January 8, 2011
When planning out a bicycle tour, the main focus is often on the route, and a well thought out pack list. One thing that easily escapes my mind when planning ahead is extracurricular activities. You may have a long afternoon ahead of you by the time you have camp setup at the end of your ride, and if you have some energy left, it can be fun to take on a secondary adventure/activity. Here are a few ideas:
1. Frisbee: Even if you don't have a touring companion, a Frisbee can be a good ice-breaker for meeting new people on your trip. It also packs pretty well, and while I wouldn't do it, I have heard of people doubling a Frisbee as a dinner plate.
2. Camera: Photography seems to be a passion of a lot of bicycle tourists (hence the great photos we've received for our bike-travel photo contest). Bicycle touring offers a great opportunity to catch some great shots in unique locations, from a cool perspective. They are also a blast to flip through years after the adventure is over.
3. Good shoes: You may find yourself in a place to which you will never return. Be sure to take advantage of it by hoofing around a bit. Maybe you want to check out some museums, or take a scenic hike around your campsite. Since you will likely be a bit tired, some comfy shoes are a huge plus.
4. Swimsuit: If you are going to encounter a swimming pool or beach on your journey, definitely pack a swimsuit. For the guys, a swimsuit can also be pretty comfortable to wear around the campsite too. This is another item that packs down really well.
5. Book: Often, the bike ride is enough adventure for one day, so a book is a great way to wind it all down. (Bonus points for toting along a travel hammock to read in.)
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.