Checklist for Cycling Adventurer's
Bicycle Touring Checklist
Bicycle touring is becoming an increasingly popular way to travel around countries and see off-the-beaten path places. Being well-prepared and having the proper equipment will make your long days on your bike enjoyable and safe. Plan reasonable riding distances for your ability and endurance level, and make sure to leave time for your plan b. It’s also important in cycling that your bike and your body are streamlined, meaning that you don’t have things dangling from bags where they could become caught in the spokes of your bike. Buy bags that can adequately hold all of your gear and remember that whatever you bring, you’ll be carrying the entire trip!
Bicycle - a road bike works great on most roads, and is a more efficient way to ride, however if you plan on riding on gravel or off-road, bring a touring bike with fatter tires that can withstand rough road conditions
Rear and front pannier rack and bags – make sure the bags fit well on the carrier, and that all of your desired belongings fit in the bags. If you’ll be riding in mixed weather conditions, consider waterproof or water-resistant bags.
Two water bottles and carriers that attach to your bike. Camelbaks or other types of backpack hydration systems work as well.
Front light and rear flashing safety lights - don’t forget spare batteries and light bulbs
Bike lock – lightweight, and compact since you’ll be carrying it. U-locks have tested time and again to be the strongest locks, however they are big and heavy. Chain locks are easier to pack and can be wrapped around your bike while riding. Wordlock makes a decent lightweight lock.
Pump – small hand pumps are fine, however make sure to purchase a good one that will pump your tires to the recommended pressure.
Straps and bungee cords
When Things Go Wrong
Bike Repair Kit – bring tools that specifically fit your bike and leave the rest at home: spare tire, spare tube, small screwdrivers, Allen wrenches, tire irons, spoke wrench, crescent wrench, patch kit for your tube (sold as a kit at most bike stores), extra spokes, chain lube and cleaner, bike grease, spare nuts and bolts.
Bike First Aid – First aid kits for cycling are more or less the same as for any other adventure sport. Since you will be attempting to pack light, pare down your kit by getting rid of boxes or putting pills into labeled plastic bags. See our first aid kit contents for a complete list of what to bring.
Additionally , pack a calling card, extra cash and change in case your cell phone doesn’t work and you need to make an emergency phone call or pay for a bus ride.
Cycling Clothing Pack List
This is a list of all the clothing you may need while riding. Pack clothes for off the road activities depending on what other adventures you have planned.
Bike Helmet – this is an essential item. You should not be on the road or on your bike without one. Other types of helmets will work too, but cycling helmets are well ventilated, streamlined, and lightweight making them perfect for your long ride. Long underwear (lightweight tops and bottoms. Synthetic is best or wool / synthetic/cotton blend)
Cycling shorts – For a long, multi-day ride, padded cycling shorts are an absolute necessity. Several companies make the standard spandex shorts with a baggy exterior, so you can avoid the nerdy cyclist look if you prefer.
Leg Warmers or knickers – even if you will be riding in a warm climate, mornings and evenings can be cold on the road. Leg warmers are an easy, lightweight option that can be removed quickly when the sun comes out. Knickers are another great piece if you anticipate longer periods of time in cool weather.
Cycling socks – at least 2 or 3 pairs. Other types of synthetic blend socks will work as well, but try them out on a long ride to make sure they fit well with your cycling shoes.
Cycling shirt – a cycling-specific shirt is not necessary, but it is nice to wear something that is made of synthetic (rather than cotton) material. Cycling shirts are nice because they have easy access pockets in the back, full coverage of the back for sun protection, and often a zipper that slides ¾ of the way down the shirt.
Windbreaker or Windshirt – a windshirt is more aerodynamic and still provides protection from the wind on the front side (you probably won’t feel much wind on your back). A windbreaker is easier to pack and less bulky.
Rain Suit (both jacket and pants) – even if you plan on avoiding rain at all costs, at some point you will most likely ride through a drizzle, or even the eye of a storm, and you will need some rain gear. Several manufacturers make extremely lightweight, minimalist rain gear.
Warm Fleece Layer – it’s always a good idea to have layers. And it can double as an off-bike piece as well. Arm warmers work too.
Skull Cap – can be worn under a helmet in cold weather conditions.
Cycling Gloves – keeps your hands from getting sore, burned, chafed. Get a pair that are comfortable, fit well, and have enough padding for long rides.
Cycling Shoes – Platform pedals or pedals with clips (a basket that goes over your shoe and holds your foot on the pedal) don’t require special shoes. However, if your bike has cleats (ie. clipless pedals), then you will need shoes that fit the pedals. Most road bike cleats are compatible with a 3-hole shoe system, but check your pedals first.
Wrap-around Sunglasses – Not just for the sun, glasses keep bugs, dust, and wind out of your eyes! They also help keep your eyes from watering. Wrap-around sunglasses are nice because they protect the sides of your face as well.
Personal and Bike Camping Gear
We are not going to tell you what personal items to bring because some bike tours require a minimal amount of gear (if you are stopping in towns, etc), while others are on a more remote course. Here is a short list of items that are recommended:
Small, quick dry towel
Chapstick with sunscreen
Camera and battery
Maps – detailed with small roads and townsas well as major highways
If you are planning to camp and cook your meals (rather than stay in hotels), the following items will be necessary:
Tent w/ rainfly, or a bivy sack
Sleeping bag and pad (see How to Buy a Sleeping Bag)
Backpacking stove and fuel
Cup, plate, utensils
Multi-tool with a knife and can opener