Things That Fit

02.12.2014 | 10:47 am

As cyclists, we are missing a big opportunity. To identify it, turn around and look behind you.

Oh, that didn’t work at all. 

OK, this time, just turn your head around, leaving your body where it was, Exorcist-style, and then look down. 

If you are — as I assume you always are — wearing a cycling jersey, you’ll notice three pockets.

Three capacious pockets.

(Or if you’re wearing some styles of women’s jerseys, you may have been cheated into having only two pockets. This is not my fault, and I accept no responsibility for this inequity, but I do sympathize. [However, this is not the point of today’s post and I intend to ignore this unfairness from this point forward, though if you happen to have a petition demanding three pockets for women’s jerseys, I will gladly sign it.])

And yet, all too often, I see cyclists riding with only a few trivial items — or, worse, nothing at all — in these pockets.

This needs to stop.

People, you have pockets. You have a bike. It’s time to start carrying stuff — lots and lots of stuff — in those jersey pockets whenever you ride. 

I shall provide examples, by way of suggestion, and encourage you to provide examples of your own in the comments.

Articles of Clothing

Sure, maybe you currently pack arm warmers, knee warmers, a vest, and even a windbreaker sometimes. But your jersey pockets can (and should) hold so much more. Imagine, for example, the indescribably delicious feeling of swapping out to a nice clean pair of shorts midway through a century ride? And perhaps a matching jersey? And socks? All of those will fit in your jersey pockets. With room enough, even, for cycling cap you can don, post-ride. And a poncho. 

Why a poncho?

Carrying a poncho as you climb gives you the right to wear that poncho as you descend. And there is nothing quite so grand-looking as a cyclist descending while wearing a poncho. It looks as festive as it does gallant. 

Plus, if you’re carrying a poncho in your jersey pocket and people ask you what you’re carrying, you get to say, “A poncho,” and you get to say it as enigmatically as you like. 


Of course you’re already carrying food in your jersey pocket. I know that. But the food you’re carrying is lacking, both in terms of quantity and variety. With the large pockets you have on your back, might I suggest:

  • An eighth of a cheese wheel. Or, if you like, a quarter of a cheese wheel, split between your left and right jersey pockets. In which case I recommend carrying a few nice apples in your center jersey pocket. Nothing is quite so delicious as an apple slice with cheese. [Tip: Don’t forget to carry a knife to cut apple and cheese slices.]
  • A loaf of fresh-baked bread. This is more for your riding companions than for yourself. As your fellow cyclists will (I promise) point out, there is nothing quite so wonderful — nor delightfully unexpected — as riding behind a cyclist that smells like a loaf of fresh-baked bread.
  • A quart of applesauce. It goes down nearly as easily as a drink, with nearly the same caloric density as a gel. And wide-mouth bell jars mean you don’t have to squeeze to eat.
  • A whole roast chicken. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of getting enough protein in a cyclist’s diet.
My personal favorite is to carry an eighth of a cheese wheel, a loaf of bread, and a roast chicken. When I ride, I eat like a king. A medieval king.


Are you training to be a better climber? Allow me to suggest riding with a ten-pound barbell in each jersey pocket.

[Tip: wrap the barbells in cotton or duct tape to soften the hard edges of the barbells pressing against your back.]

[Another Tip: Allow for some stretching of the jersey fabric.]

Tools and Supplies

You’re probably already carrying what you need to change a tire, and maybe make some emergency repairs on your bike. 

But what if you need a half-dozen new spokes when riding? Or a new rear derailleur? Or what if you need to make some emergency welds to your frame? If you carry a full set of Park Wrenches, hydraulic cable and fluid, enough spokes to build a wheel from scratch, a replacement rear derailleur (and a front one while you’re at it), along with a complete new chain, you’ll find there are few field repairs you aren’t prepared for.

A puppy

The reason for carrying a puppy in your jersey pocket is simple: it will be incredibly adorable.

[Tip: Do not carry a full-grown small dog (like a Pug or Chihuahua) in your jersey pocket. For some reason, that’s just creepy.]


