Bike touring tips and planning considerations

Bicycle touring is an incredible way to see the countryside and immerse yourself in the nature and culture of a place.

Bicycle touring tips and planning considerations for people looking to engage in their first bicycle touring trip. The main consideration should always be your safety but once you have taken all necessary precautions, here are a few other tips to help you get geared up to go.


Distance, time, terrain and climate. These are the four major factors that will decide your planning such as your route. If you only have 2 weeks to do a cycling trip then consider how far you will be able to cycle and how you will then get back? (Are you cycling in a loop, or cycling one-way and having to return back to your start point via transport like train or bus?)

Distance will be decided by the terrain you are riding on. If you are on flat well paved roads then you will cover more distance than if you are on undulating hilly terrain. Likewise you may wish to try and plan your days around where you can stop for food. EG I want to finish in town X today and town Z tomorrow. Terrain also included if you will be riding on-road or off-road, which will also effect your planning considerations and you should be aware that some bicycles are not suited to off-road touring.

Finally climate; the climate will also effect your ability to plan your trip. Will you be riding into headwinds or strong rain? Is it baking hot and is water in short supply if your in a remote location? Study the map of your planned ride and be cognisant of how the weather usually behaves at the time of year you are planning to ride in that location.


Once you have purchases a bicycle and your equipment the actual cycling on a touring trip is cheap.

On average a decent touring bicycle costs around $700 USD+ and the equipment you need including tent, panniers, sleeping bag and some basic clothing would be at a minimum of $400USD+.

It is of course possible to do trips with the bare minimum and most basic equipment although “Cheaping out” on gear will ultimately mean that your stuff is heavier, bulkier, more likely to break and may leave you with more headaches along your ride. (You’re here to have fun remember)

While riding you should consider in your budget both your accommodation and food. If you are staying in campgrounds, are they free? Or, if you are staying in hostels/budget accommodation how much will this cost everyday?

Food is usually around $20 a day when you cook your own food like oats etc.


If you have never done a cycling trip then take the time to research what bicycle you want. Are you going on-road or off-road as this will alter your choice of bicycle to purchase. Make sure your bicycle has the ability to mount a rear rack, as this is where your bags will sit. Also consider a bike that has a sturdy frame. If you are taller consider a bicycle with an extended frame.

When standing on the ground next to your bicycle, move the seat to align with your hip. This is how elevated your seat should be.

The bicycle I would recommend is the >> Giant ToughRoad

Gear / Equipment:

For a full gear and equipment list, check out my blog here >> Complete bicycle touring gear and equipment checklist

Basic considerations are to have a bag rack mounted on the back of your bicycle for your equipment, and to carry a spare tube.

Here is  a very bare minimum list:


Bike light

Dry bag

Bungy straps

Water bottle

Shirt x 2

Pants x 2

Socks x 3


Sleeping bag

Sleeping pad

Spare tube

Puncture repair kit

Multi tool

Bicycle pump.

Kit can be found here: REI


Food – try have roughly 3 days worth of food on you at one time. Depending on the length of your cycle trip and how often you will be able to re-supply in small towns or at locations.

Consider buying a water filtration kit such as a GRAYL water bottle so you can drink from streams or clean water sources. Otherwise consider using Aqua tabs tablets which can purify water as you add one tablet to 1Litre of water and half an hour later the water should be ready to drink. NOTE: drinking Aqua tabs or other water purifying tablets can cause stomach upset when done for prolonged periods of time, as it will kill your gut micro-biom.

In regards to food I use dehydrated camping food such as RadixNutrition ready to eat meals. All these require is for you to boil water and then add the water to make the meal ready to eat.

Shelter/ Sleeping: Roughing it or staying in hostels?

If you are planning on camping consider what the laws and restrictions are in the country that your cycling. In some European countries for example it is illegal to park in parks and even many national parks, so this will mean you may need to tailor your cycling route to suit a path that allows you to camp as you continue. Or, if you plan on staying in hostels and hotels then try and pin towns on the map where you know you will be able to find lodgings.

Its not rocket science! Just plan your route on the map and you’ll be fine.

Repairs / Maintenance:

Learn how to change a tire, repair a puncture and re-chain your bicycle. You should know these 3 maintenance tasks correctly before commencing on your ride. I would strongly recommend just watching Youtube Videos. Just search ‘how to change a bicycle tire’ or ‘how to repair a bicycle tire puncture’ and finally ‘how to put the chain back on my bicycle’.

Make sure you have a spare bicycle tube that fits your wheel size! Yes tubes come in different sizes, so double check to make sure yours is correct. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty or covered in chain grease, it’s all part of the fun!

Avoid riding at night and tell someone where your are going

The last tip and consideration on this list is to make sure you try to remain safe. Riding at night should be avoided if possible. It is harder to find a camp spot to bed down for the night in the dark and as a cyclist you are harder to spot for cars and trucks at night.

Finally, tell someone where you are going. When you start your trip and may be away for a few weeks it’s likely you will be in areas where reception may be patchy. So let someone know your doing a cycling trip and what time you expect to return.

If your looking to find bicycle touring equipment I recommend

For north America REI:

For Europe, Decathlon:

Otherwise for all the smaller items there is always Amazon:

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