Packing for your cycling holiday or training camp is one of the more exciting things to be doing, right? There are a few things you need to think about when packing.
Is there a weight limit for your baggage?
Are you taking hold luggage and what size cabin bag are you allowed? Let’s say you have one hold bag and a cabin bag, fairly standard. If you are not taking a hold bag then this will change the way you pack considerably.
What time of year are you going? If you are going early spring time which is when a lot of avid cyclists decide to go, this is simply because the race season is about to start and most riders want to be super fit in time for it. The weather can be a little changeable. You are not guaranteed 100% sunshine at this time of year in most places such as Calpe, Majorca, Portugal etc. There is a chance of some rain and cold temperatures, however there is also some very nice warm days at this time of year too. So packing accordingly without packing the whole wardrobe can be a little challenging.
Firstly you are definately going to need two to three pairs of shorts. A wash and a wear. However, if you are riding two times a day for whatever reason then you may want to consider a third pair. It’s quite easy to wash the shorts and hang them to dry in the day. They will dry quickly in time for the next ride.
Secondly, you will need two to three jerseys. Team this with some leg warmers and arm warmers and this covers a lot of different temperatures. If you are going to Spain or France at this time of year it is highly unlikely you would need winter tights.
When choosing a baselayer a spring baselayer and a winter baselayer is probably a good idea as this does cover warm and cold days.
Always take a rain coat no matter what! They are small to carry and barely take up any room.
A gilet – This is something you will take with you every day no matter what. The long descents can leave you feeling very cold if you don’t chuck your gilet on. So make sure you pack one or two.
What kind of cycling will you be doing?
Are you road riding, mountain biking or a bit of both? If it is a bit of both then most road cycling clothing can double up to mtb days. However, if you want to take a set of baggies then you will have to make a decision based on the room you have in your luggage. Maybe you fancy just taking some knee and elbow protection instead as a compromise.
What type of holiday is it?
Adventure, touring or race fitness speed and endurance work? If you are going on a bit of an adventure around the country then there are many things to think about. Are you taking a tent? Pannier racks and pannier bags, all tools and equipment such as pumps, tubes, tools, spares and repairs and cooking equipment? If so then you will be travelling heavy and will need to do a fair bit of planning and have a test run on your bike before leaving for your adventure.
If you are cycling for training and racing then riding light will be the most important thing. Ride light, but ensure you have the important things like a multitool with chain tool, hand pump, inner tubes, tyre levers, and nutrition such as bottles of energy drink, gels and bars. If you are planning on long days in the saddle, then you will quickly deplete your carbohydrate stores.
Are you taking your own bike or are you hiring a bike there?
If you are taking your own bike then a heavy duty travel case for your bike is ideal. If you are hiring a bike it’s a good idea to plan ahead and book your bike as they can book up quickly at peak times. It’s good to know your saddle height and reach so you can set up your bike as closely as your own bike a possible when you get there. Don’t forget your saddle and pedal though. Rising on a different saddle may cause unwanted pain and discomfort.
Do you know the area?
What mapping, GPS or guidance are you taking. Most cycling computers are pretty good these days and offer maps built into the device. Double check your device has the relevant maps on before you go. Extra maps can be purchased quite easily now.
However, a lot of cycling destinations offer guided rides which are great for helping you to get to know the area. Some of the popular destinations also have many keen cycling groups that meet in certain locations at the same time everyday. Ask the locals when you get there.
Don’t forget you can always rely on the good old-fashioned paper map too! They never fail, so worst case scenario that you lose your mates and your device runs out of battery you can always look at the map!
What will you be doing when you're not on the bike?
Whilst you will spend most of your time on the bike, you are not going to be on it the whole time! You may fancy a litte dip in the sea or the pool, put your filpflops on to let the air get to your feet! You have to style it up some nice Assos ones. Once you have had a nice refreshing dip it may be worth getting some compression socks on to make sure you are getting the maxium recovery inbetween rides.
How are you going to log your memories and experiences?
Taking photos and videos of your trip is great so you can look back on your trip and reminisce. Most smartphones take really good photos so that’s pretty good. However, do you want to take any video footage? This can be great for capturing a great descent or videoing your mates up a big climb. There are many fantastic small cameras on the market now that fit neatly on the bike either mounted on the handlebars or on the seatpost.