  1. Comment by just jon | 02.12.2014 | 11:12 am

    I have big pockets. I carry my labrodor/basset hound mix, and an entire turkey. Im told by cyclists behind me that its neither creepy nor cute, but entertaining watching me try and keep the two seperated.

  2. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.12.2014 | 11:15 am

    Can’t have Chicken, Bread, and Cheese w/o something to wash it down. Standard fare when riding in Napa.

  3. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.12.2014 | 11:16 am


  4. Comment by Dave T | 02.12.2014 | 11:18 am

    If said Chicken just came out of the oven it would provide much needed warmth for those cold early morning rides.

  5. Comment by MC | 02.12.2014 | 11:21 am

    If only the cycling apparel industry would make said large pockets of some newly discovered fabric where-as the pocket DOES NOT lose it’s stretchiness after having carried a small-block V8 engine (or the myriad of other cool stuff I typically find on my rides and MUST bring back with me).

    And just to point out Fatty, I don’t wear a “poncho”, I wear a “rain cape”. Which sounds much more manly. Sometimes I even carry a sword with my “cape” which gives me the Errol Flynn look thing. Also I’ve noticed other cyclists are much less apt to pass a guy wearing a sword.

  6. Comment by Rob L | 02.12.2014 | 11:26 am

    And here I was carrying around an old school motorola brick phone and my 1999 laptop to blog my ride real time onto live journal!

  7. Comment by randy | 02.12.2014 | 11:32 am

    I’ve been known to stuff a lot more snacks into my pockets than they were meant to carry: snack bars, cookies, chips, pretzels, Tastykakes … you get the idea

    Once, a guy pulled up beside me and said “Dude, you look like you’ve got a whole Wawa back there!”

    NOTE: If you are unfortunate to live someplace WITHOUT TastyKakes or Wawa’s … I feel badly for you.

  8. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.12.2014 | 11:33 am

    I Like “…festive and gallant I also like MC’s idea of a ’sword’. Good for cheese cutting.00628-01-1875-Version-2-tm.jpg


  9. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.12.2014 | 11:36 am

    I cry FOUL! That oversized picture was from your own blog! How’d that happen!

    on the other side…for Matt:

  10. Comment by MC | 02.12.2014 | 11:42 am

    And uhm, not to be a ‘chicken snob’, but have you ever had FRESH roasted chicken? (and by fresh, I mean it was walking around moments prior to said roasting)? All you need to carry is just a few relatively small items…a sharp knife (to do ‘the deed’), a turkey-roaster w/ a propane tank (for the ’scalding water dip’ to make the feathers come out easy-peasy…dry plucking sucks), a “whiz bang chicken plucker” (google it, a freaking AMAZING invention….my bro in law has one and I swear by it), a small generator to run said plucker, a hose and a few gallons of water (which is used during the whiz-banging to lubricate the plucking procedure).

    Oh, and you might as well carry your handy-dandy “set it and forget it” chicken roaster being as you went to the trouble of bringing a generator.

    And just like that, Wham Bam thank you maam, you have a FRESH roasted chicken and will be the envy of the peleton!

  11. Comment by Dr. Lammler | 02.12.2014 | 11:44 am

    I’m back.

    I do carry an extra jersey in one of my three pockets. It gives me an extra three pockets to carry some additional necessities, such as an additional jersey with three more pockets. Well you get the idea. Anyway, this method will work nicely for the women who have only two pockets. Try it, ladies.

  12. Comment by MC | 02.12.2014 | 11:45 am

    @davidh…you are really on your “A” game today! The wine-carrying doo-dad pic is awesome, as is the lady sword-jousting pic! You can clearly see that NOBODY would dare pass her!

  13. Comment by MC | 02.12.2014 | 11:46 am

    @ Dr Lammler, that is simply brilliant! I’d best get back to work now, as I’m way over my limit I’m afraid.

