If you haven’t got a cycling holiday packing list, packing for a cycling trip can be a nightmare.
If you’re anything like us, you leave it until the last minute, then rush around in a panic trying to remember everything and often forgetting something fairly fundamental…
We hope this cycling holiday checklist will make your life easier!
We’ve limited it to things we always take with us and know will be useful for your average self-supported road cyclist doing day rides from somewhere relatively close to a bike shop, for around a week.
The list will of course require tailoring to the likely weather you’ll encounter, so remember to check the forecast before you go!
We resisted the temptation to include everything you might ever possibly need. It’s nice to be comprehensive but if you took all that kit, you’d resemble a mobile bike repair shop. The reality is that, if you’re like us, if you have anything other than a minor mechanical you’ll just head to your nearest bike shop for help…
So read on for your cycling holiday essentials!
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Bike related things to do before you go
- Service your bike (or have it serviced) / book bike hire
- Pre-book bike space on flight (if necessary)
- Make sure your transfers will have room for a bike box (if necessary)
- Check weather to tailor your packing list (we love the WeatherPro app (there are free versions))
- Check travel insurance up to date and covers road cycling (our guide to picking cycling travel insurance should help!)
- Print this packing list and leave enough time to pack!
This list of 20 things you’ll need to do before travelling, will remind you of the non-bike related things you’ll need to remember.
Cycling holiday packing list
If bringing your own bike:
- Bike shoes with cleats
- Front and rear light with fresh batteries
- 2 large (750ml) water bottles (and 2 bottle cages!)
- Spare cycling shoe cleats and fixing bolts
- Cable ties
- Bike lock (optional)
- Saddle bag items
If hiring a bike:
- Check before you go that the place you’re hiring from will supply bottle cages and saddle bag (i.e. the items at 10 above)
- Items 2-9 above
- Pedals and, if you’re fussy, your saddle
- Your bike measurements (to ensure a good fit on your hire bike)
Spares and tools (optional)
A lot of equipment now requires spare parts and tools that are specific to a model, year or type. This can make finding spares in local shops a bit hit or miss. If there aren’t many bike shops near where you’re staying, you forgot to service your bike before or you just want to play it safe, consider bringing the following with you:
- Brake pads (2 spare sets or more)
- Chain powerlink (we like this)
- Spare shift and brake cables
- Chain splitter
- Spare tyre
- 3 bib shorts/padded shorts
- 3 short sleeve jerseys
- 1 long sleeve jersey
- 3 socks
- 3 wicking base layers
- Cycling gilet
- Arm warmers
- Leg warmers
- Water/windproof cycling jacket for jersey pocket
- Short fingered gloves/mitts
- Long fingered gloves
Note: We generally take three (or more) of everything so we have enough to wear, wash and dry. This assumes you’ll have access to clothes washing while you’re away. If not, you’ll need to think about hand washing, launderettes or you’ll need to take more kit!
Extra clothing for cycling in mountains/if there’s any chance of mixed weather
- Leg warmers (a second pair)
- Overshoes (a second pair)
- Long-sleeved jersey(s) (additional ones)
- Wind and rain proof jacket
- Long sleeved base layer(s)
- Short sleeved base layer(s)
- Warm mid-layer(s)
- Cycling glasses (i.e. clear lenses)
Whatever off-bike clothes you want! We would suggest including:
- Evening / Training / Casual Shoes
- Flip Flops
- Recovery tights
- Beanie or hat
- Swim kit
- Towel (depends on accommodation)
- Some of these may not be necessary for you. Most will.
- Phone and charger
- Camera and charger
- Bike camera and charger
- Bike computer and charger/USB cable
- Laptop/tablet and charger
- Heart rate monitor
- Plug socket adaptors
- Small flashlight or headtorch
- Stash of favourite bars/gels
- Energy drink powder
- Recovery drink powder
- Hydration tablets
- Suncream (we like this)
- First aid (painkillers, disinfectant, insect repellent, plasters/band aids, antihistamine cream)
- Personal medication
- Wash kit (tooth brush, tooth paste, body wash, shampoo, conditioner)
- Earplugs (better safe than sorry!)
- Waterproof phone pouch for jersey pocket (optional)
- Plastic bags for storing things
- Compression bags (useful for getting more into your bag and to separate clean and dirty clothes) (we like these)
- Holiday reading
- Toilet paper/tissues
- Hand gel (for these post-Covid times!)
- Credit card
- ATM/debit card. Tell your bank before you leave where you’re planning to go. If your card is used in certain countries they’ll cancel it because they assume fraud.
- Passport or European ID card as required (with picture)
- Proof of travel and (if relevant) health insurance
- EHIC card (for Europeans travelling in Europe)
- Car hire paperwork/if you’re taking your own car – car insurance and breakdown insurance paperwork
- Details of where you’re staying
- Flight details / boarding card
- Ball-point pen
A final thought…
Things for your jersey pocket: what to take on a road bike ride
If you’re taking your bike abroad, you’ll probably already know this. But it’s worth remembering that you’ll need to be able to comfortably carry the following items with you when you head out for the day:
- Water Bottles (750ml x 2)
- Bars/gels (number depends on length of ride/plan for refuelling)
- Jacket or cycling gilet
- Leg and/or arm warmers
- Bike specific multi tool
- 2 inner tubes
- Pump/gas canisters
- Tyre levers
- Suncream and basic first aid kit (we don’t always take this, but we should…)
- Phone, debit/credit card, cash, ID (ideally in a waterproof pouch)
- You’ll also want to remember your sunglasses and, if you have them, your heart rate monitor, bike computer and bike camera.
Did we miss anything?!
Surely not, it’s a massive list?! We hope it helps make packing less stressful.
While you’re here – don’t miss our cycle gear reviews with candid opinions on the pros and cons of the kit we use.
And if you’re planning a trip away, don’t miss our trip planning 101 and our guides to some of the world’s best cycling destinations – they include super helpful route information and practical stuff like where to stay and bike hire.
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