clip on rear light – safety first!

We hope that helps you out next time you head off for a long ride!

You might also like…

5 Things Nearly All Sportive Riders Could Do Better

The Do’s and Don’t of Sportive Riding

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