Cycling is very popular, especially among physically active people. However, to be comfortable, you have to prepare for it - so what should you take with you on bicycle trips?
When going on a long bike trip, you have to think about completing the right equipment. Of course, you can always just get on the bike and go ahead, but it's a good plan for an hour or two hours. In the case of much longer routes, you will need food, drinks, clothes, shelter from rain etc.
The ultimate baggage depends, of course, on the type of trip, its duration, and distance traveled. It is worth gathering all the knowledge on this subject in one place, thanks to which the next cycling trips will turn out to be fully comfortable.
What bike for cycling trips?
The analysis of the above-mentioned topic should start with the most important one, i.e. the bike. Theoretically, every single track makes it possible to cover several dozen or even several hundred kilometers, but remembering to ensure proper comfort during such trips, it is worth to choose a bike specially adapted to them.
Criteria associated with widely understood cycling tourism are best met by trekking models. They were created for long trips, as well as carrying extended luggage. All thanks to the trunks and special panniers, which can be easily attached to the construction of the bike? Thanks to this, carrying the most essential things on the trekking is very convenient.
The bike's performance itself helps to overcome considerable distances and moving on various, often difficult, surfaces. It should be emphasized above all the performance of the boot, which is usually light and very durable at the same time. This is of course influenced by the materials used, resistant to mechanical damage and the influence of external factors.
Additional, extremely important elements are fenders, reinforced foot and mandatory lighting. It is also worth mentioning strong, wide tires, which further stabilize the ride, and are also very resistant. Bicycle trips on unprepared surfaces may end up with a puncture (for example, by small, sharp stones) - trekking structures are additionally immunized, so in their case such a probability is lower.
What other advantages of a trekking bike should you pay attention to? Its geometry is also very significant, which allows you to take a straight post while riding. Thanks to this, the spine is not as loaded as on other bicycles, which allows you to ride longer. In addition, there is a steering wheel. Depending on the model, it adopts the shape of a butterfly or is equipped with special horns. Thanks to this, you can change the handle at any time. Many hours of trips make the hands begin to get numb and sweat intensively. Changing their position allows you to overcome these inconveniences.
Trekking bikes are also valued because of wide saddles, well-adjusted cushioning, as well as usually strong frames that can withstand the hardships of long, long cycling trips that take place on different surfaces - not just asphalt and adapted bicycle paths.
All of the above issues make the trekking models prove to be absolutely the best choice for long trips, but of course this does not mean that they are the only bikes you can use. Cross- structures are also very similar - they are distinguished by equally wide tires, reinforced frames and "friendly" geometry. However, they are deprived of typical tourist additions, such as fenders or trunk. Nothing prevents you to buy them and thus adapt your vehicle to the hardships of travel.
Many people on cycling trips also take standard "highlanders", so MTB bicycles. But what is very important, they occur in many varieties, adapted to city driving, unprepared routes, and even very fast driving or performing various evolutions. Before buying a bike, it is worth checking whether it has one or two shock absorbers, and whether it has been adapted for driving on uneven terrain. In addition, the fenders and the luggage compartment should be mounted. You can also buy a wider seat and steering wheel horns for a mountain bike.
What bike for long trips?
Choosing the best type of two-wheeler is only half the battle. As you know, each bike is different, even within one category. So it is not worth choosing the first model, without checking it thoroughly in terms of your own requirements and the conditions that may prevail on these trips. What should you pay special attention to?
- Rama - experienced cyclists who have traveled hundreds or thousands of kilometers in their lifetime often say that steel and aluminum frames work best during long bicycle trips. They are not only durable, but also susceptible to repair. The steel frame can be welded in virtually any condition.
Worse in this respect are the carbon frames. As the practice indicates, they are very sensitive to rupture. To this should also be added the lack of repair.
- Tires - as already mentioned earlier, wide and reinforced models are recommended, which will not be destroyed when driving on uneven terrain. And when it comes to their size, the best models will be 27.5 and 29 inches.
- Brakes - they should be as simple as possible. Why? Because it will be less emergency, and their possible repair will be easy and fast, in contrast to the complicated mechanisms full of small parts.
- Shock absorbers - are necessary if cycling trips are to take place on varied, often difficult terrain.
- Additional equipment - you will need a fender, boot, lighting, foot and a holder or holders for water bottles. During the expeditions also check the bags, in which we will fit the most necessary things.
