In recent years, there has been a growing interest in sustainable transport. Times have changed and there are an increasing number of cyclists in rural and urban environments. A trend that skyrockets in summer and which is expanding even more after the easing of the lockdown is going on a cycling trip.
With the arrival of summer and the return to “normality”, many of us are thinking about what we can do to enjoy the holidays this summer. At Santafixie, we encourage you to try another form of travelling and enjoying each landscape by using a bike as your main mode of transport.
You may have a rough idea of what to take on a cycling trip although it will also depend on many factors such as the place, how many days you are going to travel for and also the budget. That’s why we have prepared this post to give you a general idea of how you can get your bike ready for a trip and what practical advice you should follow so that your next cycling trip is unforgettable.
What accessories should you take on your next cycling trip?
First of all, you have to bear in mind that everything you take you are going to carry on your legs, so you should choose the lightest and least voluminous luggage possible. It means not taking more than 30kg on the bike.
If your bike doesn’t have a rack, it will be necessary to fit one onto your bike so you can add the panniers or bags for your trip to it.
For trips involving several days, you will need to fit panniers to your bike. These will basically be the “suitcase” that you will have so you don’t have to carry it on your back. We recommend that the bags and panniers are waterproof to prevent them getting wet when it rains. In addition, you should balance the weight load of the panniers so that each side is practically the same weight and place the heaviest items at the bottom for more stability.
We recommend the use of bags that you can place on the handlebars, to store objects that you will use most often and so it is easy to access items such as documentation and your mobile phone. You can add a saddlebag to store basic tools and an inner tube. There are also bags that can be fitted to the inside of the frame and are very useful for carrying food or clothing.
It is useful to have a tool kit with the basics: a set of Allen keys, a flat screwdriver, a screw wrench or medium shifting spanner, needle-nose pliers, a chaintool and a key to adjust the spokes.
Lights and bell
These two accessories are essential, both for warning other vehicles or pedestrians of your presence and to see obstacles such as potholes while you ride at night. It is worth having front and rear lights fitted.
Another accessory that must always be used on your cycling trip is a helmet. Its use is compulsory if you are going to ride along intercity roads, while it is highly advisable for towns. Travelling with protection for the head is an excellent way of improving the chances of reducing impacts in the event of accidents.
It is important to have a lightweight but secure padlock. There will be times when you have to park your bike. They are quite useful since you will have more security and you will avoid the chance of a theft occurring. This way, it will be more difficult for anyone to rob you of your means of transport.
Another accessory you will need is a water bottle so you can hydrate yourself and drink water or any isotonic drink. You should also have a bottle holder.
Main advice for travelling by bike
Firstly, the most important thing is to have an optimum bike that has the features you need. Depending on your plans, you probably won’t need the best on the market, but you do need it to be reliable and one that you can ride as easily as possible on.
1. Set an objective
A way of making the journey much more attractive is to have a specific goal on an individual level. An example would be to consider riding through a national park, visiting a friend who lives in a municipality close to yours, or doing routine chores like the shopping. For this reason, study the different options that you have to reach your destination and choose the most interesting one. Before preparing the luggage to take on the bike, it may be worthwhile looking for places where you can stop to rest. It is important to plan regular stops to eat, drink water and hydrate yourself.
2. Prepared tyres
Similarly, it is important to have good tyres that enable you to ride along multiple terrains and that have an anti-puncture coating system. It’s about getting the most out of your bike. You are going to be riding on it for many hours and you should avoid having to constantly repair punctures. Prevention is better than the cure!
3. Mechanical items
There is a misconception that you need to have a range of mechanical items for any eventuality, but that’s not quite right. As long as you know how to change the inner tube of your wheel in the event you have a puncture and you can adjust the gears and breaks, you won’t have any problem on your rides.
4. Spare parts
It depends on the length of the journey, but it is recommended that, as a minimum, you take a spare inner tube in case of a puncture. It is also advisable to have screws or nuts and washers for long journeys.
5. What type of clothing you should wear
In terms of the type of clothing to wear, it’s quite simple: when the weather is warmer it is advisable to use cool clothing, so you can have a good ventilation and a cap to protect yourself from the sun. A windbreaker will be good if you have a long descent in front of you. However, in cold weather or when it cools down at night, it is best to use several layers and, ultimately, clothing which is able to insulate from the cold. It is also important to consider rainwear such as an anorak or waterproof clothing.
6. Cycling glasses
Cycling glasses can be a fundamental ally, but not just on sunny days. As well as protecting us from ultraviolet rays, they also prevent dust, unpleasant winds and even insects from getting in our eyes. For long journeys, ones with a high percentage protection are advisable.
7. And finally…
Our final recommendation is that, before going on your first long trip, do at least one shorter trip with all of the load you are planning to carry in the panniers. By doing a previous trip of one or two days, you will see how you feel and whether you really miss anything or if you decide to leave something at home.