Rad kit to get you prepared for all that mother nature may throw at you
Want to know what you need out on the road? Packing for a cycling holiday doesn’t need to be difficult. Lucky for you, our cycling kit guide for an epic holiday is here to help. There are some key things you need to think about:
- What is the destination’s climate? You can normally forecast pretty well on this.
- How long is your tour? Pack for the days and find out if you can launder overnight
- Want to record your rides? You’ll need tech.
Quick pack list for a cycling holiday
- Take your own clothes – you’re guaranteed on the fit and you know where it’s been
- Cycling shoes and don’t forget overshoes if you get cold feet easily
- Bib shorts – take ones that you’ve worn and are comfortable with to help avoid saddle sores
- Windproof gilet is always a good idea
- Arm warmers – good for cooler climates and unpredictable winds
- Packable lightweight waterproof jacket
- Interchangeable lenses on your sunglasses to match the light conditions
- Mobile phone
- GPS device – Garmin or similar
- Camera equipment – Either GoPro or SLR, with mounts, lenses, and chargers (a support vehicle will carry the bulk luggage)
- Chamois creme
- Energy gels
If you are riding for long distances and over multiple days, a good chamois creme is something you shouldn’t be without. It’s best to find one you are happy with before you go. There are also warm-up creams available to help your legs get ready for the day, but these are not essential.
Mid ride fuel is super important. Find an energy gel and hydration drink that you like and works well for you. There is nothing worse than being stuck out all day with something you can’t stomach.
Bike kit and preparation
Are you going to take your own bike or rent while you’re out there? Depending on this choice makes a difference in how you prepare for the trip. Here are a few things to think about:
- Bicycle measurements – If renting, these will be needed to ensure your hire bike is fitted to match your bike back home. Tour operators and the rental shops will adjust saddle height/setback and stem length/height on your chosen frame size to ensure you have as little change to your riding position as possible.
- Pedals and shoe coordination – If renting a bike, be sure to match your pedals to your shoes. Most shops will have loan sets but it’s not guaranteed. Taking your own pedals is advised as this way you will be familiar with the pedal release, meaning no embarrassing falls.
- Prepare your bike for travel – If you want to take your own bike, it’s advisable to have it serviced and checked before you go. Ask your local bike shop if you need help. This will mean a reliable bike out of the box.
- Packing your bike – A bespoke bike box is the best way to protect your bike during air travel. We have all sat there in departures watching those suitcases being loaded and winced. A decent box will help protect that fragile carbon frame. There are many bike boxes on the market and, if you plan to travel with your bike regularly, buying one is a good investment. Packing your bike definitely needs a run through before you go, and we advise that you learn this yourself rather than getting your bike shop to do it without you. You could soon get to the end of your tour and be stuck with a bike you can get home! Likewise, with assembly, we advise that you practice reassembling before you go.
- Bicycle insurance – You will need to check your travel insurance covers you for cycling and the transportation of your bike. If not, then cycle-specific insurance can cover both.
Brace yourselves, there is going to be some time off the bike. We know, how are you going to manage to switch off from cycling? Well, the locations are not only beautiful by bike, but also by foot. All the tours we offer are based in locations rich with culture and atmosphere (read great food and nightlife)! But seriously, being able to get out and visit the locale really adds depth to your visit. Also, most stays have access to a spa, gym, and/or pool facilities.
So, that means you’ll need some extra gear for yourself:
- Recovery wear – Off the bike, you probably aren’t going to want to get straight into your evening garms. You’ll probably find yourself heading to the pool or spa, so pack some swim shorts and some comfortable clothing. It’s time to break out those Rapha sliders you were bought for Christmas for pure cyclist downtime!
- Evening wear – Pack enough for a few nights out, look into local climate at the time of year. If you wanted to visit any specific cultural locations i.e. religious sites, then check any dress codes before you pack.
- Additional sports gear – Quite a few locations have gyms or amazing places to run, so maybe look into packing suitable sportswear and some trainers.
Like any trip, there are some basics that need to be covered, tick these off early so you don’t miss anything important:
- Passport (in date)
- Visas (if needed)
- Travel insurance
- Foreign currency and credit card
- Check your mobile network coverage abroad and download any apps you may need
- Inform your bank if you are travelling if needed
- Travel adapters for power
- Medications (if needed)
- Sleeping mask and earplugs
- Sun lotion and aftersun
- Book, that cyclists biography you have been meaning to read!
Fitness, Nutrition, and Ride Conduct
The final things to think about when heading out for a tour are linked to keeping yourself riding all day long. These revolve around your fitness and how you treat your body and others when cycling.
Fitness on cycling holidays
Most tour operators and guides will be flexible in approach to the days on the road, adjusting average speeds and distances matching the group’s ability. However, to really maximise your time on the bike, it may be worth looking into a training plan before you leave. This will help the days be longer and distances be further.
It’s better to arrive under trained than over injured
So don’t overdo it and risk your trip.
Nutrition on cycling holidays
If there’s one point we can’t emphasise enough, it’s to make sure you fuel properly on the day. Keep drinking fluids, find an energy drink that you like and has electrolytes in it. Make sure you find gels or bars that you can continue to eat without ending up with stomach issues. The last thing you want is to bonk or to cramp.
Even though tours are fully supported, sometimes the enjoyment will get the better of you and you can forget to eat and drink. If you do, you’ll be in the broom wagon, and no self-respecting cyclist wants that! Eat well in the evenings to recover, and don’t overdo those recovery beers!
Ride conduct on cycling holidays
Without this sounding like a lecture, as cyclists, we have a responsibility to represent our community and respect the ones we visit. We also have to respect our fellow cyclists. The whole point of riding a tour is to experience the climbs and descents in as close a way to the pros as possible but without the benefit of closed roads.
Remember to familiarise yourself with any local road laws, your tour guide should help with this, and keep to the correct side of the white lines. Stay safe and ride to your skillset.
Before riding with other cyclists, it’s a good idea to establish some common mid-ride communication, ie to notify each other of approaching vehicles or if you are passing each other. This will help reduce confusion and add to that team feel.
And finally, don’t be a litter bug. We want to continue to ride in these locations again and again without getting a bad rep. Stuff those empty gels in your jersey pockets!
Ready to go?
We’re ready, are you?
The above is all checked and we are counting down the time to meet you on tour. Riding a tour is an amazing experience, and now all the guesswork is taken care of, it’s all about the cycling. Get ready to earn those turns, test those legs and lungs, and ride in the playgrounds of the pros.
Enjoy your tour. This is epico.