Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Packing Tips

There is nothing worse than going on a trip and arriving at your destination only to discover that you have left something vital behind. This is especially true when you are going away for a bike race. After spending the last month on the road and having to live out of a suitcase, I have some tips for ensuring that you have everything that you need at your final destination and more importantly, for race day.

1. Pack clothing for every possible type of weather. This goes for casual clothing and cycling clothing. There is nothing worse than being caught out in freezing rain with only a pair of arm warmers to wear. The weather channel might say that it is going to be sunny and fine, but don’t trust it! So far this year, the European ‘summer’ has meant that you have to pack for sun and snow.

2. Bring a spare pair of cycling shoes. In my last 9 days of racing, every person in the team except 1, has crashed. Usually, the first thing to hit the ground is your shoes and this means buckles can break or cleats can snap. If you don’t have a spare pair of shoes, you can’t race again the next day!

3. Pack a set of kit and shoes into your carry-on bag. Believe it or not, airlines are not perfect and they may lose your luggage. They make take a few hours to get your bag back to you, they may take a few days. If you arrive at your destination 1 day before the race and all of your gear is lost then at least you will have one set of gear with you and you can start!

4. Carry your helmet on board the plane with you. It takes a lot of force to break a helmet, yet somehow, if you pack your helmet with your bike or in your suitcase, it is very likely to get cracked or damaged. You may look a bit weird carrying around a helmet with you but at least it stays in one piece.
5. Pack more cycling kit than casual clothes. When you are at a bike race, you spend the majority of your time in cycling kit or asleep in the hotel room so there is actually very little need for casual clothes. Don’t waste valuable suitcase real estate with clothes that you are not going to wear!

6. Don’t forget your chargers! When you are away from home, electronics become your main source of entertainment and communication so you need to charge them! That means, don’t forget an international adaptor, batteries and a range of USB cables!

7. Pack a laundry bag. Most hotels have a laundry that you can do your washing in. This is helpful when you are producing sweaty cycling clothes every day. When there are 5 other guys doing the same thing, it is much easier to keep your clothes separate in a laundry bag.

8. Label your stuff. In a team where everyone dresses exactly the same and has exactly the same equipment it is very easy to lose your things. Having your name on it means you will get it back eventually.

9. Don’t waste space with a towel. Every hotel will give you a towel so don’t pack one. They just take up too much space and you won’t even use it!

10. Leave some space in your suitcase. No matter how hard you try, you will always end up bringing back more than you took with you. This might be souvenirs, gifts, memorabilia or prizes but make sure you leave enough room for them.

So that is my top 10 tips for packing for a bike race. Just follow these and you can’t go wrong!

1 comment:

  1. Extremely good post. Really, really good. Will be using some of these tips soon. Keep it up.