Touring on your bicycle should bring you freedom and joy. Of course, you don’t want to be weighed down with excess weight. In fact, you may be intimidated by the thought of a long-distance bike tour because of all the things you would need to carry. However, fear no more. With these handy tips, you will be able to FLY with your cycle. Well, not fly exactly – but you will feel lighter and more liberated!
Tip 1: List the Necessities and Determine Your Priorities
The first step is to figure out what you will really need during your ride. List all the things you think you will need. Consider the weather, the duration, and the breaks. Then make a priority list to identify the items you absolutely need.
The more details in your list, the better. The aim of this post is to help you travel light, not make you leave essentials at home. Making a list and setting priorities is the best way to start.
Tip 2: Ration Your Snack Bars and Food
Identify your daily need for calories and pack food accordingly. Ration your food properly so you do not run out of snacks. Keep track of what you eat, so you know that you have enough left for the rest of the trip.
Try to choose foods that are specifically manufactured for cycle tours.
Tip 3: Study a Map and Plan Your Stops
Study a map before you travel. Examine the details and choose stops that make sense. Pick out specific places where you want to stop, such as places to see, and places to shop and replenish your supplies, if necessary.
Tip 4: Refill, Repeat, Replenish
Do not over-pack your panniers with supplies. Instead, plan to stop at places where you can replenish your food and water. Repeat the process until you have completed your journey.
Make a list of the things you will need to replenish along the way. Even better, make careful plans about where you will get them.
Tip 5: Inspect the Condition of Your Bike Before you Start a Long-Distance Bike Tour!
Check your bike yourself, if you have the skills. If not, take it to a bike shop for a complete service. It is essential to travel on a bike that is in tip-top condition, with everything working perfectly.
Tip 6: Essential Gadgets for the Dark
If you plan to be out at night, that is, you are bike camping, you must be prepared. The most important thing you need is a well-designed flashlight.
Make sure the flashlight is not heavy and has a long battery life. It is advisable to have a flashlight that offers multiple options and functionality. And of course, it goes without saying that if you plan to cycle at night, you must have excellent bike lights. See our quick links to our best posts about bike lights.
Tip 7: Organize Everything in Different Panniers
Do not put every item in the same pannier. You might think it saves space, but it doesn’t. Get various panniers and attach them to different parts of your bike. Divide your items into categories and use different panniers, or compartments of panniers, for each of them. Categories include: tools, food, documents, and clothes.
See also our post on 7 of the best bike panniers.
Tip 8: Buy Bike-Touring-Friendly Clothes for Your Long-Distance Cycling Tour
Shop for clothing that is lightweight, tough, and easy to wash. These clothes will make your bike tour more comfortable.
Tip 9: Pre-plan Your Laundry
Research for laundromats where you can wash your clothes. It is always better to wash your clothes on the go rather than carrying a large quantity with you.
If you are using hotels, you could also wash your clothes in your hotel and dry them overnight. As you are on the move, no one will notice if you wear the same clothes every day!
Tip 10: Bring Along a Good Cycling Multi-Tool on Your Long-Distance Cycling Tour
Be sure to take along a good cycling multi-tool. For example, the Crankbrothers M17 Bicycle Tool is popular with many cyclists. A good multi-tool will enable you to keep moving – providing of course you know how to use it. If not, be sure to carry a credit card and a cell phone!
Tip 11: Distribute the Weight Evenly
Carefully plan which panniers you will use, so that you distribute the weight evenly on your bike. Also think about convenience along the way. For example, a handlebar-mounted bag is the best place to carry your phone and wallet. You can even choose a bag that makes it easy to view your phone as you ride, which is useful if you are using Google Maps.
Be prepared, and then enjoy your bike tour!
Thanks to Our Guest Author
Angie Grey is curious by nature and an adventurer at heart. Traveling around the world to explore the unknown is her ultimate goal in life.
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