Efficient packing is one of the most important aspects of a long and fruitful bicycle tour. Without efficient packing, you will be carrying a lot of unnecessary weight on your bike, and you may give up sooner than later. Therefore, it is critical to be aware of the things you need to take with you and things you can leave behind on long bicycling trips. In this article, you will discover various things that you should carry with you and how to pack them efficiently.
As far as efficient packing for a long bicycle trip is concerned, it depends on the place where you’re going as well as the road conditions in the area. Whether you are going to be traveling for several weeks or several months and the place where you will be sleeping at night and personal preferences among other things. In other words, things that you need to take with you will depend on the kind of tour you are planning. For instance, you may not need cooking gear if you are traveling across Europe, but it may be necessary when you are bicycling across Africa.
Choice of Gear
First and foremost, you will be better off being lightweight as compared to carrying as many things as you can. When you are on a long bicycling trip, it is important that you travel light as more weight on your bicycle will not only affect your efficiency but it may make your bicycling trip a chore instead of an enjoyable experience. For instance, do not make the mistake of carrying unnecessary electronics on a bicycling trip in case you are not going to need them.
If you’re going to work on the bicycling trip, you may pack a laptop, a bunch of cameras, a bunch of batteries and other such things to ensure that you will be able to work from anywhere in the world when you get access to the Internet. On the other hand, if you are not going to work when you are on the bicycling trip, it does not make sense to carry a laptop or other such electronics. Instead, you may pack only a camera and smartphone along with some other electronics.
Keep in mind that you only have a set amount of space on your bicycle to carry stuff, and if you take a particular thing, you may have to sacrifice other things. For instance, if you carry a lot of electronics, you may have to sacrifice your stove. However, it makes sense to leave your stove at home in case you are traveling across Europe as you will be able to find many restaurants at every bend in Europe.
On the other hand, a stove is necessary when you are traveling across Africa as you are unlikely to find good places to have a good hot meat. Therefore, the choice of gear will depend on the places where you are planning your trip.
Many people make the mistake of packing too many clothes even when they do not need even half of the clothes they have packed. Do not make this mistake and only carry necessary clothes that are flexible, lightweight and appropriate for the normal conditions. Try to pack clothing that may serve as on the road clothes as well as off the road clothes as it will allow you to save on space as well as weight.
While loose fitting, light, and long sleeve shirts are perfect for protecting your body from the sun’s rays, it is best to wear layered clothing during cold weather. Also, the waterproof clothes should be kept handy when the weather looks threatening to keep you dry.
Do not forget the helmet, tights, cycling gloves, cycling shoes as well as cycling shorts to make you more comfortable. Cycling gloves are necessary when you’re going on a long bicycling trip. There are some companies in the market that make high-quality clothing for bicycling enthusiasts. There are special cycling shoes with stiff soles as these help in increasing pedaling efficiency and also protect the feet from the sustained pressure of pedaling.
In case your feet swell a bit when you’re riding the bicycle, it is important to choose shoes that allow free movement of toes and the shoes should also accommodate extra sock layer. Carry a wool sweater or a fleece jacket to insulate your body during those chilly evenings in the mountains.
Organization is the key to success when it comes to long bicycling trips. Therefore, you need to learn to organize your stuff and pack it as efficiently as possible. You should begin by sorting things into various categories such as putting all the cooking gear and food in one particular bag.
Pack your clothes in one pile and spare parts and bike tools in another bag. This ensures that you will know where everything is instead of unpacking all the bags to find things you need. There are multicolored bags available in the market that can help you with the organization of stuff into various categories. You may also print labels and put them on the bags to remember exactly where you have packed your things.
The bicycle should be well-balanced front to back as well as side to side for you to have an enjoyable bicycling experience. It is recommended to have 40% of the weight in front, but some people also prefer the reverse. If you are exceptionally tall, it makes sense to have 60% weight in the front as it lowers the risk of broken spokes and takes the pressure of the back wheel. You should try different combinations to figure out the right load balance for your needs.
Important Things on Top
All the things that you may need during the day should be readily available, and it is recommended to put these things in the handlebar bag. The handlebar bag should contain critical items such as your passport, wallet, camera, maps and various other valuable items. You should always carry this handlebar bag with you whenever you leave the bike. It is important to keep this stuff with you at all times to make sure that you have these important things with you even if your bike gets stolen.
You do not need to pack everything inside the bags. For instance, some of the bulky items can also be strapped on your bike instead of packing them inside your bags. Many people strap on their tents on the outside of their bags. Also, do not forget to leave extra space inside your bags for things that you’re going to pack en route. It may be extra food, a souvenir or some other thing. You won’t be able to pick up some extra stuff en route if your bags are already full at the beginning.
Experienced bicycle riders recommend taking a test run with a fully loaded bicycle before you leave even if this is your eighth long bicycle tour. Make sure that you will be able to carry the things you have packed on that long bicycling trip.
Overall, follow the tips mentioned above to pack efficiently for that long bicycling trip that you have been planning. There are many resources available online that can help you in picking up the right gear depending on the location where you’re planning to travel. It is important that you invest in high-quality bags and other things to have a stress free and enjoyable bicycling trip.