Advice,  Packing

How to pack for a cycling holiday

You’ve been counting down the days. Your amazing cycling holiday is almost here and that can only mean one thing – the dreaded packing.  Any activity holiday requires a little more thought when it comes to what goes into your suitcase. So here’s my take on the essentials for a solo cycling adventure, like my wild adventure cycling in Quebec, or my 5-day cycling holiday along the Canal du Midi in France.

The top 10 essentials

  1. Padded shorts
  2. Lightweight wicking t-shirts
  3. Gel seat
  4. Helmet
  5. Gloves
  6. Cycling shoes
  7. Light backpack
  8. First aid kit
  9. Energy bars, snacks and gels
  10. Bike repair kit

First things first – don’t get lost!

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Gloves can stop your hands getting sore on long days on the road and will protect them from hours of exposure to the sun. Make sure you slather on plenty of suncream, even if the forecast looks dull and cloudy.

Stay hydrated
Water is essential to quench your thirst and keep you hydrated. You could pack for one or two water bottles, or opt for a hydration bladder with a drinking tube to slip inside your backpack. At jus £10.00, this Halfords 2-litre bladder is perfect.

Fuel your fun
Energy-boosting snacks are a quick and easy way to get a burst of energy between meals, or if you start to flag a little. Look for gels with key electrolytes to replace those you lose while sweating. Mini energy bars are nutritious high-carbohydrate snacks that are easy to slip into your backpack to delay the onset of fatigue. Try these Go Energy Mini Bars for size.

All weather gear
Check the local weather forecast to see what you can expect during your holiday. But it’s always worth packing waterproof clothing, sun cream and sunglasses. Depending on the time of year, you might want to pack some hi-vis gear to help you stand out to other road user when the light starts to fade. A body warmer or light fleece layer is a must for winter adventures.

For summer rides, we love My Little Sudocrem – a tiny, 22g take-it-anywhere pot of skin-soothing cream that protects against irritants and also doubles up as an after sun treatment.

Safety first
A basic first aid kit with antiseptic wipes, plasters, sterile dressings, bandages and safety pins is essential. Don’t forget insect bite cream, anti-histamines, aspirin/paracetamol/ibuprofen tablets, and a sachet or two of cold and flu remedy.

Bike repair kit
If you hire a bike as part of your cycling holiday, it will often come equipped with the tools you need to repair a puncture, replace an inner tube, or fix a slipped chain. If not, you’ll need to pack those yourself. Don’t forget to take a bike lock/chain too.

So how much room is all that going to take up?
In my experience, about half to two-thirds of your suitcase. So by the time you’ve added in your toiletries, there won’t be much room left for shoes and clothes to wear in the evening. Take a mix and match capsule wardrobe that will be smart enough to wear in a restaurant, but comfortable enough for sightseeing. At the end of the day, you’re not going for the nightlife; it’s the ride that matters.

Happy cycling!

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