Pack Smart for the Dragon Ride | What to bring to a sportive

By Andy Brockway

Embarking on the Dragon Ride is not just about physical and mental preparation; it’s also about packing intelligently for the day to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here’s my rundown of essentials for the big day:

Tools for the job

Start with a reliable saddle pack to carry the nuts and bolts of bike repair without weighing you down. Essentials include:

  • One or two spare inner tubes
  • Allen keys, tyre levers and a multi-tool
  • Co2 canisters for rapid tyre inflation

Don’t forget about a good quality pump. Personally, I’ve had a few mini pumps fail on me so I recommend the Silca frame pump for its durability and reliability—crucial when you want to get back on the road.

Fuel for the ride

It’s been covered by the other experts but it bears repeating : proper nutrition and hydration can make or break your ride. Here’s how I manage my fuel:

  • Energy gels: I pack about ½ a dozen gels (enough for every 90 mins)
  • Homemade flapjacks – loaded with maple syrup, honey, seeds, fruit OR couple of shop bought
  • Emergency stash of jelly babies (warning: they can & WILL melt into a mush).
  • Trusty banana or 2

The Dragon Ride is really well-equipped with feed stations, where you can replenish your supplies. They offer a variety of foods and drinks, so take advantage of these to keep your body fueled and happy. Make sure you leave me some Jaffa cakes.

Hydration Tactics

Two water bottles are a must. I dose mine with hydration tablets to replace the electrolytes I sweat out, ensuring that muscle function stays sharp. Remember, the key to hydration is to drink before you feel thirsty.

Make sure you bring some spare hydration tablets along with you, the feed stations will be stocked with plenty of water to keep you topped up.

Managing Discomfort

On long rides, cramps and muscle fatigue can become a concern. I bring along a few ibuprofens to manage any aches that arise. While it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your pace accordingly, having some pain relief options can help maintain comfort throughout the ride.

Stay conscious of your riding stance – change your hand positions regularly, relax your shoulders and give your legs a shake every so often to keep your circulation flowing.

Also, take advantage of rest stops, whether at the feed stations or somewhere convenient – a 5 or 10 minute break and stretch can work absolute wonders….enjoy the view while you take five.


Keep an eye on the weather forecast – I find the modular approach to clothing to be flexible; base layer, jersey and cargo bib shorts. Throw in some arm warmers and a gilet that you can fold into the cargo shorts and you’ve got most bases covered.  If the forecast is wet…add a rain jacket and some leg warmers.

Oh, also – good padded, fingerless mitts can really help with fatigue.

Rider Pack

Finally, make sure you bring all the contents of your Rider Pack with you to the event, this includes your bib number, timing chip, coloured card, and bike stickers.

Final Tip:

Eat before you’re hungry, and drink before you’re thirsty. This mantra will help you maintain energy levels and enjoy every mile of your ride without hitting the dreaded wall.

Packing effectively for the Dragon Ride means being prepared for most scenarios while keeping your load light and functional. With the right gear, fuel, and hydration strategy, you’ll not only conquer the climbs but also enjoy every scenic moment along the way. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran, these tips will help ensure that your ride is nothing short of legendary.

Happy cycling, enjoy!