  14. Comment by owen | 02.12.2014 | 12:58 pm

    I carry a spare bento box in my jersey pocket with a 2 liter of Mnt Dew in it. My bento has a built in hidden poncho on it in case of rain and is the envy of all that see it while they eat soggy pretzels etc.

  15. Comment by NancyJBS | 02.12.2014 | 1:16 pm

    You forgot to mention that chicks dig guys with puppies. Kittens, not so much.

  16. Comment by ScottyCycles62 | 02.12.2014 | 1:24 pm

    “I have big pockets and I cannot lie, if they ain’t full you did not try”

  17. Comment by TominAlbany | 02.12.2014 | 1:27 pm

    If i carry all of the crap you suggest, I have no where to put my ‘rain bike’ in case the weather takes a turn for the worse!

  18. Comment by Eric L | 02.12.2014 | 1:27 pm

    If you carry a roasted chicken in your jersey pocket, do you carry the Grey Poupon or ask the dentist riding the Serotta if he’s got some?

  19. Comment by Bart The Clydesdale | 02.12.2014 | 1:32 pm

    I think I will just start carrying my mom’s purse in my pouches. I swear she has everything in that purse; a direct quote from my youth,”oh you need a dozen matches, assortment of bandages, a sewing kit for a laceration, and beach ball, no problem dear I have that all in my purse”
    She must of had Hermione Granger put a undetectable extension charm on that thing it was amazing.

  20. Comment by RSN | 02.12.2014 | 1:38 pm

    The wife and I once cycled past a roadside farmstand selling sweet corn. They were cheaper if you bought a dozen ears.

    Two people can carry a dozen ears of corn in jersey pockets.

  21. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.12.2014 | 1:43 pm



  22. Comment by Jeff Bike | 02.12.2014 | 1:47 pm

    I love all your ideas! Don’t forget to carry your wallet. You could need some cash. I would say about $3000 in all small bills, nothing bigger than a five. You know nobody ever has change. Don’t forget a few credit cards and three forms of identification. A few family photos go along way to liven up a rest stop.

  23. Comment by Superstantial | 02.12.2014 | 3:03 pm

    It’s been far too long since one of these posts appeared. Thank you! You’ve still got that humor (?) that made me start reading in the first place. Great stuff!

    I second the poncho. There is nothing that can’t be made better with ponchos.

    If anyone disagrees, please consider this NSFW, profanity laden poncho ad:

  24. Comment by Clydesteve | 02.12.2014 | 3:14 pm

    @david-marin,ca: I think that lady has a light saber, not a sword. Or am I mistaken?

  25. Comment by TK | 02.12.2014 | 4:24 pm

    I wonder how many Mountain West Burritos will fit in my jersey pockets. Up until now, I’ve been limited to carrying just two at a time (one in each water bottle holder).

  26. Comment by Anonymous | 02.12.2014 | 4:38 pm

    Toiletries – specifically toilet paper and doggy\diaper poop bags. If you have a spare pocket, you may want to carry the bush to go behind.

  27. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.12.2014 | 10:53 pm

    West Coast Fatties:

    Boston Carlos is coming to town and he says we can rub his belly for luck! (TdF Prize Winner, WBR Ripley Winner, and his wife looks as good as the Ripley!) hah!

    He’ll be in Marin the w/e of 3.1 and 3.2, and in the So. Bay with Dave T the w/e of 3.8 and 3.9. If you are available let’s take him out and show him some rides. LauraS, bring your Ripley, I’ll get him one at Sunshine, and we’ll do Tamarancho/Repack or Annandale. Noodle; I charge you with dreaming up an adventure that will have him crying for his Mama.

    Note; Rubbing his Belly is entirely optional.

    Matt and Gregg: Wife#? says c’mon up and you can buy dinner. Now there’s an invitation hard to pass up!

  28. Comment by PaulW | 02.13.2014 | 7:42 am

    … an extra pair of shoes, and your angry eyes just in case …

  29. Comment by fatty | 02.13.2014 | 8:45 am

    I love the comments to today’s post. Love them so much.

