A must-have for a bicycle traveler

A must-have for a bicycle traveler – main image

A bike trip is one of the most enjoyable and easy-to-do adventures. Just get on the bike and go in any direction. It is worth setting the route in advance in general assumptions and finding out if it is suitable for cycling. For such a spontaneous trip, you only need to take a few essentials with you. It is different if the trip would last a few days or, for example, a week. This requires taking more items, as well as having a suitable bicycle, most often with the option of mounting a rack and bicycle panniers. Finally, there are expeditions that last more than a few weeks and lead through areas far from civilization. For example, a few or maybe several dozen cyclists are currently traveling alone in deserts around the world. To survive in extreme conditions on your own, you need to have perfect logistics.

One day trip

Assuming we move so far from human settlements that we can always reach them in a few hours, we don't need to take too many items with us. Theoretically, we only need something to drink, it can be water or an isotonic drink, and in the colder season, a warm drink in a thermo mug. In practice, it is worth having something else to eat with you, e.g. a banana or an energy bar. Always adjust your clothes to the weather and remember that the weather can change. In severe summer heat, which lasts for several weeks, you do not need to take a raincoat with you, but when the weather is changeable, you can. You should also remember about basic bicycle tools such as a pump and a multitool with a set of hex keys. If you get caught, which is the most common fault, it's a good idea to have a spare inner tube or just a small set of repair patches. If we cannot remove the tire from the rim, a pair of very light, plastic bicycle tire levers will also be useful. The above-mentioned accessories should not take up too much space, and apart from the pump that is mounted to the bicycle frame, the rest will fit in the seat bag. The hand pump can also be replaced with a CO2 cartridge pump, which is shorter and will also fit into the bag.


A journey of several days

If our trip is to take a little longer, basic knowledge about bike servicing becomes necessary. In this case, you should also remember about the tools for removing the failure of the bicycle drive. We should definitely have a chain breaker, a multitool and a pump, tire levers and a spare inner tube. If the bike requires it (it has a multi-speed hub), you will also need a flat wrench for the nuts securing the wheel to the frame. This key is also necessary when the bicycle is not equipped with quick-release hubs. In addition to tools, be aware of hygiene items. In the panniers for the trunk, or larger frame bags, you should also pack a warmer sweatshirt, maybe pants (depending on the season), and an emergency waterproof windbreaker. If we are going to sleep in a tent, a powerbank for charging the phone will also be useful, as well as all camping utensils such as a mat, sleeping bag, paper map (although a digital one in the phone is enough).


A long journey

Those who decide to go on a long bike trip usually already have enough experience to assess what must be in the panniers. Since you cannot count on a bicycle shop in the surrounding town, you should already have a lot of spare parts and the necessary bicycle tools with you. Due to the greater load in luggage and bumps, it may happen that one or more spokes in the wheel break. It is therefore necessary to have a nipple wrench, spare spokes in the required lengths and only nipples. Before leaving, it is worth getting acquainted with the theory of the spoke service in the wheel, so that you know what to do in the field. There are numerous training videos available on Youtube. In addition to the wheels, the drive can also be hit, it is worth having with you a key to unscrew the pedals, a key for cassettes and a whip. A key to the bottom bracket's external bearings may also be useful, if there are any on the bike. A spare tire and inner tubes is a matter of course. It won't hurt to take an emergency cable, armor and brake pads. Usually, expedition bikes have mechanical brakes (unless Magura hydraulic rim brakes), but if you go far with your bike on hydraulic brakes, you should at least have a bleeding kit, mineral oil or DOT and a spare brake hose with olive oil. You will also need a spare derailleur hanger (maybe more than one) and a chain (and a ferrule). As for camp logistics, it is known that a long trip requires you to take e.g. a shovel, maybe a small wood ball, a full set of waterproof clothing, more than one pair of shoes.


The most difficult thing to solve during such a trip is the issue of power supply, if you also take a better camera (SLR), GPS and, for example, a mini laptop. It is best to have a non-resistance dynamo in the hub and a USB output on the steering wheel. This can be achieved by buying, for example, a Busch & Muller Luxos U lamp, which, when it is off, can charge, for example, a large powerbank. After a full day of charging, the powerbank will power all devices in the camp in the evening.

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