Five Must-Haves for Bike Touring
By Alastair Wain
When heading out for a long ride or multi-day tour, here is a list of five must-haves to maximize your enjoyment in the saddle.
1) Carry a tool kit and know how to use it. Carrying a compact tool kit on your bike will give you independence on the road or trail. Carry at least one spare inner tube, tire levers, a pump and a multi-tool. A mini bottle of chain lube and a small rag will keep any annoying squeaks at bay. If you ride with cleats, carry a spare cleat bolt. If bicycle mechanics are new to you, consider carrying a small set of instructions or download how-to videos onto your smartphone.
2) Carrying a credit card and cash is always handy and can help solve even the most unexpected problems. Keep them in your jersey pocket and ride with peace of mind.
3) A cell phone can be really useful in the case of a mechanical problem or emergency. Another useful tip is to know the bicycle shops in your area and store their numbers in your phone—they can provide a wealth of local knowledge and assist in any problem solving. Storing directions and maps on your phone can make finding your hotel or destination an easier task when you are tired at the end of your day or find yourself without Wi-Fi. Switch your phone off to save battery life or use the airplane mode so you and your riding partners can focus on the ride.
4) If you are riding in cool weather, carry a light windbreaker shell and a pair of thin liner gloves. Store them in your jersey pocket once you warm up.
5) Avoid the dreaded bonk! Carry calories and electrolytes with you on your rides. A couple of sport gels and a sachet of electrolytes to add to your water bottle will keep you spinning the cranks when your energy dips. Cyclists often find themselves hungry in between food stops, so be prepared!