Diverse Directions: Self-Guided Cycling Tours in France

Packing For Your Cycling Tour

Take our advice: Pack as few clothes as possible and do laundry as needed while on the road. Traveling light is the key to a happy trip. After you've finished packing carry your bag up and down 2 to 3 flights of stairs twice a day for a week prior to your departure. Doing so should prompt you to remove any non-essential items.

We recommend color coordinating your street clothes (in Europe, black / gray is really popular) so that you can combine several clothing items in a number of ways. The following is a checklist of basic items to pack. Of course, you may wish to modify this list to accommodate your personal needs and preferences. The following items of clothing are recommended for a 5- to 8-day biking trip:

For men

  • 2 - 3 pairs of biking shorts
  • 3 biking jerseys - 2 short sleeve and 1 long sleeve
  • 2 pairs of walking shorts
  • 2 polo type shirts
  • 1 pair of comfortable slacks
  • 1 long-sleeve shirt
  • 3 pairs of underwear
  • 3 pairs of biking socks and 3 pairs of non-biking socks
  • 1 pair of biking shoes
  • 1 pair of walking shoes
  • 1 waterproof (Gore-Tex) rain jacket
  • biking gloves (not essential, but recommended)
  • 1 belt
  • swimsuit

For women

  • 2 - 3 pairs of biking shorts
  • 3 biking jerseys - 2 short sleeve and 1 long sleeve
  • 2 pairs of walking shorts or comfortable skirts
  • 2 - 3 blouses / tops
  • 1 pair of comfortable slacks / Capri pants
  • 1 light-weight sweater
  • 4 pairs of underwear
  • 3 sports bras and 2 non-sports bras
  • 3 pairs of biking socks and 3 pairs of non-biking socks
  • 1 pair of biking shoes
  • 1 pair of walking shoes or sandals
  • 1 waterproof (Gore-Tex) rain jacket
  • biking gloves (not essential, but recommended)
  • swimsuit

The following non-clothing items are recommended for everyone:

  • Helmet (not necessary if you are renting bikes from Diverse Directions)
  • Air pressure gauge (to check air pressure on the road)
  • All-purpose tool (for minor adjustments to your rental bike)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen - for skin and lips
  • Hydration system with extra mouth piece
  • Compass
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Swiss army knife
  • Toiletries - limited to the absolute essential
  • Extra pair of contact lenses (if applicable)
  • Eyeglasses
  • Medications and basic First-Aid supplies
  • Kleenex
  • Plastic baggies and several plastic bags
  • Handy wipes or moist towelettes
  • Camera
  • Journal and pen
  • Reading material

And of course, the following items:

  • Passport
  • Plane tickets
  • Photo-copy of passport and other travel documents (anything in your wallet)
  • ATM and credit cards. Visa & MasterCard are the most widely accepted.
  • Telephone calling card
  • Train and hotel reservation confirmations
  • All materials received from Diverse Directions
  • 50.00 of Euros per person (if you have a means of purchasing in advance)

In addition, please note the following:

  • Pack baggies for storing the trash you'll generate while on the road. Develop the habit of storing trash in a baggie until you locate a receptacle in which to properly dispose of it. Please, preserve the environment and don't litter!
  • Pack handy wipes or moist towelettes for quick clean-ups on the road. Pack these items, as well as your camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, Kleenex, wallet, pen, compass, Swiss army knife, small notepad, etc., in your handlebar bag.
  • If you take prescription medications on a regular basis, pack these in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. Don't forget to ensure in advance that you have an adequate supply of your medications while on the road. You may need to call your insurance company prior to your departure to get approval for the amount of additional medication you'll need while on your trip. When packing your medications, keep them in their original containers so that customs officials can easily identify them as prescription, and not illegal drugs.
  • Avoid traveling with any possession (i.e. keepsakes, expensive jewelry) that would be particularly upsetting to lose.
  • Of course, any packing checklist should be reviewed carefully and modified to fit the individual need and preferences of the traveler.