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Cycletourer logoAs several people have asked us we thought it would be great to have some guest bloggers contributing to our site. If you would like to be a guest blogger on this spot and write an article that is relevant to cycletouring then please get in touch. As this is a non commercial site we are looking for articles from genuine touring cyclists, therefore no commercial articles please.

5 Essential Items to Take with You on Your First Cycling Tour

5 Essential items

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By Amanda Wilks

Distilling the excitement that comes with a first cycling tour is as intoxicating as it is overwhelming at times given just how much can go into a long trip. Any long stretch of time spent on the road calls for preparation and planning to temper all of that excitement, but that planning is absolutely vital to enjoying your trip to its fullest. Getting out on the trail and realizing you've left behind vital camping gear, for instance, can shut you down before finishing the first day of a long tour and that just won't do. 

Assuming you've already had time to get acquainted with your bike, this handy guide will instead look at what you should pack to bring along on any trip. You should already assume that you'll be bringing your bike and essential safety gear, but the other components are just as important! Make sure you know how best to pack your gear and what to leave at home before you set off, then run through your checklist to make sure you've prepared everything you need. 

1. Cycling Gadgets

Chances are you were already planning to bring your phone on your trip. In a way, that's half of your packing done considering the multi-functional perks a phone carries but relying solely on one device is a recipe for disaster should you misplace or damage it during the trip. Redundancy may feel unnecessary, yet you'll thank yourself later when you aren't left without a GPS system in an unfamiliar stretch of the world. 

Exactly what you need will depend on the conditions and locations you'll be riding in. For instance, if you’ll be riding mountain trails it’s always a good idea to bring the best mountain bike computer you can find with GPS capability. This will help you stay on track at all times and it will keep you safe as well.
Furthermore, it's always wise to bring bike-mounted lights, a backup phone and some method of charging your gadgets on the go, such as a power bank or even a gyroscopic USB charger that produces power as you ride. If your tour will take you through urban areas, having extra lights, reflectors and an electronic turn signal device to up your visibility without bogging you down, too. 

2. A Camping Kit

While less a singular item and more a close collection, camping kits make your overnight stays less strenuous and more restful, which is astoundingly important when relying on your body to get you where you need to go instead of motor vehicles. 

At the very least, you'll want a ground tarp, a sleeping bag and a tent kit appropriately rated for the weather and temperature you expect to encounter. From there, rounding out your supplies with inflatable mattresses and patching kits will remove minor stresses and pains. If you're not a fan of tents, there are tented hammocks available for forested areas that can save you from having to pack inflatable mattresses and assorted accoutrements entirely. 

3. A Dependable Campstove

You can survive out on the trail with nothing but MREs for days at a time and you probably won't have an unenjoyable experience but being able to prepare hot beverages and heated tins of food that don't come pre-packaged with flameless ration heaters can significantly boost your enjoyment of meal times.
From there, your cooking kit might include water purification tablets, salt and other seasonings, cutlery, spare knives and soap for washing up after a meal. If you plan to do serious cooking, invest in a cooking mug or small pots as well as airtight containers to keep leftovers in. As always, don't forget to bring water and several bottles to keep it in. 

4. Spare Tire Tubes

If you wouldn't ride a local trail without a spare tube handy you shouldn't ride a multi-day tour without one, simple as that. Preparing for a flat ahead of time won't leave you stranded and irritable when your riding vacation is cut short by a lack of foresight. Simply packing tubes isn't enough, though, so you'll surely want to put together a full maintenance kit for carrying with you as you go. 

Skip on the floor pump, but don't forget to bring wrenches, a hand pump, tire patches, chain grease, a tire lever and any other gadgets that might help you replace a broken part or ensures you carry out routine maintenance when in unfamiliar territory. 

5. A Good Jacket

Packing for a bike tour is somewhat like packing for a tropical vacation: It takes a bit of research and requires you to make guesswork about what weather you might run into.
You might be tempted to over-pack clothing and that's not a terrible downside as long as you can fit it all into your kit, but you're going to want to ensure you're prepared for varying temperatures and moisture levels before setting off.
Breathable lightweight clothing is great for when temperatures are warm, and the days are long, but if you wind up going through too many chilly evenings without appropriate weather wear you might not feel very spry come the next morning. 

Preparing for a cycling tour is a fairly straightforward endeavour that requires a modicum of forethought and foresight on your part. Eliminate guesswork by packing essentials to keeping yourself warm, fed and well-rested to get the most out of your first tour. Enjoying the first one is a big step towards enjoying more rides in the future, after all.

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Date Last Modified: 14/01/24