"Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." - Albert Einstein
Bicycle touring, like most things we do in life, is personal. There's no complete registry that you can go to, get a check off list, and purchase everything you need. Well, that's not quite true. Sites are plentiful where there are lists and you can buy the basics that others think you need. If you've ever been backpacking in your life, you'll have a good idea of what's needed for bicycle touring. In previous entries, I've dealt with some of what I consider basics. Now, on to some clothing, shoes, tent, sleeping pad, and maybe a few other things.
- RAIN GEAR: First thing I think of with clothing is rain gear. It's important to have a really good rain jacket and rain pants, as well as waterproof covers for your shoes and helmet. I have Showers Pass rain gear.
Showers Pass Club Pro Jacket Showers Pass Club Convertible 2 Pant
- CYCLING/TOURING CLOTHING: As for the rest of your clothing, your choice. I like the spandex style cycling clothes. More comfortable, I think. Others wear t-shirts, shorts, sandals, etc. Depends on what you like really. My preference for cycling shorts is wool. I also use wool jerseys, too. Along with some synthetic jerseys. I also prefer full zip jerseys and bib shorts. Again, it's personal. Find your comfort clothes. My preference is Smartwool over IBEX. Smartwool seems to hold up better. From experience on my cross country trip in 2010. For clothing needs off the bike, I like pants with zip off the legs. These give you pants and shorts to wear off the bike. Also, think wool for some of those off bike clothing items...t-shirts, underwear, zip t's, etc. Even wet, it'll keep you warm. You can buy lightweight, mid-weight and heavier weight shirts, tights, etc., that can be combined to handle colder weather or removed for warmer weather. Wool combined with rain gear give you all the warmth and protection from the elements you might need. Not talking extreme weather, but, rather, weather you'd normally encounter out on the road. With cycling gaining a larger presence in cities, there are even more clothing options for cycling. Take a look online.
- SHOES: Shoes? I like good cycling shoes that I can clip into the pedals with, but that's my preference that I developed over several decades of using clip-in style shoes. I use a clip-in sandal and a regular pair of touring specific shoes made by KEEN.
Keen Austin Pedal Cycling Shoe Keen Commuter II
- TENT, SLEEPING BAG, AND PAD: First thing first. If you use a tent, make sure you get one that is lightweight but not at the expense of roominess. Considering the amount of overall weight you're carrying on the bike, don't skimp on the size of a tent due to it's weight. Larger is more comfortable. Particularly if you get stuck staying inside one for a long period of time due to weather. Get one that's seam sealed at the factory. Yes, you can do it yourself, but why? My tent is a Black Diamond Skylight.
Black Diamond Skylight Bibler Ahwahnee Gore-Tex Tent
Enough for today. Next, I'll go over some of the extras that are so prevalent these days...electronics, etc. For now, a tune to exit with....hmm, what should I add here? "Four Strong Winds" by Neil Young. A rocker whose talents have carried him through the decades and I never tire of hearing him perform.