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Bicycle Touring Checklist—What You Need

Before you get rolling on a bike tour, ensure you’ve got all the necessities with this Backroads bicycle touring checklist. It includes everything you need to feel comfortable on the bike, carry all the goods, tackle mechanical issues and relax after a day of riding. This is a fairly extensive list and your actual needs may be less, depending on the length of your tour and where you will be.

Bicycle Touring Checklist

Essentials

  • Water bottle or hydration pack
  • Smartphone, GPS or route map
  • Sunglasses or clear lenses
  • Sunscreen
  • Emergency contact info

Nutrition

  • Electrolyte powder
  • Energy bars
  • Nuts
  • Fresh fruit

Bike Accessories for Long-Distance Touring

  • Panniers (20- or 40-liter)
  • Frame bag
  • Handlebar bag
  • Trunk bag
  • Rain covers and/or plastic bags
  • Daypack
  • Extra Water bottle mounts
  • Headlight
  • Flashing taillight
  • Bungee Cords
  • Reflectors
  • Bike Lock
  • Mirror (on handlebar or helmet)

Repair Items 

  • Spare tube(s)
  • Spare tire
  • 2 extra spokes
  • Spoke wrench
  • Spare disc brakes/brake pads
  • Spare brake/shift cable
  • Patch kit
  • Pump or CO2
  • Tire levers
  • Multi-tool
  • Bike cleaning wipes
  • Spare chain
  • Chain tool
  • Chain lube
  • Spare cleats
  • Spare nuts, bolts, and washers
  • Repair/Duct tape
  • Shop rag/wipes

Clothing

  • Bike Helmet
  • Cycling jersey
  • Cycling layers – windbreaker, rain jacket, sleeves, leggings, etc. (weather dependent)
  • Bike shorts (with small tube of chamois cream)
  • Bike Shoes
  • Socks (wool or synthetic)
  • Bike gloves
  • Sweat bands/caps/bandana
  • Fall/winter gloves (weather dependent)
  • Fleece/wool hat (weather dependent)
  • Waterproof rain booties/gaiters
  • Post-ride shoes or sandals
  • Post-ride set of clothes - shirt, shorts/pants, underwear, socks, etc.
  • Swimsuit

Documents

  • Credit/Debit Card
  • Cash
  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Photocopies of passport and credit cards
  • Travel Insurance card

Misc

  • Toilet paper/tissue
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Camera + accessories

Remember, you can always add items to your cycle touring checklist as you develop personal preferences and can’t-live-without gear. Start with the basics and build your gear from there. Ride safe, and have a great ride!

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