What a tent for bicycle trips?
Once the bike has been selected, you can move on to the next pieces of equipment. A few days of cycling will turn out to be much more comfortable and safer with a properly selected tent, even when the plan is to stay in a hotel. The tent will then function as an emergency solution in case the bike is damaged in the middle of nowhere.
What criteria should a tent meet for cycling trips? Attention should be paid primarily to its weight and dimensions after folding. As you know, the trunks and panniers have very limited capacities, so you should decide on structures that can be folded many times. In the case of scales, be careful - too slim the tent can affect its functionality and resistance to weather conditions. All this makes it worth getting to know its description.
The issue of the amount of space in the tent after unfolding also comes to this. Wrestling with strength and compactness can make the tent simply tight. It is worth choosing models that will allow you to take a comfortable lying position. Luggage should also be used.
A good solution may also be a camping tarp, that is a cloth sheet, which is spread out using masts or poles. It is lighter than a tent and occupies less space. It works well as a shelter or protection of a bicycle, luggage and transported equipment.
Speaking of comfort, it is worth aiming at tents that will be easy to unfold. Complicated constructions can cause great frustration, especially after a day of pedaling. Fortunately, there are tents on the market equipped with special mechanisms and systems that allow to spread the entire structure in a few moments.
It is also very important what the tent was made of. The materials used should meet the tapering conditions:
- Waterproof - tents with waterproofness of 3000-5000 mm are well-known for good reputation. They provide effective protection even through intense rain. In the case of some designs, it will be necessary to reinforce the floor so that it does not get wet. In addition to analyzing the description of purchased tents, it is also worth paying attention to opinions issued by customers who have already had the opportunity to use them. They often share their experiences,
- Durability - folding and unfolding, changing weather conditions, transport - all this can affect the structure of the tent, both the cover and the frame. So let's decide on specially reinforced models that will serve not only on one cycling trip,
- Effective ventilation - the humidity that accumulates inside the tent affects both the health and the condition of the tent, so it is worth targeting models equipped with ventilation holes,
- Good fixing - herring and pins must be made of solid, durable materials. Otherwise, the whole structure will not prove to be too stable during strong wind.
Bicycle trips - how to prepare?
Choosing the right bicycle and tents is extremely important, but it does not solve the whole matter. Equipment for bicycle trips will prove to be much more extensive. Below are suggestions for things and accessories to take with you on your journey.
- Beautician - a small bag in which the most essential cosmetics will fit. Do not put in a dozen or so things and large bottles. It is worth sticking to similar rules, as in the case of preparing hand luggage before traveling by plane. Small 100 ml bottles will prove to be sufficient.
- Clothing - of course, a set of clothes should be chosen for the weather that will prevail during the trip. Cap, good shoes, thermoactive underwear, rain jacket, airy shirts and blouses - these things are usually taken away.
- Kitchen utensils - daily eating of packed lunches can be tiring, so you should think about taking a special, small tourist cooker, as well as basic products such as small pots, bottle, cutlery and plastic plates and a mug.
- First aid kit - absolutely necessary.
- Tools and spare parts - all that will be useful in the event of any breakdowns and unplanned downtime. The set may include, among others, keys, binders, tire spoons, screws, cable ties, brake cables, pumps, chain oil, pins and clips, additional lights etc.
- Utensils - a very wide category in which everything that can be useful will be found. For example, here is a bicycle meter, maps, penknife, knife, GPS, lighter, power banks, chargers or insulating tape.
Bicycle tours with children
Single bicycle trips and those in which only adults participate are significantly different from trips with children, especially small ones. Their needs are much bigger, so you should do everything to make the trip simply convenient and safe.
If you are talking about young children, you may want to consider buying a special trailer instead of an ordinary car seat. It is true that it is usually quite heavy and significantly reduces maneuvering by bike, but it will guarantee high comfort of traveling. The child will be able to sit in it comfortably or even lie down. Added to this is a roof that will provide protection from the sun. The routes themselves should be selected for children - we are talking about both their length and terrain. Of course, we should not forget about the supply of clothing, as well as toys that will occupy the child while driving.
Bicycle tours are a great way to spend your free time, so it is worth ensuring that they run in comfortable conditions. Good layout of luggage and equipment will allow you to prepare for any eventuality.