13 Must-Have Items for a Cycling Trip
When you’re planning to go on a cycling trip, you’re going to want to make sure yo’re prepared and remember to pack these essential items!
Cycling is an incredible pastime, enjoyed by over 66.5 million Americans. And it is no wonder! It is fun, and a great eco-friendly method of transportation. Plus, there are a ton of health benefits.
The many upsides to cycling have contributed to the growing popularity of cycling trips. Whether you’re planning your first cycling trip, or you’re an old hand, you need to make sure you’ve got the right gear.
Of course, your equipment needs will vary based on the length of your trip. If you are going for a week, you’ll need a lot more than if you’re cycling just for one day.
In this article, we’ll look at the 13 most important pieces of gear than anyone should bring on a cycling trip.
1. Hydration Pack
No matter how short your cycling trip, you need to have a source of water. Dehydration can be extremely dangerous — even deadly!
Biking is physically demanding. You may not realize how quickly you can become dehydrated while you’re biking, especially if you are out in hot or dry conditions.
A good rule of thumb? Drink eight ounces of water for every 20 minutes that you will be cycling. This will help you avoid dehydration, and make sure your cycling performance doesn’t suffer either.
You can determine the size of the hydration pack that you need based on the length of time you expect to be cycling each day, and how frequently you will be able to stop and refill your water supply.
You can get a water bottle that clips to your bike’s frame, but it probably won’t be enough. Instead, a hydration pack is a great option. They are essentially storage bags made of a flexible material.
Many come built into bags. They also are easier to drink from while cycling when you attach a drinking hose.
And, once you empty it, it weighs virtually nothing! That means no extra weight to worry about on longer trips.
2. Flat Tire Repair Kit
Don’t get stranded with a flat tire! A repair kit is an essential for any bike day trip packing list, as well as on longer adventures.
A good flat kit needs these essentials:
- A portable tire pump
- Tire patches
- Spare tube
- Tire levers
Make sure that you know how to use everything in the kit before you hit the road. You don’t want to have to try to figure it out on the trail when you’re still miles from your destination.
3. Chain Lubricant
You need to keep your chain greased up for optimum performance. When considering what to take on a cycling trip, people often forget about chain lubricant!
If you are going on a short trip, staying on paved roads and in optimal weather conditions, you may not need lubricant. However, if you’re planning on mountain biking adventures, you’ll need it for sure.
Lubricant will keep your bike running smoothly, no matter how much dust, dirt, and water you cycle through.
You won’t need much. Bring a travel-sized bottle to save on weight in your pack.
4. Rain Covers
Few things are more uncomfortable on a cycling trip than having to keep going with wet gear. Rain covers are essential for bike touring gear, especially for longer trips.
While you won’t need to cover the metal parts of your bike, make sure everything else can be easily waterproofed. Get a cover for your seat, as well as all your bags.
Make sure you’ve got comfortable rain gear to keep you dry too!
5. Cargo Rack
Whether you’re going on a day trip or a longer excursion, you’ll want to avoid carrying all your gear on your back. You’ll get tired more quickly. Plus, it is harder to enjoy your surroundings when your shoulders are sore from carrying all that weight!
Instead, get a cargo rack. These racks can be fastened above your back tire. You can clip or lash gear to them.
Their position above the back wheel means the effect on your balance is minimal.
6. Bag Balm
Don’t be turned off by this product’s strange origin story. It ranks among the top essentials for what to bring on a cycling trip.
Bag Balm is a highly effective moisturizer and soothing balm. Cyclists use it to help take care of saddle sores, which are caused by chaffing.
If you feel any area of your skin growing tender or irritated, Bag Balm will prevent a saddle sore from developing. This is because it acts as a barrier between your skin and clothing, reducing the friction.
7. Cycling Gloves
Another great way to keep your body comfortable is with cycling gloves. They will help stop blisters from forming, ensuring you can always keep a comfortable grip on your handlebars.
Plus, if you are cycling in cool conditions, they will help keep your hands warm. They act as a windbreaker, protecting your hands from uncomfortable dryness.
8. Pedal Cages or Cleats
If you aren’t careful, your cycling habits can put serious strain on your muscles. This can mean some pretty uncomfortable times on the road.
One of the major culprits for muscle strain is your pedals. Getting pedal cages or pedals with cleats means that you don’t have to compensate to keep your foot on the pedal.
Without cages or cleats, you can only pedal by pushing downwards, and only one leg at a time is doing the work. Cages and cleats allow you to pull upwards and around with ease. This means you are relying on a broader range of muscles, reducing the possibility for strain.
9. Camping Gear For Accommodation on Your Cycling Trip
If you are going on a multi-day trip, you will likely need camping gear. Of course, you could plan a route that includes stopping in motels along the way. If you have camping gear, you have more flexibility about where you can stop for the night.
Look for lightweight, small tents. Inflatable sleeping mats and pillows are more compact than foam ones. Keeping your sleeping bag in a compression sack will reduce the bulk and make it more portable.
Bringing camping gear means you will be carrying more weight, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to camp or rent accommodation. If you do decide to rent, make sure you know how to find quality affordable accommodation ahead of time.
10. First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is another must on any bike day trip packing list. It is absolutely essential, in case of any sort of injury that could happen on the road.
Your first aid kit should include bandages, gauze, disinfecting wipes, and tweezers, plus any medications you need.
Make sure that you store it in a waterproof package!
It is handy to have some tools on hand in case you need to make any adjustments or repairs on the road. Useful tools include Allen and crescent wrenches. However, these can get pretty heavy, and take up a lot of space in your pack.
To save space and weight, get a multi-tool. Look for one that includes multiple gages of the wrench. They often have other handy features like scissors or tweezers.
With a multi-tool, you will be ready for any little mechanical problem that may arise on the road.
12. Cotton Scarf
A light cotton scarf is about more than just fashion when you’re planning what to bring on a cycling trip. It is an incredibly useful and versatile item to bring along.
You can use it to keep warm when it is cold, either wearing it around your neck or your head. In hot, sunny conditions, you can use it to keep the sun off.
You can even use it to cover your nose and mouth during dusty conditions. Cotton is a very breathable material, so it’s perfect for so many different uses.
Make sure to choose a scarf in a bright colour. This has the added benefit of making sure you are more visible on the road during your cycling trip.
13. Small Headlight and Reflectors
A headlight is another indispensable gadget on any long bike ride checklist. If you are going to be cycling at dusk or during the evening, you absolutely must have a headlight.
First, it will make sure that you are able to see the road in front of you. Second, it will make you more visible to others using the road. You should pair your headlight with reflectors, and perhaps even a taillight. These are essential for preventing accidents.
Plus, a good headlight will come in handy during foggy conditions, if you decide to cycle through them.
Now you know what to take on a cycling trip. These thirteen pieces of gear are absolutely essential, whether you are planning a bike day trip packing list, or looking to go for a longer time.
Cycling is a wonderful way to travel, and you’ll be able to really take in your surroundings. With this great gear, you’ll have everything you need to make your trip a success!
Not sure if a cycling trip is for you? Check out our guide to roadtripping in the United States, if driving is more your speed.