Traveling across the country can be quite stressful, but what about when you’re covering thousands of miles on your bike? You’ll be subjected to all kinds of weather, and you don’t have shelter readily available whenever you need it. That’s why you can never be too prepared when it comes to embarking on a cross-country bicycle trip.
Packing for a cross-country bicycle trip can be tricky, because you have to make sure your load isn’t too heavy for your bike to carry. Because of that, you have to be very choosy about what you bring. You need to make sure that every single item you pack is absolutely necessary.
Of course, there are the obvious everyday items like clothes, socks, underwear, cycling shoes, toiletries, tents, sleeping bags, and so on. In addition to that stuff, there are many not-so-obvious things you’d still need.
Here is a list of things you should put near the top of your packing list. You know what they say: you can never be too prepared!
- Bike gloves: Cycling can be pretty hard on your hands even after a few hours, so cycling gloves are a necessity. They also help keep your hands warm in cold weather.
- Clear glasses: Not only do clear glasses keep bugs out of your eyes, they also allow you to see everything at nighttime.
- Sunglasses with light and dark lens set: If you wear eye protection, your eyes will thank you! Sunglasses are especially useful if you’re traveling eastbound or westbound.
- Cap or helmet with visor: Not only will a visor keep sun out of your eyes, it’ll also keep your glasses and eyes dry when it rains.
- Combination lock: There is no worse situation in a cross-country bicycle trip than having your bike – your only means of transportation – stolen when you’re out and about in a new town.
- Compass: Sometimes the sun isn’t always reliable when it comes to figuring out which direction you’re going, especially around noon or at nighttime.
- Camelback: With this, you can drink water effortlessly without losing momentum or having to stop.
- Waterproof jacket: One of the most important things you have to do while cycling is to keep your core warm. Make sure you wear a hooded waterproof jacket (or a raincoat) in wet weather.
- Long underwear: There are many articles of clothing that can keep you warm at night, but long underwear is among the best of them. They’re lightweight and they work really well.
- Brightly colored vest or jacket: It’s important to make sure drivers can see you at night.
- Waterproof shoe covers (or plastic bags): Your feet have to stay dry at all times, or you’ll end up with some awful blisters.
- Maps: Unless you have a Smartphone with an interactive map, it would be a good idea to bring detailed maps with you.
- Rubber bands: You’d be surprised at how useful rubber bands can be during such a trip. You can use them to keep bags of food closed, tie back your hair, or to assist in minor repairs.
- Mini packets of medicine: Riding all day in the sun may give a headache, or you may feel ill at times, so it might be wise to bring along some pills like Pepto-Bismol or Ibuprofen.
- Reflective triangle: Once again, it’s very important to make sure drivers can see you at all times. A reflective triangle lets the driver know that there’s a slow-moving vehicle on the road and that the driver needs to look out.
- Pepper spray: You never know what kind of strange folks you’ll meet along the way!
- Dog spray: In rural areas, you may encounter some wild or vicious dogs. A dog spray would help keep them away.
- First aid kit: If you’re roughing it in the wild, you’re bound to get a few cuts and scratches.
- Travel towel: A travel towel is way easier to carry than a regular towel. It’s super thin and light, and it dries fast.
- Bug spray: Riding a bicycle should be comfortable, but it won’t be if you’re riddled with mosquito bites.
- Sunscreen: Protect yourself from the sun!
- Small tire pump: If you’re traveling that far on your bike, your bike tires will definitely lose some air.
- A rag and a small bottle of degreaser: These will come in very handy when you’re performing routine roadside maintenance on your bike.
- Spare parts: You know, in case something goes wrong with your bike mid-trip. Some spare parts include a brake cable, zip ties, brake pads, extra bolts, and AAA batteries for brake lights.
- Bungee cords: If one of your loads comes loose, bungee cords could save the day.
What are some of the things you absolutely cannot live without during a cross-country bicycle trip? Let us know!