Packing for a bike tour

Wondering how to pack for your one-of-a-kind cycle tour?

Whether you've booked a pre-designed multi-day or day tour or you're embarking on one of our captivating custom tours, you'll want to prep perfectly for the ultimate cycling experience.

Follow our fool-proof rules below to get ready for your unbeatable BikeTours.com adventure!

Rule #1: PACK LIGHT. Try to limit yourself to a carry-on bag. This isn’t a requirement - just a suggestion (the extra airline fees are just the beginning of the trouble with extra or heavy bags—train stations and hotels don’t always have elevators!). It’s tough but doable, especially if you plan ahead.

If you’re not sure if your suitcase is too heavy, carry it a couple of blocks at a fast pace, or up a flight of stairs without stopping. If you’re uncomfortable, it’s too heavy.

On most bicycle tours - whether standard or custom - you’re on the move with little time for laundry and drying. When possible, travel with fast-drying clothing – from undergarments to outerwear. Check out our clothing recommendations for specific tips. Synthetic fabrics/blends are not only the most breathable and quick drying, they can also be the easiest to pack (the worst fabric to ride in is cotton).

A few ways to make the most of limited packing space:

  • Stuff hollow items (like shoes, helmets, and water bottles) with other small items (socks, chargers, etc.). No dead space!
  • Roll clothes to eliminate air and reduce wrinkles.
  • Packing cubes make the most of small spaces - organize your items and make packing and unpacking a cinch (key for the daily hotel moves typical of bike tours).
  • Stuff sacks are another helpful packing organizer.

Note that bike rentals generally do not include helmets and that you must bring your own.

Suggested packing list:

See information on appropriate gear and equipment for your standard itinerary or custom-built bicycle tour.

Equipment

  • Helmet
  • Water bottle
  • Waist pack or small day pack

Clothing

  • 2 pairs of riding shorts (we recommend padded shorts and that you try these out before your tour)
  • 2 riding jerseys (quick-dry)
  • 2 pairs of quick-dry socks for cycling
  • Comfortable, closed-toe shoes for biking and walking
  • Riding gloves
  • 2-3 t-shirts or casual shirts
  • Trousers or jeans
  • 1-2 pairs of casual socks for non-cycling activities
  • 3-5 pairs of underwear (quick-dry)
  • Cool-weather jacket or rain jacket
  • Extra layers and gloves for cooler season or climate (thin, thermal, water-resistant)
  • Bathing suit
  • Sandals

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Razor
  • Hairbrush
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer

Miscellaneous

  • Passport, wallet, and ID
  • Health insurance card
  • Travel insurance card
  • Cash and/or credit cards
  • Camera (with spare battery)
  • Plastic bags (for dirty laundry, wet clothes)
  • Electronic chargers (for the camera, e-reader, cell phone)
  • Adaptors or converters

First aid kit

  • Insect repellent
  • Antiseptic cream or antibiotic ointment
  • Sunscreen
  • Band-aids and ‘Second Skin’ for blisters
  • Salve for chafing
  • Medications (in original bottles with your name on them)

Clothes
Tips on packing clothing for your bicycle tour, from essential, practical items to comfortable fabrics that'll optimize your enjoyment.

Gear and equipment
Helpful planning and packing information on what gear and equipment you'll need while on your bicycle tour. Tips, links, advice and more!