Whether the mountainous beauty of the European Alps, or the windswept plains of Mongolia, every bike tour has its own unique demands. And so the kit lists here at CycleTour.bike aim to inspire, rather than proclaim a fixed and finite view of rights and wrongs.
During the months leading up to an adventure, costs mount up and doubts simmer. Here are some of life’s biggest questions (December 2017 – Jan 2018), complete with solutions for a 3 month hot-climate ride from Mandalay (Burma) to Chengdu (China).
Q – Big tyres smaller wheels, or road tyres 700c wheels?
A – due to the mixed terrain, with many unsurfaced roads, I’ve gone for a 27.5 wheel, with a mixed tread 2.0 mondial tyre.
Q – Tubes or tubeless?
A – Tubes. Schwable don’t recommend their Mondial tyre is fitted tubeless, but in reality it would most likely be a great tubeless contender (providing extra care is taken to protect the sidewalls – i.e. not running for long periods at low pressures). However, with only 2 weeks to go before the trip, tubeless is not worth the risk. Also, sealant will dry quicker in tropical heat and so will require replacing during a 3 month cycle, meaning extra load.
Q – 1, 2 or 3 spare tubes?
A – 2
Q – spare tyre?
A – no – the Mondials selected are built for the long haul. However, emergency boot patch in kit.
Q – Lightweight (latex) spare tube(s)?
A – yes – saving 100g per tube
Q – Racks and panniers or bike packing style?
A – The availability of cheap accomodation and outlawed camping in Burma, means no tent on this trip. Panniers ditched in favour for 3 x small frame bags, a saddle bag and handlebar bag.
Q – Water filter needed?
A – Yes – despite the abundance of bottled water, using 3l per day would result in the disposal of up to 270 1l plastic bottles. Not only is a water filter cheaper over the trip, it also helps protect the environment.
Q – Maximum water carrying capacity needed?
A – Assume the worst – 100 miles in 38 degree heat, with no bottled water available. 3 – 4 litre capacity needed. This can be brought down a little with a water filter, using a river / stream / tap water en-route.
Q How many pairs of pants?!
A – 2 pairs of padded ride shorts (nout underneath) and 1 pair of boxers for evening times.
Final pack list
Clothes – on the bike
- Thin long sleeve cycling top
- Icebreaker LS Base (mainly for Yunnan, China)
- Casual-looking cycling shorts
- 2 x pairs padded shorts
- SPD Sandals
Pertex water resistant thin shell
- Buff Bandana
Clothes – off the bike
- 1 pair boxers
- 1 pair socks
- Zip off trousers
- Lightweight Long Sleeve Shirt
- 1 x technical T
- Swim shorts
- Pack towel
- Sun hat
- 13, 15 and 17mm cone spanners for Shimano Hubs
- Valve Core tool (for inner tubes)
- 2 x latex inner tubes (spares)
- 3 x tyre levers
- Spare disc brake pads
- Multi-tool with chain breaker
- Spare chain links
- Spare chain connector (SRAM PowerLink)
- Topeak Puncture Repair box
- Spare derailleur hanger
- Spare pedal cleats
- 2 x M5 and 2 M6 spare bolts
- Tyre boot repair patch
- Super Glue
- Gorilla Tape
- Small screwdriver for specs
- Longer lightweight 5, 6 and pedal size (depends on pedals) hex keys
- Mini cassette removal tool
- Spare spokes
- Spare gear cable
- Zip ties
- Velcro ties
- Rubber shims
- Chain lubricant
- 5 cable end caps
- Hiplok D lock
- Rear bike light / alarm (makes a very loud noise if someone attempts to hoof it with your trusty stead)
Food / drink
- Electrolyte tablets (soluble)
- 6 x energy gels for first few days
- nuts and seeds for first few days
- 1 x 1l water bottle
- 1 x 500ml water bottle
- 1 x 750ml water filter (Water 2 go)
- Regular UK mobile
- Unlocked mobile for local SIM
- Garmin explorer sat messanger
- Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet
- Fold-away bluetooth keyboard
- Lumix camera
- 4 way worldwide USB charger
- Roll-on deodorant
- 1 pack tissues
- Lip balm
- Fabric wash gel
- General ‘do it all’ soap / shampoo / shower gel
- Chlorine tablets
- Malarone anti-malarials
- Re-hydration sachets
- Reinmann sun spray spf50
- 1 x bandage
- Insert repellent wrist-bands
- Insect repellent spray x 2
- Antiseptic cream
- Emergency contact details
- Handlebar bag
- Frame corner bag
- Front triangle frame bag
- Frame mounted fuel bag
- Saddle bag (for clothes)
- Small Camelbak bag (for tablet computer and emergency supplies)
Custom-build hybrid bike:
Frame – Ridgeback Panorama Deluxe
Chain – KMC x10 .93
Cassette – Shimano XT 34t
Cranks – SRAM gxp 28 | 42
Brakes – Shimano XT disc brakes
Pedals – Crank brothers Acid
Saddle – Brookes B10
Wheels – 27.5 inch custom-build KOM rims (32h), XT hubs, DT Swiss Competition spokes
Tyres – Schwable Marathon Mondial folding 2.0