bicycle touring gear for south europe velotour

Looking back on my cycling tour across South Europe, it seems a little debrief would be helpful. Below are the items I packed and some of what I learned and would do next time related to bicycle touring gear.

Bicycle touring gear list

* bike with bottle-holder, back wheel rack and extra-comfy saddle

* helmet

* one rear pannier

* detachable front pannier

* bike lock

* small two-person tent (really only big enough for me and my bags, but technically for two)

* foam sleeping mat

* sleeping bag

* 2 water bottles, one litre in the holder and two litre in the pannier

* utility knife

* rear safety light

* front LED light

* “horns” attached to my handlebars

* adjustable spanner

* Allen key set (only two of them were of use)

* pump

* tube repair kit

* tyre levers (!)

* spare inner tube

* large bin liners

* spoon

* 500ml plastic container with clip seals

* 4 small ocky-straps (aka bungee cords)

* thin nylon rope

* 38L backpack

* oil/lubricant for chain

* small sewing kit

* sunglasses

* face cloth

* small towel

* a packet of serviettes (a roll of paper towel would have been more economical but takes up more space)

* 2 cigarette lighters

* AAA batteries (I took 8 and only used 2)

* nail clippers (!!)

Gear I took, but did not use

* little saddle bag

* bicycle bell

* firestarters

* duct tape (sewing kit worked better for repairing things)

* little LED torch (I just used my bicycle headlamp)

Gear I would take next time

* air sleeping mat instead of foam

* fork

* spare brake pads

* collapsable bowl (to make salad in!)

* harmonica or something else to make music (I ended up buying one after the bicycle retired)

* insect repellent

* camping headlight

* waterproof pants

* one of those little speedometer/odometer things. It’s nice to know how many kilometres you cover and how fast you’re going at times.

* a silver insulation sheet for under the tent. They are cheap, weigh almost nothing and take up very little space, and make a lot of difference on cold nights!

Clothes I packed

* 6 underpants

* 1 sports bra (quick drying croptop sort, two or three would have been good)

* 2 pairs of ankle socks for cycling (more would have been nice)

* 1 pair of warm long socks

* 1 thermal leggings

* 4 singlets

* 3 t-shirts

* 1 bicycle shorts with padded seat (good for days when the bum gets sore!)

* 1 knee-length yoga tights (I wore these the most for cycling)

* 1 flannelette shirt

* 1 raincoat

* cycling gloves

* 1 bandanna/headscarf thing (like a tube of tshirt material that doubles as a neck-warmer and can pull up over the head like a headband or bandanna)

* joggers (used these for cycling, hiking and just about everything)

* thin canvas sneakers (like VANS – good for days of sightseeing)

* thongs/flipflops

* ordinary clothes – black leather ankle boots, nice jacket, 2 skirts, black stockings, 2 bras, jeans

* a watch

Miscellaneous bits and pieces

* iPad mini loaded with lots of books, music and Google Maps, and a little keyboard for easy writing

* iPhone mostly for camera

* chargers

* sketch book

* moleskin notebook

* pens, watercolours, paintbrushes, charcoals, pastels, pencils, a bottle of ink and a stylus (if you’re not into drawing and painting like I am then think of something else to bring to occupy your evenings when you’re camping in the wild alone!)

* Vegemite! It’s good to bring something from home that you can share with people you meet.

* rolling tobacco, filters and papers – I enjoy an occasional cigarette with an evening beer.

* a soft cotton handbag – it packs away to almost nothing and is nice for city days

Toiletries

* soap

* nail brush (!!)

* face wash

* 2in1 shampoo-conditioner

* toothbrush and toothpaste

* baby wipes and face wipes

* a little bottle of olive oil for mascara removal

* face moisturiser

* body moisturiser

* stick deodorant

* hair product

* basic makeup (blush, eyebrow pencil, eyeliner and mascara). It’s nice to feel like a lady when going out in cities after so much time spent as a wild grubby cyclist)

* perfume – as above

Bicycle touring gear - meanderbug

Gear thoughts from a multi-faceted traveler

Because I’d been backpacking and spontaneously decided to start South Europe bicycle touring, I had many things that people who start out with the intention of traveling by bicycle don’t bring, such as the boots, the art materials, perfume and jeans. I had enough space for everything and didn’t regret them because they brought a little indulgence and comfort to what can become a fairly austere lifestyle. Since leaving the bike and travelling by foot and thumb I’ve culled a lot more because the backpack is too heavy. On the other hand, because I wasn’t planning my bike tour I only bought the bare minimum of gear that I thought I would need, and along the way picked up things that I found through experience really were useful, like the handlebar horns, sewing kit and padded cycling shorts. My packing approach tends to be minimalist, but not necessarily austere. Minimalist to me means identifying the things that I get the most value out of – either because they are useful or because I enjoy them. So my paints and charcoals, makeup and hair product are included, and camping cookware isn’t.

2 comments

  1. Željko

    Happy birthday Catherine!

  2. Catherine

    Hi Zjelko, thanks!! I hope you’re well 🙂

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