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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What to Bring on a Long Distance Bike Trip | Bicycle Gear Essentials

        I’m planning an 1800 mile bike trip down the Pacific Coast for this summer, and I have absolutely no long distance biking experience. When I’m trying to do things I’ve never done before, I like to talk to as many people as possible who have knowledge on the subject and read blogs by people who have done similar trips. I’ve had a biker tell me that she used Tidy Cat buckets for her panniers to save money, while other bikers have told me that I need to get an expensive touring bike.

        What to bring on a long distance bike trip largely depends on your budget and your priorities. My budget is minimal and my priority is to bring the least amount of gear possible to save weight.

        Before you take your bike off of your bike rack, plan out what you’re going to bring on your long distance bike trip. Everyone has their own style, but this is what I’m bringing on my bike trip:
A Bicycle. The bike I’m taking is one that I got for free and repaired myself at the local bike depot. If I had the money to, I would buy a really fancy bike, but I don’t have the money to do so. I would rather go on the trip with a mediocre bike than not go at all. Do some research and learn how to do basic maintenance to your bike before you leave. You should know how to change the tire, repair a tube, and adjust the brakes.

Tools and Repair Kits.
  • A mini bike pump, to inflate my tubes.
  • A patch repair kit, with sandpaper, rubber cement, patches, and tire levers.
  • A spare tube, for when the tube is beyond being repaired by a patch.
  • Wrenches that are the appropriate sizes to tighten everything on my bike that could potentially come loose.

Bike Accessories.
  • Helmet.
  • Bike lights, for front and back.
  • Bike rack, to hang panniers off of.
  • Panniers, to store gear and other necessities. These will hang off of the bike rack.
  • A bottle cage, so my water is easily accessible.

Camping Gear.
  • Light weight tent. A backpacking style tent is a good option.
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad.
  • Head lamp, for night time. If you’re trying to save money, you could just use your bike light.
  • Camp stove and cooking pot, so I can make meals in the evenings and heat up coffee in the morning

[Reflective clothing is a plus.]

Clothing. Try to get all synthetic or wool clothing. It will dry the quickest if it gets wet.
  • Dry bag, to store clothes in.
  • Short sleeved and long sleeved shirt.
  • Shorts and pants, so you're ready for changing weather conditions
  • Rain jacket.
  • Several pairs of socks.
  • Shoes to wear while biking.
  • Sandals or flip flops to wear while not biking.
  • Depending on the time of year, bring an extra jacket and some long johns or yoga pants, for extra warmth.

Maps or guide books. It’s important to be knowledgeable about the bike route and be able to scout out campsites.

Hygiene items. I’ll also bring a small dry bag full of various things, like my toothbrush, pain killers, a first aid kit, soap, and other necessities.

Personal items. I can’t go on an outdoor adventure without my journal and camera.
Bringing only the essentials will save weight, thus making it easier to bike. I don’t like to over pack, but I’ll also never be too far from civilization, so I can easily get to a bike shop if I need something repaired that is beyond my skills.