How to Pack for a Multi-day Cycling Trip

HOW TO PACK FOR A MULTI-DAY CYCLING TRIP

Getting ready to go on a multiday- or weeks-long road bike trip requires a lot of thought and planning. Once the destination, timeframe, and general idea of the trip is settled on, the work has just begun. Whether preparing for a self-organized cycling trip or a fully-supported guided bike tour, there are certain things you need to consider when packing.

 

1) The Bike

You can’t go on a road bike trip without something to ride. If you are traveling with your own bike, you need to make a plan for transporting it. Some people choose to fly with their bike broken down in a travel case, others prefer to use a service like Bikeflights.com to ship their bike to the destination. If you are traveling a long way from home or find the logistics of traveling with a bike difficult, you may prefer to find a rental road bike.

Ensure that your bike is properly set up to your specifications before heading out to ride. Guided and supported cycling trips often have bike rental options available. Check to ensure that the bike meets your quality standards for the kind of riding you want to do. AOA’s rental fleet is one of the top in the country for bike model options, availability, and customer service.

Photo by Jill Richards

 

2) Bike Gear

Nearly as important as the bike itself are all of the smaller pieces of gear and accessories that make your ride successful.

  • Helmet — absolutely necessary
  • Spare tubes and tire levers
  • Floor pump to top off tires each morning before starting out
  • CO2 cartridges — invaluable on long days, plan to have at least one of these on hand at all times during your ride.
    Pedals & bike shoes — this is an easy one to forget when heading out the door.
  • Day time lights for visibility
  • Mechanic kit (and chops) — a multi-day cycling trip can be ruined by a simple mechanical problem. If you’re putting in all the work of planning a trip you’ll want to be sure you have back up should something go wrong. Full mechanical support is one of the benefits of joining a guided trip.

 

3) Clothing

Packing clothing for a multi-day bike kit can be a challenge. In addition to a clean set of bibs and jersey for every day, you’ll also want to take the weather forecast into consideration. Here’s a simple breakdown of the “needs” and “might needs”. Always think about the visibility factor of your clothing, particularly when riding in an area where you’re not familiar with the traffic.

Need:

  • 1 set of bibs/jersey for every day of riding
  • 1 pair of socks for every day of riding
  • Gloves, multiple pairs recommended

Might Need:

  • Knee sleeves/leg warmers
  • Arm warmers
  • Wind vest
  • Rain jacket
  • Thermal layer
  • Toe covers

Don’t forget to bring enough clean clothes for the hours spent off the bike as well. Peeling off your bike clothes and putting on something fresh and comfortable is one of the best feelings at the end of the ride. All the basics apply: Extra socks, comfortable tennis shoes, clean underwear, pants, and t-shirts.

 

4) Bike Nutrition

Anybody who puts in big miles knows that nutrition is key. On any multi-day cycling trip, you should have a strong meal plan to ensure you’re getting adequate balanced calories before and after every ride. AOA’s guided trips take care of all the meal planning so you’re always in optimal condition to get out and pedal. In addition to meals, staying fueled on the bike is paramount. You should always have a variety of nutritional items on hand. Plan ahead so you are sure not to run out.

The basics should include an electrolyte mix and complex carbohydrates, either in the form of whole snack foods or gels. The best option is to have both — eat whole foods and use easy fix of a GU or gel with caffeine for an extra boost. Don’t forget to recover as well. Recovery drinks with extra electrolytes and protein ensure your muscles are given the proper nutrients to process lactate and get ready for another day of riding.

Photo by Jill Richards

Packing for a multi-day cycling trip can be very challenging, there are many pieces to consider. One of the benefits of joining a supported or guided bike trip is the guidance provided to you through the preparation process. A detailed packing list and an expert to answer all your questions can make a big difference in your satisfaction with your trip. No matter how you travel, with an organized group or alone, give yourself adequate time to prepare and organize your equipment so that you’re not scrambling on day two of the trip.