Here’s the gear that the first American winner of the Tour of Flanders can’t work or travel without.
What are the five most essential pieces of cycling gear you own and why?
As a sprinter, the Shimano auxiliary sprint shifters are key for what I do. Helps me do my job better, and it’s one less button I have to reach for because it’s already under my thumb. Plus, I can also reach the shifters when I’m on the hoods, so I have multiple locations and positions that I can shift in, which come in handy.
Next is an Etxeondo rain jersey It looks like my normal race kit with the Team Sunweb stripes, but the jersey is completely waterproof, not to mention breathable and warm. It’s perfect for wet spring or fall days. It also has a rear-flap to help keep your bum as dry as possible.
Ass Savers! Something so simple has such great benefits. Slide it through your saddle rails and lock it in front of your seat post. It definitely saves your ass from getting wet and dirty in the rain and helps the person behind you by minimizing your roost.
Knog Oi bell. I’ve learned while training in Europe that it’s a bit more polite to pass riders in the bike path with a friendly ring of the bell. I’d like to think I’m one of the friendlier pros who rings a bell to give notice that I’m about to pass, give a wave, say good morning or good afternoon, and carry on. Never too serious to not say hello … unless I’m really suffering during some training efforts! Nice addition to the cockpit for the road or mountain bike even.
Knog Blinder MOB V Mr Chips rear light. Spending between 10-25 hours on the road every week, I think it is really important to be seen. When training, I always have my light on and feel better about being out on the road with cars. Something small and perhaps a little geeky, but safety is important when the only thing really protecting me is a Styrofoam helmet.
What’s your best cycling gear-related advice for all the amateurs out there?
I think my best cycling gear-related advice for all amateurs is to keep it simple and safe. Just because you have a bunch of extra gadgets doesn’t mean you’re going to ride faster or be a pro. Enjoy your time out on the bike and be safe while doing it, too.
What’s the best cycling gear-related advice you’ve ever been given?
As far as gear goes, I think the best advice I have been given is that it has to be functional and has to have a purpose. If not, you could probably go without it.
You travel quite a bit as a professional cyclist. What travel gear do you always keep in your carry-on?
Over the years, I’ve learned to always travel with snacks, compression socks, a power bank, earphones, and a hair tie/flat-bill cap.
Have you experienced being ‘hangry?’
Well I have, and it’s not pretty at all. My worst nightmare is being stuck on a plane hungry, and you have nothing to eat. You have to ask the flight attendant for something, and they only offer you a pinch of peanuts or pretzels, it’s just not gonna cut it. It really only makes me every more angry. So I always come prepared with snacks. Usually something like beef jerky or something high in protein to keep me satisfied for longer. And if it’s summer time, I don’t like to pack anything that will melt, because that could get messy and sad.
Always bring a (portable charging device). When I was 16, I didn’t bring a phone charger in my carry-on during a trip, so my Blackberry Pearl died. My flight eventually got delayed, so I freaked out because I couldn’t contact my parents to let them know. Luckily I was able to get change, find a pay phone (they still existed) and call home almost crying. You only learn that once. Since then, I upgraded to an iPhone and always travel at least with one fully charged power bank.
Compression socks are a must if flying, even more important if you’re flying for more than five hours. Every now and then I’ll forget my compression socks and when I land my feet will be blown up and barely fit in my shoes. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it surely isn’t the most comfortable.
I prefer in-ear headphones. I have custom molded Elacin ear phones that fit so perfect they’re pretty much noise-canceling. I think they’re more comfortable than around-ear and easier to pack and stow away, too.
Long travel days for me mean I might have to put my hair up, especially in the summer. So I always bring a hair tie and a hat. Sometimes my hair gets wild and greasy after a long day of traveling, so I like to hide it under a hat … but just not any hat. For me, it has to be somewhat cool looking with a flat bill to hone my California/west-coast roots wherever I am traveling to.
Do your “must bring” items change if you’re on a plane, bus, train or car? Solo vs. a trip with friends or teammates?
If it’s traveling for fun and not for a race, I usually always bring my nice Sony A6000 camera. But when I’m traveling for a race, I’m almost always too busy or focused to have time to snap some shots. On planes, buses, and trains, I like to pack as little as possible because I’m sharing the space with other people I may not know. But if I’m in a car with someone I know, it doesn’t matter what I bring as long as it fits. I’ll bring a pillow or blanket or something like that if it’s a long trip.
What’s your dream piece of travel gear that you haven’t obtained yet?
What’s the best piece of travel advice you’ve ever gotten?
Relax. Flight cancellations are the worst, but the airlines aren’t going to leave you hanging. You might have to fly the next day, but so does everyone else. No need to stress out if there’s nothing else you can do.