We are in the early stages of planning our first bike tour, so naturally we reached out to local ambassador and University of Arizona student, Ian Wilkey. If you follow Ian on Instagram, you can expect regular adventure envy i.e. sweeping desert views, coastal climbs, and a healthy dose of dirt. Ian is a competitive long distance rider and has his fair share of experiences to give us amateurs some valuable tips.
Let's get into it- Pack lists!
- Tent or Bivy
- Ground cloth if using bivy
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad (optional) A car wind shield sun cover can work well cut down.
- Jetboil ( optional ) I tend to not bring it unless its cold and i want to make coffee.
- 1-2 pairs of socks depending on type of tour. Racing or fast tour 1 pair. On a relaxed tour its nice to have a clean pair of socks to sleep in.
- Rain jacket ( If rain is expected)
- Down jacket if its expected to be cold. These pack away nicely and can be used as a pillow if you get too hot to wear it, also they allow you to use a lighter sleeping bag.
- Arm warmers, leg warmers, skull cap etc. If cold weather is expected.
- 2 pairs of riding clothes. Wear one set, the next day you wear the other. In the mean time you can hang your other set off one of your bags to dry while riding. ( If racing, one pair will likely work, just use plenty of chamois butter lol)
- A pair of clothes to go out for dinner or explore town for a afternoon ( If racing our on a fast tour, i stay in riding clothes)
- Taylor clothing to the weather, a summer ride through the mountains of Colorado can be tough because of the drastic weather swings you can experience at altitude.
- Travel toothbrush. You can cut the end of the handle off to save space in your bag. Leave about 1.5" to be able to have enough of a handle to actually use it though.
- Travel size toothpaste
- Lip balm and sun screen
- Extra batteries for things like gps, lights, or cameras.
- External battery charging packs ( If you will be camping)
- Water bladder or bottles ( possibly both, depending on water availability)
- Water filter or water tablets if drinking water is to be gotten from streams or ponds.
- Basic First aid kit
- Hand sanitizer, Baby Wipes, Chamois cream.
- Tail light and headlamp if riding after dark
- Spot tracker ( If riding in remote location or alone)
- Repair kit ( Tube patches, set of brake pads, quick link, zip ties, short amount of tape, hand pump, co2 cartridge, tube, tire levers, multi tool)
"So this may seem like a lot and it is. If your going to be riding close to towns some of this stuff you may be able to go without carrying as long as you know you could get it in a relatively timely manner if needed. "
Keep it fun:
- Obviously go as light as you're comfortable with gear wise. A lot of stuff is not a necessity but a mental want.
- If at all possible skip using a Camelback water bladder backpack. if it is necessary, keep it as light as possible. Your butt will thank you later.
- Keeping that in mind, don't carry more water then needed, its heavy. If you know water is available every 20 miles don't fill up your bladders and bottles with 200 Oz at the beginning of the day.
- Keep food handy in easy to reach bags, stopping for food gets old really quick.
- Sugary gas station foods can be great while enduring a hard ride, but your stomach will do much better with real solid food. Nuts, cheese, jerky, things of that sort often sit well in the pack and with your stomach.
- Distribute weight towards the center of the bike. Clothes fit best in the seat bag, water and other heavy items in a frame bag, food in accessory bags, and a tent if necessary works well in a handlebar bag.
- Slow down and enjoy it! Keeping a soft plan works best when bike touring. Don't force yourself to make it to a certain point on this day unless absolutely necessary. you'll enjoy the adventure much more if you're not rushing through the ride at race pace.
- Pack a flask of your desired adult beverage and a deck of cards. Sitting in a tent or by the camp fire can be made much more enjoyable.