I have been travelling a fair bit in my life, backpacking, bike tours, package tours, etc. And I have to say I’m normally not this organised. I’m more that kind of person who packs the day or night before I set off. But I have more or less an idea in my head of what things I need to bring and I pack according to different principles.
All colours have to match to be combined and if needed worn in layers. All clothes have to be light, easy to handwash and dry. An example is one skirt can be used with and without leggings. Leggings can be worn under riding trousers if cold and also under hiking trousers. The tricky thing is shoes, they are very space consuming so I only bring one pair,they have to be confortable and nice. I always bring a scarf which has multiple uses as substitute for a sweater, shield from the sun, spare towel…
I have found that silk is an ultimate material for travel, light, easy to wash keeps you warm and feels fresh under your riding gear on a sweaty day. Silk towels are space savers to!
Everything I bring is in small travelling size and keept to an minimum. I also bring washing liquid to wash up my clothing every other day.
Glasses and such
Since I’m nearsighted I use glasses. Unfortunately this is space consuming too. Glasses to fit in the helmeth, sunglasses, spare glasses… And for the helmeth I bring both transparent and tinted visor. I have had huge problems with the visor and glasses steaming up when riding in cold or damp weather but now I have got a new kind of wipes to prepare both visor and glasses. Time will tell is is as good as it seemed.
For the bike
As for the bike I like to bring certain things that have proved useful in the past when I didn’t bring them.
Tyre repair kit. In case of a falt tyre I don’t want to be stranded on the roadside.
I also like to carry my own jumpstart cables. I have been through enough ocations in the past when they were needed to not leave them behind.
I do not bring any tools to speak of, I’m not were handy. Instead I leave my bike in the garage for a standard maintainance before I head out. Then I can feel confident that everything is in order to begin with.
In case of trouble I bring a leaflet of usable phrases in French, German, English, Spanish… So in case I need it I can say/point to “My start engine is broken” or “where is the nearest garage?” in those languages. This leaflet is provided to all members of the SMC – the central organisation for Swedish bikers.
I do bring chainlube (might be unnecessary to point out, but still). I also bring duct tape, to hold things together if needed and a yellow vest to be visible in case of breakdown on the road or to be seen riding in really bad weather conditions.
And then the gadgets
I bring my laptop, it’s an Asus Eee PC and quite small. Since I hope to stay in places with WIFI I can update the blog and also use Skype or e-mail to connect with family while on the road. Travelling alone you should report destination every night to someone so there will be traces of you if worst comes to worst, that is my opinion. And by experience I also know that this is highly appreciated by worried parents.
I always carry my phone while riding out at any time. When crossing Europe three years ago I accidentally dropped it while either paying a road toll or checking the map, somewhere in the Geneva area. I didn’t manage to buy a new phone until I got home but now I have one with a cord. Besides it is water resistant and rugged – just to learn from mistakes.
My camera is an old Pentax 5 megapix. Wont take fantastic picures but it is waterproof.
This is just for leisure. When I need to relax or can’t sleep I like to listen to some music by Lars Winnerbäck.
The pain for bringing gadgets are the cables… space consuming!!!
Now when Im riding a bike with top case and panniers it makes packing much easier. The bags will protect from water and I will be able to bring lots more wich is good since this year I will be camping.
More than one person has told me to get a GPS. And I do know that they are very useful. But for a bike they are still expensive and I could probably not read it while riding. I use traditional maps. It is important to have a deatailed enough scale for the map, being lost in the french Alps with a map of the whole country of France is no good at all. Learing from experience.
- Drivers licence
- Passport and national ID card – packed separately in case of theft.
- Insurance papers
- Papers of the bike
- Printouts of reservations and directions to the hostels
- Multiple printouts of important phone numbers to be packed separately.
No additional papers should be needed for Spain, Andorra, France and Switzerland.
Im riding in cordura water proof jacket but I have not decided on trousers yet. I have a brand new flouresent set of waterproof rain gear to use in terrible weather, learned from last year when I got soaked in Switzerland due to jacket leaking.
Additional to this I bring 2 pairs of gloves, summer race gloves and thicker waterproofs. I bring 2 bouffs (tunnel-shaped scarf for those who don’t know, awesome invention!) Helmet, boots and backprotection about sums it up.