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What to Pack for a Bike Tour

Renuka Savant
Packing for a bike tour depends mainly on the duration of your trip and the route you'll be taking.

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This story makes your job easier by bringing you a list of things to pack for your next bike tour.
As a regular rider, you may be aware of how strenuous cycling can be. Therefore, while packing for a bike tour, always stick to the less is more philosophy.

Rule of thumb

Packing for any kind of journey is always a learning experience. First-timers are usually in the habit of taking practically everything, lest an emergency requirement puts them in a tough spot. As one gains experience, it becomes easier to gauge what one actually needs, and what can easily be left out.

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Bicycle journeys are not one of those where you can afford to pile on the pounds, and travel like it means nothing. Lugging the heavy panniers can certainly be an 'uphill' task; considering that you'll be doing all the lugging yourself.
The guidelines that follow, therefore, will be of utmost use to those of you who are planning their maiden bicycle voyage.

Bike Tour Packing List

The things mentioned here are generalized for the benefit of readers; you will always have to make deletions or additions to the list, in order to make it more personalized.
While packing clothes, the emphasis should be on lightness. Pick clothes which not only weigh less, but also occupy less space. Consider the weather while choosing clothes.


Also, carrying heaps of clothes just does not make sense, as you'll always get opportunities to find a laundromat in the towns that you cycle through. If you're willing, you can even do your laundry whenever you stay in a hotel. Here's a list of recommended clothing items you can carry. The number of each item will depend upon the duration of your trip.
✦ Comfortable shorts
✦ T-shirts/tops, pants (include rain pants too)
✦ Undergarments (minimum 3 pairs)
✦ Sandals/lightweight shoes
✦ Woolen hat
✦ Wool sweater or jacket
✦ Gloves (wool or fleece)

Cycling Apparel

Your cycling apparel will determine the comfort of your ride.

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Invest in a good pair of shoes to protect your feet. These shoes can also be used as walking shoes, check for the ample toe space so your feet do not get cramped.
Here is a list of things you must carry:
✦ Cycling helmet
✦ Touring shoes
✦ Cycling gloves, cycling shorts
✦ Socks (woolen and synthetic)
✦ Leg warmers or rain pants
✦ Short-sleeved T-shirts
✦ Long-sleeved shirts (for layering and sun protection)
✦ Rain gear, waterproof shoe covers
Bicycle Tools
Your bicycle tools will make up a significant part of your baggage, if you're scheduling a long trip. You will need the following:
  • Tire levers/patch kit
  • Spare tube and tire
  • Mini-pump
  • Super glue (for nuts and bolts)
✦ Spoke wrench
✦ Spare spokes
✦ Multi-tool that combines a screwdriver, Allen wrench, and chain tool
✦ Vice grips
✦ Brake cable
✦ Derailleur cable
✦ Extra nuts, bolts, and wire
✦ Assorted plastic zip ties
✦ Small chain lubricant and rag
✦ Bicycle light
✦ Hose clamp
✦ Spare brake pads
✦ Spare clipless pedal cleat bolts
✦ Duct tape
Camping Gear
Only for those who're in it for the long haul. You will not need anything apart from your camping gears:
✦ Tent, Sleeping bag
✦ Basic utensils (plate/spoons/forks/knives)
✦ Basic cooking utensils
✦ Compact stove and fuel
Everything Else
By this, we're essentially referring to the sundry items that are an important part of your baggage. This includes your personal things like toiletries, first aid components, gadgets, and food items.
The list will include:
✦ Wallet, cash, cards, and travel documents
✦ Cellular phone and charger
✦ Toiletries
✦ Quick drying towel(s)
✦ Pocket knife
✦ Food items (energy bars, dry fruits, etc.)
✦ Lightweight lock and cable
✦ Hydration pack/water container(s)
✦ Basic first-aid kit
✦ Sunglasses and sunblock
✦ Flashlight/headlamp
✦ Sewing kit
✦ Insect repellent
✦ Nylon and bungee cord
✦ Camera
✦ Hooks and cords to hang bags (if needed)
✦ Toilet paper/wet wipes
✦ Plastic bags (to keep wet clothing/soiled laundry)
Keep in mind that the list of things mentioned here contain suggested items. You are free to add or remove things to suit your requirements. Just ensure that your panniers do not weigh more than 40 pounds, and that the weight is distributed evenly.
Take a trial run to gauge if the weight you're carrying is feasible as well as manageable. After all, your comfort has to be a priority of everything else.