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Our ultimate guide to packing for a cycling holiday

Packing for a cycling holiday can feel a bit daunting since it's not always easy to know where to start. We used to spend days preparing for a trip, but now that our business makes us travel at least once a month, we've become very efficient. This guide includes all our tips, as well as a PDF download to help you optimise your packing and get the most out of our luggage allowance.

Thule bag selection for cycling holiday packing

1. Start with a Checklist

Before you even think about packing your bags, create a checklist as you'll be surprised how easy it is to forget the essentials. Break down the list into categories such as clothing, gear, accessories, and personal items. This will help to ensure you don't forget anything crucial and allow you to organise your packing efficiently.

Here is the one we have created for you:

cycling holiday ultimate packing list

2. Lay out all your clothes

It's essential to pack a range of kits so you're prepared for that unexpected chilly morning, rainy afternoon or crispy descent.

After having checked the weather, think about your core kit (bibs & jerseys) and create outfits. Add base layers, jacket... and always consider a pair of gloves for descending (we used ours in the Alps in August!). Plan to bring a bar bag to carry your layers on the rides.

packing matching outfits for a cycling holiday

To avoid overpacking, plan to do laundry during your holiday. Check if your accommodation offers laundry facilities or pack a small container of travel laundry detergent for hand washing in the bath or sink (bib shorts and jerseys dry very quickly overnight).

Finally, prepare some off-the-bike outfits that don't take much space and wear the items that would take the most space in your bag (thick jumper, denim...).

3. Bike Gear and Tools

Ensure you check your bike over before your trip, and book it in for a service if it needs any repairs. You also MUST remember to charge your Di2 if applicable! The last thing you want is to arrive in your dream location with no gears.

We also recommend that ahead of your trip, you identify the closest bike shops. It might be handy if you run out of tubes or need anything else unexpected.

puncture repair kit essentials

You will then of course need a full puncture repair kit, ideally packed tightly into a saddle bag: multi-tool, spare tubes, a pump, CO2 canisters, tyre levers, and a patch kit. This needs to be packed into your checked bag as it can otherwise get confiscated at security.

Always bring lights with you. Rides can take longer than expected on holiday so it's essential to be prepared for sunset!

4. Accessories and Extras

Don't forget to pack the essentials such as suncream (no one likes a lobster on a bike), your sunglasses, a couple of bidons and a range of your favourite snacks. We always travel with our favourite goods from Veloforte and Styrkr and top it up with supermarket treats on arrival.

Of course remember cables for your electronic equipment (phone, bike computer, camera...). If you have a lot of these, consider a travel cable organiser: they're super handy!

Lastly, think about insurance. We insure our bikes with Sundays (you can get 25% off with our Moloko discount). Luckily we haven't had to make a claim yet but we've had great feedback from users in our community.

group of cyclists with their bike boxes going on a cycling holiday

5. Luggage & Efficient Packing

When it comes to packing all of the above, organisation is key. Using packing cubes helps to separate clothing items and keep things compact. Roll your clothes to save space and place heavier items at the bottom of your bag for better weight distribution.

We absolutely love Thule's bag range and this is our favourite combo:

Thule travel bags are a must have

For the bikes, we both use Evoc bike bags which are very easy to use - all you need to do is take off the pedals and wheels! There are of course a few more things to consider (disc pad spacer, protection from grease...) - there will be another blog post coming soon on this topic.

We also love that they flatten and can be stored under your bed or sofa (a big plus when you live in a small London flat!).

Each airline has a slightly different luggage allowance so always google their policy before packing. It's so easy to get caught out and can be an expensive mistake if your bag is too heavy.

British Airways permits a 23kg check-in allowance along with 10kg for carry-on luggage plus a laptop bag. We love this set up as it enables you to pack lightweight items like lycra in your bike box for check-in, use the 10kg hand luggage for the rest of your clothing, and the laptop bag for accessories.

Budget airline such as Easy Jet, initially look cheaper however they require you to pay quite chunky fees for adding luggage (bike box, suitcase, hand luggage...). It's always worth comparing - BA often ends up being cheaper for us.

Finally, there's an ongoing debate about where to pack helmets, glasses & shoes. Some people choose to pack these items in a separate bag so they can rent a bike at the other end if their luggage goes missing. It's worth considering this if you're flying long haul, however, we still usually pack these items in our bike bag since we find it more practical.

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