Nothing beats the joy and freedom of riding a bike on long, languid summer days. Packing for a successful bike trip, however, requires advance planning. All two-wheeled adventures require safety essentials like hydration, a tool kit, goggles, gloves, and a helmet, as well as comfortable cycling clothes and other items that may be hard to find to your destination.
If you’re thinking of renting a bike, book one in advance – continuing Covid-era supply chain issues have made it increasingly impossible for manufacturers to keep up with demand. For a comfortable fit and safe ride, contact the store about the type of riding you plan to do and your skill level. Most reputable companies will ask you to send in body measurements: height, weight, inseam, arm span, and something called the “monkey index”, a comparison of your arm span with your height, which helps calculate how stretched you will feel. on a rental bike.
The better you plan and prepare for your trip, the more you can relax and enjoy the ride. Here is a list to help you plan each specific adventure with suggestions on suitable equipment manufacturers.
Cycling shell: Day rides almost always involve changing weather conditions. Bring a lightweight windproof and waterproof jacket. 7Mesh’s co-pilot is tough to beat.
Packs: Whether you prefer to store snacks and essentials on the handlebars, behind the saddle, or stowed on the top tube in front of the stem, Cedaro has a pack ready to go to fit your size and style bike.
Lighting: Bontrager’s Ion Pro RT rechargeable front bike light has five modes for added safety day or night.
Helmet: Almost all helmets sold today offer MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) or similar technology that helps reduce the rotational movement of the head during a crash, which helps protect the brain . Lazer helmets offer MIPS protection and have a five-star rating from Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings.
Multi-day long-distance trek
Padded Bib Shorts: Spandex is hard to beat when you’re spending long days in the saddle because it’s streamlined, compressive and comfortable. Bibs are even better because they fit perfectly over a jersey and relieve pressure from the waist. Many women’s bibs now feature drop-down backs so riders can easily relieve themselves mid-ride. Most important: the thickness and shape of the chamois. Pearl Izumi has several options.
Cycling jersey: With a full-zip front and two or three generous back pockets large enough to store cell phones, bananas, energy bars or extra layers, a good cycling jersey helps regulate body temperature and keep important objects nearby. Rapha make silky long and short sleeve versions in high moisture wicking fabrics.
Panniers: Many multi-day bike trips have a sag rack, i.e. a van that follows you with your luggage. But if you’re traveling independently, you’ll need those packs that attach to racks on the rear, front, or both wheels. German company Ortlieb makes a variety of styles of waterproof panniers depending on the length of the trip and the type of bike you ride.
Anti-chafing cream: Long days in the saddle can lead to sores. The go-to skin lubricant to help prevent chafing is Chamois Butt’r; 91% allergen-free product washes body and shorts with soap and water.
Tool Kit: Prepared ride with multi-tool, spare inner tube, tire levers, extra chain lube and master link. Build your own toolkit at REI.
Night trip by e-bike
Sunglasses: Sun and wind combined with the speed of an e-bike make sunglasses more essential than ever. Roka offers lightweight styles ranging from wraparounds to wayfarers that have non-slip nose pads, provide high-quality optics with SPF protection, and are sweat, chemical, and fingerprint resistant.
Panniers: Store your beach gear in Specialized’s Tailwind pannier. The water-resistant 17L pack, compatible with standard racks, is so simple it claims to reduce battery consumption by 6%.
Footwear: Flip flops aren’t the best choice when pedaling in a motorized vehicle. Many companies like Shimano make e-bike-approved shoes that have a stiffer midsole that acts as leverage while pedaling, among other features to make a long day on an e-bike safer and more relaxing.
Mirror: If your e-bike adventure involves a road with cars, invest in a clip-on mirror like this one from Rad Power Bikes that fits any handlebar with an outside diameter between 21 and 26mm.
GPS Bike Computer: Download local Trailforks maps, upload your ride to Strava, monitor your heart rate, and let loved ones track your ride with the smart, small, and intuitive Wahoo Elemnt Bolt.
Hydration: It’s almost impossible to drink too much water on a long, hot summer day in the saddle. Osprey makes fanny packs and backpacks designed to maximize the ease and effectiveness of on-the-fly hydration.
Gloves: It is essential to keep your hands free from sweat, bar friction and dirt, sticks and stones in the event of a fall. Giro offers a full range of MTB protective gloves for men and women.
Helmet: Whether used to block glare from the sun, protect the face from incoming detritus, or just because they look cool, most mountain bike-specific helmets have “visors” or adjustable visors . The Kortal Race MIPS helmet from the Swedish brand POC has been tested at higher impact speeds than standard bicycle use.
Stephanie Pearson is the editor of Outside magazine and a frequent reviewer of bikes and cycling accessories for Wired magazine.