Going on a cycling expedition is not for the faint of heart. Whether you are traveling through hundreds of miles of endless roads or heading off into the country for an off-road trip, it can be a grueling experience.
Make no mistake about it, there will be tough times ahead. But those times can be softened considerably with the equipment you bring with you. We’ve listed some ideas for you below, and we think they will help anyone going on a cycling trip for the very first time.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the things you will need for your very first cycling adventure.
If you don’t have a good reason for going on a cycling expedition, there’s more chance that you won’t finish it. You have to want to do it. If it’s something you have always dreamed of, then great. Your drive should push you through to the end, no matter what hardships you may encounter.
However, if you think you will need more inspiration, then why not cycle for a cause? Nothing beats the fear of failure more than the thought of letting down people in a worse situation than you. You will smash through those pain barriers easily knowing you are doing it for a good cause.
A Good Bike
When you are going on a new tour, you have to make sure your bike is going to be up to the challenge. The flash bit of kit you ride around town might look fantastic, but will it hold up to the struggles of 12-hour rides? Think about the pummeling your tires will receive, or the amount of bumps your suspension will have to take. All the pressure you will feel, you can guarantee your bike will be under a lot more.
You should get in touch with an expert in a store such as Griffen. Ask about the best bike to get or, if budget is a problem, how to improve your current cycle. Try to avoid scrimping as much as you can. There is nothing worse than having to pull out of a long trip due to equipment failure.
Before we start on the cycling expedition toolkit, let us say one thing. If you don’t know how to repair a bike, not many tools are going to help you fix it. If you have the time, spend the buildup to the race getting to know how your cycle works and how you can fix it. If you don’t have the time, then make sure you have someone on your team that knows what they are doing.
In terms of equipment, there are a few essentials that anyone can make use of. A spare inner tube and puncture repair kit will save you on more than one occasion. Bring a multi-tool to save on space, and also think about a spoke repair kit. If you are used to city cycling, you may not have experienced a broken spoke, but it is almost guaranteed that at least one will go on a long-haul cycling trip.
You will also need something to carry your gear. Do not take a backpack. Find some waterproof panniers to store all your stuff in, and keep everything safe and dry. It is really important to balance the weight on each side. Finally, we’ll assume you already have a good tyre pump.
On top of your main tools, there will be other things that you can bring to make things go more smoothly. A bag of cable ties will help you when you are repairing anything on a bike, and a little bag of nuts and bolts could also come in handy. You will want to take a camera, a map, and extra seat covers – preferably padded.
Please, don’t forget about sunblock. Look into a brand that sells a sunblock made for sports to cut down on the effect of sweating. You will also need some lube to ease the pain of chafing, which although sounds funny to talk about, is far from it if you experience it.
Radios and intercoms are also a good idea. There will be times when some members of the group want to kick on, and gas can develop in your convoy. If you are in the middle of nowhere and at the back of the line, no-one will know if you have had an accident if you don’t let them know.
Clothing & Food
Get some good gear to wear when you are traveling on a bike. Although modern cycles are far more comfortable than they used to be, you still need as much protection as possible. Make sure you have well-padded shorts – you will regret it if you don’t!
A couple of different tops, pairs of socks and a pair of cycling shoes will also be essential. You may run into different weather conditions, so bring rainproofs, too. Cycling gloves are advised, and you will also need a swimming costume to change into when you fancy jumping into a river or a lake. And after a day’s hot riding, you will definitely want to!
In terms of food, we would advise traveling as light as possible. Energy bars can keep you going as long as you have three hearty meals a day. The most essential part is water. You have to take water on board often, or you will run the risk of dehydration. If it is particularly hot, this could lead to serious problems.
Checking into your social media accounts every now and again, will help you get support from your loved ones. You could also come and join us on Twitter for #bikeschool. It’s a weekly session where lots of us get together and discuss everything to do with bikes, and a whole lot more. If you are looking for support – and maybe the odd prank – you can’t find a better place.
Equipment and kit are a personal thing, but it takes experience to know what you like and need to bring.
Hopefully, this guide will cover you for the basics, and help make your first trip a memorable one.