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What to Take on a long bike ride

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A question that confronts all of us before a multi day ride is, “What do I need to pack??”

That question naturally  depends on where you will be riding, and for how long you will be on the road. I thought I would put together a list of gear I take for a  7 day ride, in 70 to 90 degree temperatures. This list is what I can carry in two medium duffel bags, which is the baggage limit most ride organizers use. This gear list, along with my sleeping bag, is all I take with me and I still feel like I have over packed. I hope this list gives you some ideas so  your first big ride can be an enjoyable one. 

The Bike Gear

  • 2 Inner tubes (be sure they fit your tire and wheel. Every ride someone has a flat and realizes they brought the wrong tube after we are on the road)
  • A bottle of chair lube  (I use White Lightning)
  • Extra tools  (Pair of pliers and extra screw drivers)
  • Your Bike Helmet
  • Your Bike Shoes
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain gear
  • All the stuff from the list in the Tips for your bullet pack on the bike

Do you need to take a spare tire?

This is up to you. I never take one because I replace my tires just before the big ride. I have seen riders bring a folding tire which is fine if it fits their rim. When I say fits, I mean they have actually tried it on their bike rims before the ride. I have seen many riders go this route and have a tire casualty on the road and then find their folding tire does not fit properly. A regular tire is hard to carry in your bag and can be problematic.  Most of the events I have been on the organizers have  mechanics along to help out and sell bike stuff as needed. They usually  have a good selection of tires to choose from. Tubes are  usually the items they run out of.

Sleeping Equipment

  • Your favorite sleeping bag
  • A ground pad of some kind (I use a Thermo Rest pad. Well worth the money)
  • Your tent (If sleeping outside)
  • Your Favorite Pillow (I use a roll up camping pillow to save space)
  • A stuffed toy to cuddle up with at night (Mine is a turtle….. Skip this if you have someone special with you 🙂

Cloths and other Gear

  • A pair of sneakers
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of shorts (Comfortable  fit)
  • 4 pairs of underwear
  • 4 tee shirts  (Tee Shirts from past rides of coarse)
  • A belt
  • A pair of sweats (Tops and bottoms for sleeping in and lounging)
  • 1 nice polo shirt for a night out
  • 1 Towel  ( I use a fast drying camp towel, Large)
  • 4 riding jerseys
  • 2 pairs of riding shorts
  • A extra sweat band for your head
  • 8 cloths pins  (for hanging stuff up to dry after being washed out)
  • A laundry bag
  • 4 or 5 zip lock baggies (Just for stuff)

I do laundry at about the 4 day mark so that is all I take in the way of cloths.

Important: You notice I only include two pairs of riding shorts. These MUST be rinsed out daily if you plan on wearing them again. I usually wear my shorts and jersey into the shower (yes and so does everyone else :>) and rinse them out after I take them off. The liner in the bottom of the shorts absorbs moister to keep you cool and this makes a breeding ground for bacteria that WILL cause saddle sores. So this is something that needs to be done thoroughly, and regularly.)

Personal Items

These items are  really up to your needs and comfort levels. You will need your normal gear such as soap, deodorant, and shampoo ect.. Some items I recommend you have among your toilet items are:

  • A tube of sunburn ointment with aloe oil in it
  • A tube of A&D ointment (for those nasty saddle sores and rashes)
  • A tube of Sports Cream or Icey Hot  (even if you have a lot of miles in, you still might get sore)
  • A roll of toilet tissue  (WHY you ask?? ) If three hundred to a thousand people all descend on a place for the night I can guarantee they will run out. Besides, it makes a handy chain cleaning rag or sports cream remover.
  • A tube of your favorite hand cream.
  • Chapstick

This list should get you down the road on your big ride. If you come up with other cool things that you think folks might like to hear about let me know.

Originally posted 2012-05-14 14:31:55.


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