Following on from my post yesterday about cycling abroad, some of the questions I received were around what sort of kit you should take when travelling to cycle abroad.
It is a good question and again I know I harp on about personal experience but it really can be invaluable and so I have put together a checklist that may be of help to people but would caveat that I am a road cyclist and so depending on the type of cycling you are doing ie if off road then this would need to be adapted accordingly:
- Bike – if you are taking your own then yes this is pretty key. If not then research local bike hire companies and arrange in advance – I have been to training camp in Lanzarote a couple of times now when it is busy and people assume there will be bikes available but they are all booked up.
- Bike shoes – I ride with cleats and if you do too then shoes are essential. Again if you are hiring a bike I would always take my own pedals and shoes. If you wear trainers then pack those!
- Saddle – if you are taking your own bike then this is a given and should be packed with your bike when transporting but if you are hiring this is another thing you can take and put on a hire bike. Saddles are personal and for comfort, especially if you are doing long rides, taking your own can make a huge difference.
- Saddle bag – in my saddle bag I would always carry two spare inner tubes, two gas canisters, gas canister attachment, tyre leavers, multi-tool, disposable gloves and spare sachet of chamois cream. That sounds like a lot but it isn’t and packs down in a relatively compact saddle bag that I have from Lezyne.
- Kit – plan your kit for your days riding. I don’t like to wear bib shorts more than once so take as many sets as days I am cycling – alternatively take travel wash and re-use. In addition to bib shorts, jerseys, gloves and socks, I also pack a gillet, arm warmers, base layer, rain jacket and potentially a buff (these things are so versatile). I have learned that a sunny climate doesn’t always mean it will be dry or warm especially if climbing and being cold at the start can be hard to then warm up and make a long uncomfortable ride so plan accordingly and the additional kit I mention is easy to pack away in a jersey pocket if not needed.
- Helmet – I never ride without one. If I was hiring a bike I would also opt to take my own helmet.
- Chamois cream – not something used by everyone but I do use this and wouldn’t go on a cycling trip without it!
- P20 – I am super pale and burn so easily so my sun cream is often the centre of jokes as I tend to go for a factor that you would put on a baby. Being out on the bike on long rides in the sun you do of course get sweaty and so I tend to use P20 so I apply before I leave and I am sorted for the day. I don’t really want to be carrying more than what I need including sun cream lotion!
- Watter bottles – again judge the climate you are in and the distance you are riding and take what you need. I tend to take two bottles with me so I know I will hydrate properly and can refill on route if necessary.
- Sunglasses – I need these when cycling for sure especially in the sun.
- Nutrition – I always take mine and whilst I am sure you can buy on arrival I like to use the nutrition I train with at home. The one slight difference may be certain bars that might melt in the sun compared to in the UK but otherwise I stick to what I know. I also put my gels in the bottles in the bike box so if there is an explosion it is contained in the bottle and doesn’t go over the bike or any clothing. I always use electrolytes but if I was doing a short ride at home I may just use water though when abroad in the heat I always use electrolytes – just because a ride is shorter doesn’t mean it won’t be super hot or a much higher elevation so important to replace the salts.
- Wahoo Bolt – or whatever bike computer you use, with the mount and any chargers.
- ID bracelet – I have a band from One Life ID, which I use at home but also make sure I take with me when travelling too – can never be too careful! This has all my in case of emergency details on it.
- Track pump – this is another thing we pack in our bike box. If you are going somewhere like a training camp they will have these there but we tend to pack ours as a matter of course.
- Chargers – I have Di2 electric gearing on my bike and my husband as SRAM Red so whilst we charge everything before a trip we often pack the chargers just in case.
- Tools – this is personal but my husband always packs certain tools not just for rebuilding and packing the bikes but as a just in case of mechanicals etc. Now this is weight dependent as it can get heavy quickly and once again if on a training camp there should be facilities for this to be used if needed (though not intentionally there for bike builds necessarily) but we pack as a back up.
- Phone case – I ride with a phone wallet at home but make sure I have this in my kit list too so I have my phone with me whilst cycling and it is protected from the rain etc in my jersey pocket.
I have only included cycling kit in the above list and left off anything obvious like passports etc and anything you may pack for days off the bike.
I hope that helps! Happy cycling!