Packing for Bike Touring

May 7th, 2016

As you look forward to your upcoming bicycle tour, start planning the packing process early so that you know if you need to shop for anything in advance.  Our checklist for bike tours includes some common sense items, but maybe a few you haven't thought of:

Bike clothing and gear

Do you really want to wash your bike shorts everyday?  Pack as many cycling shirts and shorts as there are cycling days in the tour.  Do the laundry when you get home!

Bike gloves:  at least two pairs.  You may want to wash them out and not wear the wet pair.  Plus, recent census data shows that 75 percent of bike tour guests loose at least one glove during some portion of each tour.

Arm warmers and leg warmers.  Simply the most cost effective and easy packing way to be prepared for changing temperatures.

Sweatband.  Keep the sunscreen out of your eyes -- it hurts!

Helmet -- bring your own, even if loaners are available.  It has already been adjusted to fit your head; well, hopefully it has been.

Bicycle Saddle.  If you are renting a bike, you may want to bring a saddle that you like, especially if you have had trouble finding one in the past.  Carolina Tailwinds has a wide selection of saddles, but we are happy to install yours on our bike.

Pedals.  If renting a bike you can bring your own pedals.  Carolina Tailwinds provides each renter with their choice of platform, toe cage or SPD compatible pedals.  If your prefer any other type of cleated pedal system, you will need to bring your own.  Don't wait to the last minute to remove them from your bike.  If they have been there for a while, they may be stuck and require an extra long pedal wrench for removal.

Skin lubricant.  Yes, this is a touchy issue.  If you haven't been in the habit of cycling on multiple consecutive days, the skin where your body meets the saddle will unavoidably become sore.  All bike shops carry multiple brands of skin lubicants that alleviate this issue.   It is the best investment you can make in yourself after booking the bike tour.

Extra wallet.  You may want to carry a separate, waterproof wallet on the bike and leave the main one in your luggage.  What you should always have on your person when cycling includes: a little cash, a credit card, a copy of your drivers license, a copy of your medical and/or travel insurance policy numbers, a list of medical conditions, medicines and allergies, and names and numbers of emergency contacts.  Road I.D. is another safety option.

Headlights and Taillights.  If you are using your own bike on the tour, invest in the brightes L.E.D. lights you can find.  There are many that are rechargable.  If you are renting a bike, Carolina Tailwinds will supply lights.

Cyclometer or g.p.s device.  If you are bringing your own bike, make sure you have the aids to navigation that you will need.  All Carolina Tailwinds rental bikes come with cyclometers that show elapsed distance so that you can navigate our laminated cue cards easily.

Raingear.  Maybe you don't bike in the rain at home -- most of us don't.  But many folks see things differently when they have paid for a bike tour.  So, a bike-friendly rain jacket, a cap with a bill that will fit under your helmet, and a helmet cover are some practical items.

Eyewear, bike shoes, windbreaker, etc.

Off the bike clothing and gear

Wrinkle free clothing is the best.  Who wants to iron on vacation?

Practical shoes for dinner.  You signed up for an active vacation, so expect to walk to dinner on some evenings.

Lightweight layers for varying temps

Small roller bags and backpacks.  We relocate more days than not on a bike tour, so make moving in and moving out easy on yourself.

Mesh bags and extra bags.  From the middle to the end of the tour, you will want to pack the sweaty clothes somewhere other than with the clean clothes.  A "smushable" gym bag will give you somewhere to segregate such foulness.

Camera.  Bring one and use it often.  Memories are what you are paying for!

Obviously, there are other items you may need, but this is a start.  Make a checklist and update it as you think of things.   And don't forget to pack a little wanderlust!