The cycling industry does a good job of creating more and more products that are all described as essential for a vast array of uses. More than likely, you don’t need them.
However some bits really are worth thinking about investing in.
- Helmet. Look for one with good ventilation and a comfortable chin strap
- 2x inner tubes for your wheel size
- NOTE: We’ll have bike tools, but you might need your own for packing up your bike at the train station / airport depending on how you’re getting to / from Thighs
- Bike lights. We don’t plan on cycling in the dark, but in case of emergencies (and then occasional thundery storm!)
- Sun lotion. Good to get one that works for you when exercising
- 2x water bottles – fo’ swiggin’. We recommend you carry 2 bottles of at least 700ml. For easy access, keep at least one in a bottle cage attached to your bike, rather than in a bag
In case it’s not obvious: you will not be carrying your camping gear on your bike while cycling. That’s why we’ve got Calypso!
- The most aerodynamic day bag option is a rear pack that attaches to your seat post and sticks out behind you (just make sure it’s not wobbly when you ride)
- A large handlebar bag will also work
- A pannier bag also works, but you’ll need a rack and it’s not the most aerodynamic. In fact, if you have a rack, you’d do better to simply strap a small backpack or dry bag to the top using a couple of bungee cords
- A frame bag or top tube bag works really well for little bits and bobs like snacks, phone and sun lotion, but won’t fit bigger things like lunch
Strongly Worth Considering Kit
- Cycle shorts really help prevent chafing and saddle sores which can totally ruin a nice bike ride
- Cycle shorts are worn without underwear so you probably want to get a couple of pairs.
- Hopefully it’ll be decent weather so you can wash one pair in the evening and dry them out on your bike during the day
- Bib shorts (with shoulder straps) are great, but can make peeing tricky for women
- Waterproof top layer (either full jacket or gilet)
- One that you can pack away small is ideal
- There are cycling-specific ones you can get, but if it’s just for this trip then it’s not worth the investment if you already have something else
- You won’t need waterproof trousers if you’re wearing cycling shorts because they dry out super fast
- Your own bike bag. We have a bunch of these available to borrow, but if you have your own, please bring it. On the ride, you’ll need to carry your own lunch, snacks and probably a warm / waterproof layer.
Worth Considering Kit
- Cycling jersey
- Can be picked up cheaply either secondhand or at shops like Decathlon
- Get one with a full zip down the front to help you deal with heat
- They usually come with snack pockets at the back!
- Did you know that air resistance is the biggest factor slowing you down while you’re cycling? Yep – staying aerodynamic by replacing a flappy shirt with a cycling jersey is more important than trimming a few kilos off the weight of your bike. It’s also a lot cheaper!
- Sports bra. Whatever suits you and is comfortable. Best to test out
- Sunglasses to keep the wind, bugs and sun glare out of your eyes. Again, there are cycle specific ones you can get, but anything is fine as long as they don’t fall off when you get sweaty
- Cycle cap. With their cute sun-deflecting peaks, they make you look and feel cool. They also keep your head warm if it’s cold
Personal Preference Kit
- Gloves. Some people find them more comfortable. Others less so.
- GPS / bike computer. You don’t need one because you will always be in a group with one of the Thighs GPSes
- You will NOT need any bike tools, unless you know your bike is especially weird. We have pretty much everything needed to fix problems that can be fixed without a full workshop.
- Shoes… AKA The Great Shoes Debate
THE PRO OPTION: CLIPPY SHOES / SPDs
- A brilliant idea – but only if you have (a) the time to get used to them and (b) the money to upgrade your pedals and buy the shoes
- They can be more comfortable to ride in and provide a secure connection to your pedals which can improve pedal efficiency
- However, you need to learn how to unclip your feet quickly whenever you stop. This inevitably leads to a couple of weeks of falling over at traffic lights.
- If you want to use cycling shoes, please make sure you get a lot of practice before the trip!
THE EVERYONE ELSE OPTION: WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU
When choosing footwear, you’ll want to think about:
- How hot and sweaty your feet are going to get
- Grip on the pedals (you do not want your feet slipping off)
- Waterproof-ness / drying-off-ness
Options that we know work:
- Hiking sandals with straps to hold your feet in place and a nice stiff sole
- Cool and breezy with good grip
- Bare feet are quick drying!
- For extra protection against torrential downpours, consider Sealskinz waterproof socks
- Barefoot-style trail running shoes
- Super lightweight and quick to dry
- But still with a stiff sole (too thin a sole and your feet will be sore)
- Crocs 🐊
- Yeah? Apparently!
- The ones with straps: you do NOT want your feet sliding around
- Trainers, of course
- Probably bottom of our list because they can be heavy and sweaty in the heat and slow to dry out in the wet
Whatever you use, make sure they are breathable, grippy and quick-drying. Above all, test them test them test them until you’re sure they work for you!