What to Bring on Your Cycling Holiday

 Gary Corbett

THE time has finally come for you to start thinking about your preparation for your long-awaited organised cycling holiday, but what do you take?

First and foremost, don’t fall for the “I will pack the night before I leave” trap. Many, many people have done just that before leaving on their cycling holiday – including The Cycle Tourist - and just about every one of them has gone on to lament their poor preparation.

To put it bluntly, pack the right clothes and equipment and chances are you will have a trouble free cycling holiday. Conversely, fail to take the right clothes and equipment - or worse still leave something important at home - and there is every chance you will curse yourself for your poor preparation.

The truth of the matter is that well organised cycle tourists plan what they will take with them weeks before they leave home.

Items such as helmets, cycle gloves, rainproof and breathable wet weather jackets, comfortable shoes that you can wear both on and off the bicycle and padded cycling knickers are just some of the basic items that are must haves on a cycle tour.

It is therefore imperative that you purchase these items and wear/break them in well before you leave on your trip.

Fail to take them at all and you will suffer the consequences. Fail to wear items such as cycle knickers and comfortable shoes or fail to take adequate wet weather gear and you will also suffer the consequences.
So therefore doesn’t it make sense to take the effort to prepare well in advance to ensure you are comfortable, dry and happy throughout your much anticipated cycling holiday?

The following is a comprehensive list of what to bring on guided and self-guided cycling tours. Some of the items may not be totally necessary for everyone, but in the main if you follow the list you can’t go too far wrong.
There is one important fact to take note of here. While the list may seem long, you will not have to carry the vast majority of the items on your bicycle on a daily basis - that is one of the bonuses of organised cycle touring.

The task of transporting your luggage between nightly tour stops falls to your cycle tour operator who will take care of everything.

So get ready as soon as possible and have a fantastic time on your much anticipated cycling holiday.

  • Helmet
  • Water bottle 
  • Waist pack or small day pack
  • 2 pairs of padded cycling knickers  
  • 2 riding jerseys (quick drying synthetic material)
  • 2 t-shirts and/or casual shirts (quick-dry)
  • Bathing suit 
  • 3 pairs of bike socks (quick-dry)
  • 1-2 pairs of dress or casual socks
  • Windbreaker or cool-weather jacket (rainproof and breathable) 
  • Light rain jacket or poncho
  • Bike shoes (not clip-in) or shoes with non-flexing sole (multi-purpose hiking/biking or even tennis shoes are ideal)
  • Pair of riding gloves
  • 2-3 sets of underwear (quick-dry)
  • Sweater or fleecy jacket
  • Pants or light jeans (quick-dry, wrinkle resistant)
  • Belt
  • Sweat band or bandanna (great for on hot days)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Depending on the climate you are cycling in long legged cycling knickers and arm and leg-warmers
  • Cool-weather bike gloves
  • Toiletry kit (with hanging hook, if possible) 
  • Tooth brush and tooth paste
  • Razor and hair brush
  • Sun block
  • Vaseline or other salve for chafing
  • Medications (in original bottles with your name on them)
  • Pain reliever of choice
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant (your travelling companions will thank you)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Passport, wallet and ID 
  • Health insurance card
  • Travel insurance card
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Clothes line (elastic, multi-ply)
  • Small towel (quick-dry)
  • Alarm clock
  • Camera
  • Plastic bags (for dirty laundry, wet clothes and makeshift ponchos)
  • Electronic chargers (for camera, MP3 player, e-reader, mobile phone)
  • Adaptors or convertors
First aid kit
(Optional, but a good idea particularly in tropical or developing countries)
  • Insect repellent
  • Antiseptic cream or antibiotic ointment
  • Sun cream
  • Throat lozenges or hard sweets
  • Painkillers
  • Anti-diarrhoea medicine
  • Band-aids and 'Second Skin' for blisters
  • Broad-spectrum antibiotics suitable for a variety of infections
  • Re-hydration salts
  • Dextrose glucose tablets
  • Multi-vitamins