We plan to cycle about 30 miles a day carrying all our own belongings and shared equipment for events on the way. We have chosen this daily distance to be accessible to riders with a range of fitness and cycling touring experience.
The route will be planned in advance and we will travel in one or two groups with designated map readers and tail teams to make sure no one is left behind. We will take turns to fulfill these tasks. We will bring a communal trailer with bike repair tools and basic spares. Each rider need only carry equipment to mend their own punctures (see below).
We will eat communally each night and morning. Packed lunch will be prepared in the morning and each day every rider will carry their own packed lunch, snacks and drinks. All communal food will be vegan, as we believe this is the most environmentally and socially responsible way to eat.
Your bike doesn’t need to be top of the range or brand new but you will need:
A bike in good working order – if you’re at all unsure about the condition of your bike get it serviced by a friend or your local bike shop before you set out.
Relatively slick road tyres which are pumped up to their highest pressure – if you currently riding on chunky tyres consider if at all possible replacing them with slick tyres, it will make the ride much easier and more enjoyable.
No suspension or front suspension only which can be locked off – suspension adds greatly to the weight of the bike and absorbs a lot of the energy that would otherwise be converted into moving the bike forward. This makes bikes with suspension unsuitable for long journeys on the road.
A reasonable range of gears – at least 15 would be good.
A bike that is built for carrying weight – a racing / road bike with very thin wheels / tyres (such as 23-25c) or a carbon frame is not strong enough for carrying touring loads and will not have attachments for panniers rank or mudguards
DO bring – we consider this the essentials
A pannier rack – this is a rack over the back wheel of your bike on to which you can attach luggage. Racks can be fitted to most bikes, ask in your local bike shop.
Rear panniers – bags which attach to your bike.
A good lock – a D-lock or good cable lock
Front and rear bike lights – we don’t plan to cycle at night but need to be prepared just in case
Water bottles to carry 2 litres
Puncture repair kit , tyre levers, pump and spare inner tube, wheel nut spanner if required
A comfortable sleeping bag
Small quantity (1-2 day supply) of high energy snacks, such as dried fruit and nuts
Lightweight quick drying clothes to cycling in
A plate, bowl, mug, knife, fork and spoon.
TRY to bring – this is the stuff we find makes life much more comfortable
Water bottle cages attached to your bike so you can easily reach your drink while cycling
Mudguards – help keep you dry when riding on wet roads and also protect those riding behind you
Sun protection- cream and/or a tightish hat with a decent brim.
Insect repellent- citronella oil sort of works.
Padded cycling shorts!
– we recommend you leave the following at home
More stuff than you can carry comfortably on your bike – you need to be able to carry everything you bring with you, and ideally some communal stuff too.
Too many clothes. – you need a set to cycle in and a spare set, plus clean underwear. There will be opportunities to wash clothes on the way.
Heavy books – even if you are a keen reader try not to bring more than one light book, we can swop books around in the group.
A tent any bigger than needed – try to arrange to share with friends and share the parts of the tent out between you
More food than required for one days snacks – we will be cooking and eating communally on the journey and there will be opportunities to buy snacks at local shops
A rucksack – cycling in a rucksack is uncomfortable for more than a short journey, we would not recommend bringing more stuff than you can fit in your panniers or strap on your back rack.
Anything you could possibly survive without – additional weight will make the journey harder and less enjoyable and you will be able to contribute less to helping with communal equipment and tasks
Top packing tips¶
Carry everything in plastic bags inside your panniers so it doesn’t get soaked in a downpour.
You can use the space on the top of your pannier rack as well as in your pannier bags by attaching a tent or sleeping mat with bungee cords.
Consider which items you will need when and keep stuff you’ll need as you cycle accessible.
Try and keep your panniers a similar weight to each other.
Cycling is hungry work, have snacks close to hand and eat every couple of hours, expect to have a bigger appetite than normal.