  30. Comment by SteveB | 02.13.2014 | 10:11 am

    a couple of weeks ago I saw a guy riding along with
    a saddle! in his middle back pocket… of course he was
    doing a ‘compare the saddles’ ride.

  31. Comment by BostonCarlos (formerly NYC) | 02.13.2014 | 10:13 am

    @Fatty, I agree. Everyone is on point this week!

    @everyone else, It’s True! I’m coming to the bay area in a couple of weeks and we’re going to ride bikes! Come join us!

  32. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.13.2014 | 11:09 am

    We just want to rub your belly, Carlos….for luck.

  33. Comment by Lauren | 02.13.2014 | 11:27 am

    I once carried six tall boys.

  34. Comment by Brian in VA | 02.13.2014 | 12:09 pm

    Hey Lauren, were those 16 oz beers or some 6 foot tall 11 year old male children?

    Great post Fatty!

    For the record, the most I’ve carried in my pockets has been:
    iPhone, 6 Honey Stinger waffles, 5 Clif bars, extra inner tube, arm warmers, leg warmers, and an extra water bottle. When I swung my leg over the bike, I had to plan for it so I wouldn’t over-rotate and fly off the other side.

  35. Comment by Bill | 02.13.2014 | 12:27 pm

    No one asks why Fatty makes these recommendations – rest assured it is so that he can always pass you as you are weighed down (while he is losing weight day by day)!

  36. Comment by SteveB | 02.13.2014 | 12:34 pm

    @Bill – given his recent posting history, I’d say the
    more likely answer is that he wants us weighted down so
    that the zombies are more likely to catch us…

  37. Comment by MC | 02.13.2014 | 1:08 pm

    @Lauren…you carried SIX Santa Cruz Tall boy 29′er carbon Mt-bikes at the same time? I am impressed! You must have been using Dr. Lammler’s extra-pockets procedure (using that system you could theoreticly carry an infinite amount of stuff!)

  38. Comment by LikeyNoBikey | 02.13.2014 | 1:46 pm

    Oh! I’d forgotten about the LBoD. Good catch, PaulW.
    But they shouldn’t take a full pocket, right?

  39. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 02.13.2014 | 2:20 pm

    What cyclist goes out without a multitool in their back pocket? and might I suggest one with a built in crossbow that can be fired without hands – in case you are surprised by a zombie attack?

  40. Comment by briebecca | 02.13.2014 | 2:27 pm

    Not only do women’s jerseys tend to have just 2 pockets, they’re often much smaller than the men’s. It’s a crying shame. How is a girl supposed to eat in style?

  41. Comment by Dr. Lammler | 02.13.2014 | 5:33 pm

    @MC I need to correct you. It is impossible to carry an infinite amount of stuff because you are limited by the number of jerseys that you own or can borrow. Currently, I bring 147 jerseys on my rides and am hoping to get more.

  42. Comment by BostonCarlos (formerly NYC) | 02.13.2014 | 6:57 pm

    @davidh – it’s prime belly rubbing season considering how large it’s gotten over the winter!

  43. Comment by J | 02.13.2014 | 8:46 pm

    I have always love using my pockets for a few items. Wence I changed to a dropper post, I found I use my pockets a lot as I had to ditch the saddle bag. I love those deep pockets that seem like Mary Poppins’ purse and don’t make me look like a pack mule. Once thing I have been griping on is the bottle mount availability on full suspension bikes. I don’t like a single cage, but I hate the under-the-downtube cage even more. There, I just have FC another post idea!

  44. Comment by art allen | 02.13.2014 | 9:35 pm

    I leave mine empty for things I find along the road, tools, toys, diamond rings, money, bungee cords,I’ve found backpacks but I really don’t need to put them into pockets. Rarely do I go further than 25 miles without stopping to pick up some treasure. But this leaves my pockets full of Grot.

  45. Comment by NancyJBS | 02.14.2014 | 6:23 am

    I think I’ve read through the comments three times, each time laughing more.

    @Fatty, you opened a can or worms this time!

    This illustrates where I carry my beer when riding. It avoids the dangerous rolling reach-around and leaves my pockets free for several personal sized pizzas.

