Like any long distance trip – there’s a lot to consider and plan before heading on your mountain tour. You need to factor in comfort as you cycle for kilometer after kilometer, and the comforts that will get you through. Don’t worry; we have you covered because we’ve compiled some top tips for you ahead of your next big trek.
Before you embark on your trip you should take the time to plan your route, have maps marked, GPS set, and anything else you need to consider. This will allow you to find good stopping points for camping or hotel stays, as well as good resting points for food and beverage breaks. Knowing where little shops are on the route is helpful and can also reduce the amount of packing you need to do when it comes to supplies.
This is a must because there’s nothing worse than doing anything while soaking wet. The bonus is that these are often fairly light and easy to pack, so they don’t need to weigh you down.
Sleep & Shelter
When touring becomes expensive is when you book into hotels every night – so plan to sleep rough some of the time. For this, you’ll need to pack a lightweight sleeping bag. Ideally, you’ll be able to pack a small tent, too, after-all, you will need shelter.
Your Food Supplies
You don’t want to run out of food, nor do you want to weigh yourself down unnecessarily. Pack plenty of snacks to keep you going between meals. You can easily start your day with oatmeal, and then pack a couple of hot meals for each day. As you’ve planned ahead you will know exactly how much to take to get you through to until you reach a store to re-stock.
You’ll need a handy tool-kit to handle any repairs should you experience a puncture or an issue with your chain. It’s going to add weight to your load, but you can’t survive a long-distance cycle without a repair kit. Take it from the professionals – make sure you pack the essentials and if you have room, go with some of the more useful accessories, too.
No matter how much water you pack… you will always be able to drink more. So, make sure you have plenty to see you through till you’re able to re-stock at a shop. There’s nothing worse than cycling while thirsty and you’ll be sweating a lot. An average person on a standard day is meant to drink half their weight in water (in ounces). Now, consider how much that is, what it looks like, and how much more you will need to drink to get through heavy cycling.
You don’t need to take the world with you; it will be a far easier trip if you narrow it down to the essentials and only pack what you really need. You will very likely wear a lot of the same clothes for a few days before you get a chance to wash anything, so personal hygiene is really important. Something that helps you stay clean on the fly? Wipes! Make sure you pack enough wipes to do throughout your entire trip.
Just so you know, there are a lot of things you might think that you really need for this long distance mountain bike tour, but you don’t. At all. You don’t need an incredibly expensive touring bike – you only need a bike that can carry you and your load and do so comfortably. You don’t need to buy cleated shoes or install clip-in pedals. While some cyclists may think you’re nuts for skipping them, they’re pretty pricey, so unless you’re really into your cycling then you don’t need them. You won’t notice any difference.
A lot of people also think they need a fair amount of money to go on a bike tour – you don’t. There are plenty of ways to stay safe, eat well, and stay warm without spending a fortune to do it. You don’t need a cycling jersey either unless you really want one! Sure, they look cool, they’re handy for storing loose items, too, but you don’t have to have one unless you want one. You don’t need to carry a lot of extra clothing either, that’s just going to drag you down. The same goes for your cooking supplies – bring the essentials, you can use a small pot as a bowl and a plate for a cutting board. Forget vanity items.
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