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What You’ll Need

No one really knows what they prefer until they’ve cycled in something that drives them crazy. It’s a personal thing. So, if you’re riding at home to prepare for a bike trip with us, it’s a good time to try out some of your cycling gear to see what works best for you. You’ll be in the saddle all day, every day–so prepare to get comfortable in it!

Our hybrid style bikes are equipped with narrow, minimalist seats, not wide, gel padded seats. The reason? Because bicycle seats are like beds. For a night’s sleep they’re comfortable, but if you stay in them too long you get bed sores. If you’re on a seat for an hour a day, big fat ultra-padded seats work fine. If you’re on a seat all day long, trust me, you’ll appreciate a minimalist seat that barely touches your body parts. To protect the parts that do touch, wear padded clothes.

Do you really need that loud, look-at-me-I’m–a-pro, cycling get up? Not really. But the bright colors often seen on cycling jerseys are bright so that cars will see you. It’s for safety really (though I think some do enjoy the extra inherent attention). And the lycra tights aren’t just about showing off your bike legs, but about pants or shorts that allow freedom of motion without getting caught in pedals and bicycle chains. Loose pants can be very dangerous on a bike. With that said, plain old shorts and a t-shirt work fine. Just be sure you can move about freely.

If you want the padded protection of bicycle shorts but don’t really want to walk around in spandex, you can wear them under hiking shorts (like André does) or even a tennis skirt (like Avery does). One thing to note, if you go the plain old t-shirt route you won’t have the cycling jersey rear pocket, which, I must admit, is pretty convenient.

Bottom line, you don’t need to invest in a whole new costume to take a tour with us. In fact, we want to help demystify bike touring, not complicate matters. We’ll share our full gear list, along with ideas on cheap and/or recycled substitutes once you sign up for a tour.

HERE ARE BASIC THINGS TO PACK:

• Eyewear, sunglasses or transission lenses for wind protection (imagine a car without a windshield, you need glasses)

• Sun protection—sunscreen or long sleeves

• Rain jacket and rain pants

• Windbreaker

• Cycling clothes in layers for warm and cold weather (we bike in all weather so come prepared for all)

PS For more on gear, read my blog post on the merits of merino wool clothing in all seasons (for an admittedly biased opinion). Or have a look at a past participant and cycling veteran’s travel-by-bike packing tips post.

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