What gear should I bring on a supported, multi-day cycling tour?
If you are going on a multi-day cycling trip with vehicle support and luggage transfer, you have the luxury of packing less carefully than you would on a self-supported tour where every ounce counts. Here I provide some suggestions for what you may find useful to make your cycling tour enjoyable. It is not meant to be a comprehensive list – a toothbrush is not listed – bring the things that you would normally travel with. Most importantly, pack clothing and equipment you find comfortable! Do test out the gear you are bringing, especially your shorts/seat, to make sure they are comfortable for the average daily distances you will be riding during your tour – i.e. average 60km per day on the intermediate/advanced tours and average 25km per day on the novice/intermediate tours. Check out this video for some tips on keeping your nether regions happy and healthy during your ride.
- A trip-appropriate bike in good working order is a must. Bring your own or rent one.
- HELMET is a must!
- A rear red light is highly recommended, and a front white light is also a very good idea.
- A buff or similar for under the helmet and lots of other cool uses.
- Cycling jerseys with back pockets are useful but not necessary, but jerseys with a wicking fabric are cool, comfortable, and are recommended. Check the expected temperatures the week before you come to make decisions about whether to bring sleeveless, short sleeve or long sleeve jerseys, or a combination.
- Arm warmers – these are useful with a short sleeve jersey for those days when it starts out chilly and then warms up.
- Wind/waterproof jacket – we will proceed with riding in light rains. A cycling rain jacket that is cut to cover your bum while in a cycling position is preferred, but not necessary. These are also handy to wear if we have a cooler day.
- Gloves – check the expected temperatures the week before you come. For most of our trips, short-finger gloves should be fine, but there may be the occasional day when full-fingered gloves are necessary to keep your hands warm.
- Padded bike shorts and/or a very comfortable seat. Ensure that whatever combination of shorts and seat you are bringing is comfortable for several hours of riding a day.
- Chamois cream if you need it – and if you are on a longer multi-day trip, you probably do. Click here for more info.
- Long tights (pants) may be necessary on some days. Check the expected temperatures the week before you come.
- Shoes – for those doing intermediate/advanced tours, cycling shoes with cleats and clipless pedals are strongly recommended. For those doing novice/intermediate tours, a stiff-soled running shoe or day hiker would be OK – but read this article and consider some of the advantages of clipping in.
- Whatever undergarments that are comfortable for you (sports bra, undershirts, socks, etc). Undies under the bike shorts are NOT recommended!
- Water bottles – preferably two 750 ml bottles. Oh yeah – and cages to hold them!
- Sunglasses – hopefully you will need them for sun protection on most days, but they also provide some protection from wind when you are whipping along at lightening speed!
- Sweat-proof sunscreen.
- A standard repair kit for your bike is recommended (spare tube or patch kit, portable pump, CO2 cartridge, tire levers, multi-tool, etc).
- For trips with longer distances, consider a handlebar bag for carrying small items you may need throughout the day. Some of these bags have a clear, waterproof sleeve on the top surface where you can put a map.
- And, that conveniently leads us to the topic of navigation. If you are on a self-guided tour, you will need some way to navigate. Even if you are on a guided tour, it is helpful to be able to follow along and know what turns are coming up. At Humdinger, we provide paper maps or turn-by-turn instruction, but we also provide electronic route files and highly recommend cyclists use some form of electronic navigation. This can be a GPS unit that you attach to your handlbars, such as a Garmin or Wahoo device. OR, you can use an app on your mobile phone to which you can upload electronic route files. Click here for an overview of several different options.
- Season-appropriate touring clothes for off-bike times, including shoes that are good for walking and exploring.
- Bathing suit.
- One business casual outfit, as occasionally dinner spots have a dress code.
- Insect repellant. This is not usually needed for cycling, but there may be some mosquitoes at dusk, and sometimes bug repellant makes sitting out and enjoying a lakeside sunset a bit more enjoyable.