Is there anything better than a summer bike trip? Whether you’re going on a day trip or a full-on bike vacation, it’s great to be out in the sunshine and on your bike with friends and family. Let’s look at some essentials that you will want to have with you to make it a great trip.
As they say, “safety first.” You’ll want to make sure that your bike and your body are both ready for the trip. If you are taking a trip of any length, it’s a good idea to have your bike checked out by a professional (as well as have handy items like a tire pump, spare inner tube, and puncture repair kit). If you are already in shape for a long trip, great! If it’s been a while since you have done a day (or longer) bicycle trip, make sure to spend some time making shorter “practice runs” for a few weeks to get your muscles ready for a longer trip. These will also give you time to figure out what is best to carry with you.
Make sure to wear clothing that will allow for ease of movement (and safety by not getting caught in your bicycle chain). Whether you opt for official cycling clothes or women’s activewear that can pull double duty for everything from cycling and walking to working out at the gym or in the garden. A women’s rain jacket that can be folded up and stashed in your backpack or bike bag is a great idea, too. And, of course, shoes that are sturdy and comfortable for cycling are always key.
Stay well hydrated, and make sure to bring healthy snacks that you’ll like to have along the way. Carry a water bottle or two that are designed for ease of use while cycling. Also, never underestimate how much you need to rehydrate on a bike trip. Easy snacks like energy bars or trail mix that are both portable and high in energy will be great to have in a pocket or backpack, too.
You’ll want to be comfy not only while you are cycling but also afterward! If you are going on an overnight trip, be sure to include plenty of fresh, comfy clothes to change into before you head out to dinner. There’s nothing like getting in a great workout followed by a shower and then putting on your comfiest clothes. Easy shorts and T-shirts with walking sandals are a good idea for a super casual meal or drinks after the ride.
For the hotel (or back home if you do a day trip), have your favorite flannel pajamas ready to pull on after a shower and some moisturizer. We may think of flannel as more of a winter fabric, but trust us, after a long day in the sun, when you retire to a lovely, air-conditioned room, cozy flannel is a great form of self-care.
Don’t forget the fun! Bring a camera and take some shots of the crew by their bikes, at stops along the way, and at dinner afterward. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a photographer, bring your smartphone and put it to good use. Take more pics than you think you will need, edit, and crop accordingly, and even “non-photographers” can come up with some great pictures. They will be fun for social media now and to look back on for years to come.
Are there sights to see along the way on your trip? Look for unique things like a great ice cream shop place or vintage shops to browse. If you will be staying in the same area for a few days, ask the locals for suggestions on sights and activities that you won’t want to miss (the best ones aren’t always in the tourist brochures). Some internet planning before your trip begins can be both a fun pastime and a practical step. For most of us, the best trips are planned well enough to be comfortable and still have enough spontaneity to allow for fun little additions.
Unless you know for sure that swimming won’t be on your agenda at any point during the trip, make sure to pack your swimsuit. Especially after an active day of cycling, lounging in a cool pool or by the beach can be a lovely opportunity to relax and hang out. Don’t forget that at the end of the day, many hotels also have whirlpools available by the swimming pools that are great for a soak and good conversation. If you will be near a beach, make sure to include beach towels in addition to sunscreen and plenty of water to drink.
Stay safe, have fun, and go on a great bike trip!