    P.S. If this picture goes jumbo, I blame @david-marin,ca. I was going to ask him for lessons in right-sizing files, but I see he still struggles from time to time.


  46. Comment by NancyJBS | 02.14.2014 | 6:58 am

    Though I may further humiliate myself with ELPs (excessively large pictures), I submit this to demonstrate the proper way to carry a generator on a bicycle. This we discovered in the waning hours before our Dark 100 Mile of Nowhere last spring. Carrying it thus frees the jersey pockets for bottles of gasoline.


  47. Comment by mack | 02.14.2014 | 9:20 am

    Terry carried a kitten for 20 miles. We found it on the road a long ways from any house. Terry proved his bike handling skills when he rode with the kitten crawling around on him. Kittens do not stay in pockets even if you can get them in the pocket. The fire department in the next town took the kitten. Terry can sure ride a bike

  48. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.14.2014 | 10:02 am

    BRAVO Nancy!!!!!

    That must have resulted in one very BRIGHT bike light!

  49. Comment by Bill T | 02.14.2014 | 10:10 am

    “A whole roast chicken. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of getting enough protein in a cyclist’s diet.”

    Is that possible a reference to Harriet Fell’s story of PBP 1975?

    “The weekend before the big event, I packed my TA handlebar bag. I had a rain cape, two sewups, rim tape, spare batteries and bulbs, tools including a spoke wrench, freewheel remover, and a big adjustable wrench. I had glucose tablets, something like Gatorade powder, pâtes de fruits (fruit jellies), a kilo of prunes (to combat one of the problems during the 600 km brevet that I forgot to mention), and . . . a chicken, whole and roasted. I also prepared a bag for the support vans with two more sewups, spare cycling clothes, and hairbrush, toothbrush, etc. “

  50. Comment by Norman | 02.14.2014 | 11:55 pm

    So am I the only one who’s willing to admit to owning a five shot .38 snubnose alloy frame that is darn near undetectable when next to a wallet and a protein bar?

  51. Comment by Bicycle Bill | 02.15.2014 | 8:58 am

    Fatty mentioned spare spokes.  I carry three taped with black electrical tape to the left-side chain stay; and I have seen special custom-built touring bikes that have braze-ons in that location specifically designed to hold spares.  You could also carry them taped to the barrel of your full-size Zefal HP frame pump, although they are apt to be in the way when/if you need to use the pump.


  52. Comment by Tristan | 02.15.2014 | 9:52 am

    Hilarious stuff.

  53. Comment by Dr. Lammler | 02.15.2014 | 3:00 pm

    @Norman That’s impressive that you carry 38 revolvers. It seems one or two would be adequate for most rides.

  54. Comment by (****), currently in the WPP | 02.17.2014 | 6:03 am

    I came up behind a cyclist, briefly, could smell fresh baked S.F. Fisherman’s Wharf cracked whole wheat sourdough bread. The 3 jersey pockets ‘looked’ empty. No other visible storage attachments on the bike either. He did have a cycle computer on the bar, maybe it was an APP.
    On passing I greeted him with “Nice smell”.
    His reply would not be printed on this blog, I’m sure.
    It was then I realized he was carrying the fresh loaves in his shoes.

  55. Comment by Papa Bear | 02.18.2014 | 10:19 am

    @Norman: To paraphrase Hawkeye Pierce… “I’ll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, carry me back to Old Virginia, I’ll even ‘hari-kari’ if you show me how, and I WILL carry a gun!”

  56. Comment by Neil | 02.21.2014 | 1:55 pm

    Interesting shirt with pockets for those have a cochlear implant or want to better secure their electronics device on mountain trails. See the shirt on and read the story about the parent who designed this shirt for his son, who wears cochlear implants. Then look at this review Like the creativity and utility.

  57. Comment by randy | 02.22.2014 | 2:37 pm

    “Is that a real poncho . . . I mean. Is that a Mexican poncho or is that a Sears poncho? Hmmm . . . no foolin’?” – FZ


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