If you are heading on a long cycling trip, then you will need to stock up on a lot of bits and pieces to make sure that the trip goes smoothly. You will need to take care of both yourself, and the bike, and you’ll need to pack carefully to make sure that you don’t get stuck without something important, in the middle of nowhere. Your packing list should include;
A Puncture Kit
You should always carry a puncture kit with you when you are out on your bike, but it’s doubly important when you’re going on a long trip. Make sure that it’s appropriately stocked. If you’ve used it recently and not replaced the patches, the kit is next-to-useless.
A Fully Charged, Simple Phone
If you’re going on a long trip and you’re going to be camping or staying in as-yet-unknown accommodation, then it’s not a good idea to rely on your iPhone to make calls. You can get inexpensive, simple phones that have battery life measured in months if they’re left switched off and only turned on to make calls. This kind of phone could be handy if you were to get stranded.
A Prepaid Credit Card
If this is a long trip through cities, then having a prepaid card with some cash on it is a good idea, just in case you end up needing to book transport home.
Carry some protein bars or other snacks with you to keep your energy up. Things that will keep in your bag, and not go off and that are a good source of calories.
A First Aid Kit
A simple first aid kit with plasters, bandages, antiseptic wipes, painkillers and other basics will give you peace of mind and keep you comfortable for most emergencies.
A Fold Up Raincoat
Hopefully, the weather will be beautiful for the entire trip, but sadly the weather doesn’t always co-operate. A fold-up raincoat will keep you at least mostly dry and doesn’t have to take up a lot of space in your bag.
A Comfortable Bag
You might be able to make do with any random backpack for a short trip through town, but when you’re on a longer journey and your bag is packed full to the brim you’re going to notice the awkward straps and the way that the bag doesn’t quite sit properly on your back. It won’t just be irritating. It could become distracting and dangerous. Don’t let it. Get a proper bag – many cycling-specific bags even come with hydration pouches and long flexible straws so that you can drink on the go. It will make the ride so much more fun.
Proper Bike Clothing
Find some clothing that is suitable for cycling in too. It’s OK to ride in jeans when you’re going from home to the local shop, but on longer journeys, you’ll find that they’re restrictive, you get sweaty, and it’s just not comfortable. Baggy pants can get caught in the chain of your bike too. Dress appropriately. You can always change into street clothes (or party clothes) once you get to your destination.
No matter where you are, or whether it’s summer or not, it’s a good idea to wear sun cream if you’re out for prolonged periods of time. You might not be at risk of sunburn on a mild day, but the sun can still cause hidden damage to your skin.
A Paper Map
Even if you’re relying on your phone or a dedicated GPS unit, batteries die, accidents happen, and devices break. Having a printed map gives you a back-up that you can refer to if you have a technology disaster. Even if you’re not great at reading printed maps, you can pull them out and ask locals for a hand.
Make sure that the shoes you wear are suitable for cycling. If you buy new shoes especially for the trip, spend a few days “breaking them in.” Yes, you can get blisters from cycling just like you can from walking.
A Sense of Humor
As corny as it might sound, yes, you need to have a sense of humor if you’re going to go on a long road trip. There will be days when it’s cold and wet. You might get lost. You will find that you forgot to pack something important. Things won’t always go according to plan. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have a very good time – it just means that you need to be flexible. If you go with the flow and take advantage of having ‘free’ transport that will let you head wherever you feel like depending on the weather and your mood, then you can always have a good time.