Whether you’re a beginning rider or an experienced distance cyclist, bicycle touring is one of the best adventure experiences you can have. And like every adventure, you’ll want to be prepared. There are many checklists out there listing what you should pack—from food to clothing to equipment—and you’ll need different gear depending on the location, type of trip, and how long you’re going to be in the saddle. However, there are a few essentials that you will need to be sure to bring on every bike trip, no matter the distance or location. This checklist highlights 7 essential items to bring when planning your next bike tour, and why they’re important. Bon voyage!

1. Water bottle or hydration pack

It is important you stay hydrated during your bike tour. Cycling, even when coasting on a downhill or flat straightaway, demands physical energy and can cause you to lose a lot of sweat, even on cool days. Dehydration, especially over an extended period of time, can result in many dangerous symptoms that can be especially concerning when cycling, from headaches to dizziness to fatigue. 

The best way to avoid and treat dehydration is to consistently nourish the body with plenty of fluids, and not just water—an electrolyte drink can help replace lost sugar and salt to restore your energy. 

2. A high-quality bike helmet

This vital piece of safety gear can prevent serious injury if you are ever involved in a cycling accident. A helmet is especially important if you plan to do any mountain biking or road cycling through busy traffic areas. 

One thing that some people fail to consider is choosing a helmet that is comfortable. Consider that, depending on the length of your tour, you will be wearing your helmet for hours every day, for several days in a row. Be sure to have a knowledgeable professional help you fit your helmet: it must come far down enough on your head to offer full protection. You also will want it to sit firmly and comfortably on your head for long periods of time, without giving you any headaches or discomfort.

Rest assured, if you’re traveling with a reputable bike tour company, a helmet will be provided, but it’s always recommended to bring your own favorite if you have one!

Choose a helmet that sits firmly and comfortably on your head for long periods of time, without giving you any headaches or discomfort.

3. Sun protection

With long days outdoors, even if the forecast is cloudy, you will be exposed to almost constant sunlight and UV rays. Every bike trip, no matter the destination or the weather, should include head-to-toe sun protection to prevent sunburns and sun damage to your skin. This means packing polarized sunglasses with UV protection and using sweat-resistant, weather-proof sunscreen on any exposed areas.

If the thought of reapplying sunscreen throughout the day cramps your style, then consider covering your upper body, arms, and legs. Numerous sportswear/outdoor brands offer special sun-protective clothing, which is lightweight, breathable, and given a Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating based on its ability to provide UV protection in the way that sunscreen does.

4. A multi-tool bike kit

A multitool with pliers, screwdrivers and other handy gadgets can be a life-saver for fixing mechanical problems that may pop up on your bicycle. It’s also good to have a spare tube, tire levers, and a patch kit just in case something goes awry while out on the road. This gear is especially important if you are riding solo in a remote area, and if you are doing a group tour, you can split the equipment up between the members of your group. 

Rest assured, if you’re traveling with a reputable bike tour company like your guides will be ready to provide on-the-ground assistance if any technical problems arise!

5. Emergency contact info

Always bring emergency contact info with you on every bike tour. If something goes wrong, people need to know who to contact in the case of an emergency. Keep emergency contacts on your phone, or even better, a written card that is easily read and kept with other identification documents, like your driver’s license, passport, credit/debit cards, and travel insurance card. 

Thankfully, if you are traveling with a professional bike tour company, they will request this information to keep on file before your departure.

6. A positive attitude and curious mind

It’s essential to bring an open mindset to your bicycle road trip. For the curious-minded, the immediacy of cycling through an environment will bring increased chances for memorable encounters with local culture and nature. 

Your grand cycling adventure may also include the unexpected—from meeting new friends to surprising weather changes—so keep a positive attitude throughout and remember you’re there to have fun and engage fully with life. Get ready to observe, learn, and experience joy—and consider any challenges along the way as opportunities for growth. 

7. Your Perfect Route

If you’re hitting the road solo, it’s important to make sure you know where you’re going, including key information about the local geography and terrain. To avoid problems when you adventure beyond cell tower coverage, make sure to download your route on your phone or GPS device for easy access, or—if you’re “old-school”—bring along a paper map and guidebook. 

Better yet? Why not take the stress out of travel and consider letting a professional tour company handle all of the details for your next cycling adventure!

Your Dream Bicycle Tour Awaits

With so much to pack and consider when coordinating a bike tour, we’d love to handle the planning and preparation for you! 

On all of our bicycle tours we provide the basics for your trip: 

  • High-quality rental bikes (road, hybrid or eBike),
  • water bottles
  • Helmets
  • UPF-rated safety jerseys
  • Bike maintenance essentials (multi-tool, spare tube, pump, and a patch kit)
  • Luggage transfers
  • GPS guidance
  • A local concierge (either nearby – or right next to you!)  for guidance and support..

Our self-guided cycling trips are highly personalized, allowing guests to choose when, how, and with whom they ride. Privacy, freedom and flexibility are at the heart of our self-guided bike tours in France, Italy and the USA. It’s a vacation on YOUR terms

Want to upgrade to the complete all-inclusive experience? Each of OBT’s Guided Bike Tours includes all of the perks of a self-guided tour, PLUS electrolyte drinks and sunscreen, and of course, a seasoned and professional guide to support you around the clock.

Guided routes include the Tour de France Tour, the Normandy Bike Tour, and a range of other private custom tours in awe-inspiring destinations like Tuscany, Burgundy, and even Asheville.

Allow us to curate a personalized and private self-guided or fully-guided bike tour just for you! If you’re ready to breathe easy while exploring new places and meeting new people from around the world, then contact us today to start planning your custom dream bicycle tour.

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