There is an ongoing debate with cyclists as to whether or not you should “clip in” and is something significant to consider when going on a long trip. To clip in means you install special pedals on your bike and wear special shoes that have what is known as a toe clip. This toe clip locks your foot into the pedal so no slippage can occur. If you’ve ever gone for a ride on crushed gravel with some sloping you likely have experienced your foot moving all over the pedal, constantly re-positioning and maybe even slipping completely off of the pedal. This can all be avoided by clipping in. The other major benefit is that you can achieve a steady pedal rotation. Without the clips, your only point of thrust forward is in the down motion but with the clips you gain push forward on the up motion and transition between them. This gives you a true constant motion through all four positions of the pedal. The down side is spending more money and learning the technique of unclipping prior to stopping. If you do not unclip in time, you are going down still attached to your pedals which is merely an embarrassment with no real injury. Some say this is not necessary and others say it is imperative to clip in. Given the science behind it all and my age I have chosen to take any advantage I can and will be clipping in. I only have a couple weeks to learn the technique so I’m a little apprehensive. I have practiced in my yard and yes I fell over once because I could not get my foot out in time. I won’t lie it is an interesting concept to grasp and should be practiced many times before going on a long adventure ride.
The next vital piece of equipment to consider involves how you will carry your other stuff. A rack on the back of your bike will hold a pannier bag. These bags come in many different sizes and colors so you have to pick what is right for you. Don’t forget to consider rain. Some of the bags are water resistant and some come with a cover. You may want to consider a bag that fits on the front of the handle bars or even a small bag that fits on the cross bar and holds little things like a wallet or cell phone. I opted for a separate cell phone holder that mounts to the frame post and swivels so I can see it while I ride. I’m not even going to talk about helmets because that should be standard equipment on every ride.
Below I will list the rest of my items packed to give you an idea of things you want to consider.
- A good bike lock
- A bike pump, patch kit and spare tire tubes because you will get flats
- Bike repair tools and maybe chain lube
- Extra bungee straps
- A poncho or special rain riding gear because it will rain
- A Jacket or long sleeve riding top
- Riding pants
- Riding shorts with pads for a softer experience on your butt
- Street shoes and one or two street outfits
- Riding outfits of your choice and don’t forget the under garments
- If camping you will need a tent of some sort and a tarp for moisture or rain
- A mini flashlight
- A pocket knife
- A headlamp or lights on the front of your bike to handle the extremely dark tunnels
- A camera and any spare equipment that you might want such as more batteries, a charger or SD cards
- At least 3 water bottles
- Toiletries of your choice
- A micro fiber towel and soap
- I recommend a very strong whistle in case you have an accident and get trapped somewhere
- A Map just in case there is no cell service
- Some cash in case you run into a cash only business where you want to resupply
- Some sort of anti inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen for sore joints an muscles
Nutrition. Do not forget to consider and pack your nutrition.