Bike Touring Essentials

bike touring essentials

London Tower Bridge, England



In the last ten years, I have covered over ten thousand miles bike touring across the globe. North America, New Zealand and Europe. Over the years I have learnt what bike touring essentials are needed to make the long days on the saddle comfortable. Below is a list of my bike touring essentials.

Lake Annecy, France

1. You don’t need the best bike on the market to get around the world. I bought my Ridgeback in 2012, which was a mid-range bike. It survived America and New Zealand in 2012 and Europe in 2017 plus it gets me around London pretty well. Ridgeback Bikes

It also came out without a bruise in a head-on collision with a car, sadly however my face didn’t!!

Italy 2017

2. On my first trip I decided to stick with the standard saddle I was given. Big mistake, my backside was in constant pain throughout.

Then I got a Brooks saddle which is a must on long-distance cycling but give yourself a couple of weeks to break it in. Brooks Saddle

The Bike

3. I have a steel bike, and it had served me well although pretty heavy but It doesn’t have to be steel.

Aluminium-frame bicycles are cheaper, lighter and durable enough for the job, providing you ride sensibly.

4. All my cycling expeditions, I always have travelled with Four panniers. 2012 Ortlieb panniers across America and 2017 Brooks panniers across Europe. 

This requires having both front and back frames fitted to your bicycle, and it provides balance.

Cycling with a rucksack can lead to back pain and a pretty miserable trip while towing a trailer means two extra wheels that could suffer punctures.

Ortlieb PanniersBrooks Panniers

The Must Have

5. Schrader tyre valves, also known as “car-type” valves, are more practical than Presta valves as they can be inflated at any garage, but also buy a decent pump.

Switzerland 2017

6.  Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour Tyres. Three thousand five hundred miles cycling across America 32 punctures and one worn-out tyre. Three thousand five hundred miles across Europe with Schwalbe tyre 0 punctures. Enough said. 

7. Be Friendly and adaptable to every situation that is thrown in front of you. It will rain, you will probably get a puncture, but you will meet some incredible and hospitable people.

8. Battery power pack to charge your electronics – Anker was the ones I used

Bay of Kotor 2017

9. A good camera or camera phone because everyone loves good pictures and memories to show the grandchildren! I use a Samsung phone and Sony Alpha A6300

Nebraska 2012

10. Most importantly of all, do it and enjoy it. When I started, I had never cycled more than seventeen miles, and then I landed in America and had seventy miles on my first day. You don’t have to be super fit, just a positive mindset and a friendly smile always go a long way.

Bonus Feature

Bonus feature ……biodegradable loo roll or toilet paper, bog roll whatever you want to call it because you never know where you will be when the call of nature happens.


Let me know if you have done any Bike touring and what essential items got you through ??

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