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The Ultimate Guide to Bike Packing

Extended cycling activities such as bike packing and cycle touring really take your cycling experience to the next level. They allow you to truly immerse yourself in the outdoors. Although, it’s not always straightforward. Cycle touring journeys can range from a simple weekend trip, to months of covering vast landscapes and terrains. This means that preparation is key. From routes to gear, every aspect of your trip should be planned accordingly to ensure your safety is at the heart of your journey. After all, you don’t want any unexpected horrors, you want your journey to make memories you can cherish forever. Read on for our recommended gear, routes, tips and a summary of what you can expect from bike packing and cycle-touring trips.

What are the differences between cycle touring and bike packing?

Both of these activities are based around venturing on extended cycling trips, which can vary from weekends to week-long tours. However, the difference mainly lies within the routes that you plan. Cycle touring is heavily based upon following routes on roads that are designated. Meanwhile, bike packing is tailored towards mountain bikers and routes that are mainly trails and off-road. For both of these activities, it is essential to have the correct gear for optimal safety and minimal weight.

Our top tips

Here are our top tips to ensure that your trip goes as smoothly and safely as possible:

  • Invest in a lightweight tent – Saving on weight is key to sustaining your stamina during long journeys. Investing in a very lightweight tent will be more than worth the expense in relieving the strain of extra weight – The Laser Compact 1 and Zephyros Compact 1 are fantastic choices for this.
  • Let your bike take the weight, not you – Use additional attachments like bike bags to place on the handlebars and frame of your bike in order to take the strain off of your body. The long cycling journeys will be enough without a bulging backpack.
  • Only pack the necessities – As previously said, low weight is key, you MUST pack essentials such as food, water, shelter and protection but try to avoid too much luxury on the journey. There’s no need to carry your electronic devices along with you when you have a whole world to experience.
  • Stick to trail etiquette – Everyone enjoys a lovely, friendly bike packing journey, so you need to keep it fun for everyone. Try to always stick to routes and be wary of other riders.
  • Wear Insulated clothing – It’s fair to say weather can be somewhat unpredictable in the UK, so make sure that you wear insulated and waterproof clothing in order to combat the conditions and make your trip more enjoyable. Our range of specialist gloves and hats offer fantastic options to cater to this.
  • Take essential repair kits – Don’t leave anything to chance. You never know if small slip-ups will occur, so make sure you’re always prepared with the required repair kits for your equipment.
  • Enjoy it – The most important tip is to make sure that you make lasting memories on your journey – enjoy every moment. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the real world and enjoy what life has to offer.

Terra Nova Recommended Routes

Try some of our recommended routes for your bike packing and cycle touring trips. Ensure that you have prepared with research and trained before embarking on any of these tours:

West Country Way – Minehead > Plymouth via Exmoor and Dartmoor – 240 miles

The Pennine Way – Peak District/Yorkshire Dales – 176 miles

The South Downs Way – Winchester > Eastbourne – 100 miles