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How to pack for your cycling tour

Getting ready for a cycling trip? Here's our handy cycling holiday packing list to ensure you take everything that you need to enjoy and make the most of your upcoming cycling adventure.
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Bike helmet

Perhaps one of the most important items to pack for your cycling holiday is a helmet. We don't supply helmets on our trips but recommend bringing one for your own safety and protection. Wearing a cycling helmet is usually a travel insurance requirement too, so check your paperwork. If you don't already have a cycling helmet, visit your local bike shop for advice on the best style to suit your head shape and budget. If you're cycling in hot countries, try and pick a helmet that has plenty of ventilation.

Comfortable clothing

If you want to wear cycling-specific lycra during your cycling holiday, that is absolutely fine. However, if you don't have all of the latest kit, just some comfortable clothing is sufficient, especially on our easy-graded cycling trips. If you can, bring lightweight layers that are breathable and wick sweat away from your skin, as well as some warmer layers in case it gets a bit chilly and a lightweight waterproof jacket. Padded cycling shorts will make your time in the saddle much more comfortable, and padded cycling gloves will give your hands and wrists a bit of extra protection on rough terrain.

Footwear

Pack a pair of stiff-soled shoes to wear on the bike. Whether you're taking it easy on a Cycling Tour of the Baltic States or challenging yourself to a UK-based Coast to Coast Cycling Expedition, stiff-soled shoes will transfer energy more efficiently through the pedals making riding easier and more enjoyable. Cycling-specific footwear is not essential, but if you do choose to bring your clip-in cycle shoes and pedals, be mindful that cycle shoes with protruding cleats are not easy to walk around in and therefore are not always the best option for trips with lots of sightseeing. You can opt for a cycle shoe with a recessed cleat or no cleat at all that is comfortable to both walk and cycle in, or consider carrying some lightweight trainers or sandals in your day pack to wear off the bike.

Day pack

There's no need to worry about carrying all of your luggage on the bike as we'll transport your main luggage between hotels while you ride. A number of our bikes are fitted with a pannier or small handlebar bag, please check the individual tour notes for more details. Whilst riding we recommend taking a small rucksack, or using the pannier if provided, to carry the things you might need during the day such as waterproof, phone, camera, sun cream, extra layers and snacks.

Water bottle

When spending lots of hours in the saddle, it's essential to stay hydrated, especially in warm climates. We suggest bringing at least one reusable water bottle, ideally two. This will save you from buying bottled water and helps us to eliminate single-use plastic from our cycling trips. The Tour Leader will explain where tap water is potable as well as the best places to refill your bottle each day and on each ride. Wherever possible we aim to use large recyclable water containers carried on the support vehicle, from which you will be able to refill. Many of the bikes have bottle cages fitted. You may like to consider the Water-to-go bottle. It has a built-in filtration system that eliminates over 99.9% of contaminants from the water, plus, as an Explore customer, you can get a 15% discount. A water reservoir in your backpack is a good option too - something like a CamelBak.

Snacks

You won't go hungry on a cycle tour! Wherever possible we plan rest stops at local cafes where you can also buy a snack. It will also be possible to buy healthy, locally-produced snacks from local shops and market stalls to keep your energy levels topped up during the ride. Lunch will vary from delicious freshly prepared picnics to sit down meals in a restaurant or cafe. Keep hunger at bay with an amazing picnic spread of Spanish or Portuguese delicacies on our Cycle Seville to Porto Trip or cool down with a refreshing mint lemonade while cycling through the desert landscapes of Jordan.

Sun protection

When you're freewheeling down the lavender-draped hillsides of Hvar on our Dalmatian Coast Cycling tour, or exploring the riverside markets of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam on our Asia Cycling trip, it's easy to underestimate the intensity of the sun beaming down on you. We recommend using a high factor sunscreen, whatever the weather, to prevent sunburn that could make future days in the saddle very uncomfortable. And a good pair of UV-filtered sunglasses will protect your eyes from sun glare as well as dust and pollen.

 

Ready to pack? Check your trip notes

The kit that you need for your small group cycling holiday will vary depending on where you decide to go. We provide detailed packing lists in the individual cycling trip notes, so please refer to these before travelling.
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