Hard won advice from 4 years of bicycle touring experience--what to do, what not to do | Spider Edwards

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Just revisiting some old notes from previous tours. . . . [T]his is the accumulation of 4 years or so and many notes stem from my earliest trips. . . .

A fluorescent helmet is goofy but it helps you to be seen.

A small frame bag for snacks, keys, wallet etc can take the hassle out of digging through your panniers throughout the day.

An airplane blanket can be used as a pillow, picnic blanket, towel (in a pinch), extra layer in sleeping bag when it gets cold. Definitely worth bringing.

Bring a small candle (if you don't have a headlamp or it runs out), in a bind you can use this to read/navigate. However, for obvious reasons, be sensible and be sure to keep an eye on it.

Bring a paper map, just in case.

Bring a sleeping mask to handle early morning light.

BRING SANDALS OR FLIP-FLOPS! If your shoes get wet, which they probably will, you'll need something until they dry out.

Buy a decent USB external battery charger, especially if using your phone for directions (check how much power is left every morning).

Buy a headlamp. It's difficult to see at night in the woods/campsite.

Buy rain boots to cover shoes. Plastic bags last for 2 minutes and can and did get lodged in pedals. YOU DO NOT WANT WET FEET!

Check all cables are compatible with powerbank!

Do a one night test ride to see what gear you can stand to leave/how the bike feels. Tried and true advice for anyone.

Download podcasts, if remote, there's likely no connection. It's nice to have something to listen to that isn't music. Especially when it gets lonely out on the trail.

Ear plugs are indispensable, do not go on tour without these, campsites and people in general can be inconsiderate and loud.

Get water when you can, charge when you can, stop when there's something interesting. It’s not a race.

If using a phone for GPS, check the phone will charge in the mount on your bike. You may need to charge on the move (for example battery is dying and it’s getting dark). The mount I picked up was poorly designed and my cable wouldn't fit.

In a pinch, you can use a dry bag as a make shift washing machine.

Keep 1 pair of long johns, a thermal top and a thick pair of socks in a dry bag (use them only for sleeping). If you get wet you will want something dry to sleep in.

Learn how to:

Patch a puncture

Replace a chain

Change cables

Fix spokes

Often there is only one socket available. Bring a multi USB charger to charge phone and battery simultaneously.

Pack 2 pairs of thick socks. If one gets wet, you'll be covered.

Paint your tent pegs a bright colour before you leave so they are easy to see when you pack up each day.

MoBikeFed comment: The tips above are just a few from a long list of practical ideas and suggestions learned from the first four years of bicycle touring.

Check out the complete list of tips and ideas here:;