Before going on a long ride, make sure your bicycle is in good shape for the trip. You may want to do the preparation yourself. However, someone at a bike repair shop can do it for you. You should have the air pressure in the tyres checked along with any maintenance needed. When you pack for the trip, take along a repair kit including patches for the tyres. On any long distance bicycle ride to ensure you’ll have a great time including not having the bike break down.
Prepare for rain by packing a lightweight windbreaker that is waterproof. You can also buy a longer raincoat with a hood. But, you don’t want it too long because it might get caught in the chain on your bike causing you to fall. Another thing to pack is a basic first aid kit.
You should buy a comfortable backpack and select one that is as light weight as possible. It should be waterproof. It should have padded and adjustable shoulder straps to make carrying it as comfortable as possible. Pack some snack bars or high-energy bars and a sufficient supply of water.
Clothing will depend on the weather. A t-shirt and shorts are fine in the summer as long as you carry a jacket in case the weather turns cool. Jeans and a hoodie are fine for the spring or fall season. The one item that is most important is the best pair of fun cycling socks you can buy. Fun colours are a bonus, but, most importantly they should be comfortable. The best are made of soft, seamless construction to avoid blisters or sores on the feet. They should be anatomically shaped to the feet and made of wicking fabric that draws moisture away from the skin. Then you won’t have the discomfort of sweaty feet. There is nothing that can spoil your fun more than sore irritated feet.
Your shoes should be the kinds that keep your feet on the pedals without slipping. You should carry a cell phone, an identification card and an extra day’s supply of any prescription medication you take. It’s good for anyone to have a few Tylenol, bug spray and sun tan lotion ready when needed. Some riders choose to carry a GPS system in addition to their cell phone. But, it doesn’t hurt to pack a paper map as well in case the batteries should fail.
You won’t need as many changes of clothes as you think. They take up too much space in your back pack. If you are staying overnight in a youth hostel, you won’t need to carry any cooking supplies. You might want to pack a Mylar space blanket as they take up little room. Forget about vanity items. Deodourant – yes; your hair dryer – no, for example.
In addition to that list of tips on what to pack, take an extra pair of those comfortable cycling socks, your anticipation of a good time, your sense of adventure and camaraderie with your travelling companions and a big smile. In other words, have a fun time.