Bike adventures? Pack accordingly.

What kind of traveler are you? We all have friends who are organized. They know exactly what to pack, what to leave and have it all laid out in plenty of time. But we can't all be one of those people. Despite our best efforts, some of us are last-minute scramblers. Necessities are still in the dryer when it's time to roll out; sunglasses are nowhere to be found as our organized friend pulls into the driveway. We almost always forget something. It’s one thing if you’re going to an all-inclusive resort, but if you’re planning a bike trip—that’s often a bad way to start your vacation.

In Iowa, we have RAGBRAI—which stands for The (Des Moines) Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. It’s a week-long bike ride across the state with camping in each overnight town. The ride can be done supported or unsupported, but many people have a bus that follows them from town to town with their belongings. Most people ride the entire distance, plenty of folks ride a couple of days here or there.

And packing for the ride? Sometimes that is more daunting than the long miles you're about to put in. With a little help from our [organized] friends (thanks Karolyn Z. ☺) and our cycling teammates, here is a great place to start when thinking about what you might want to bring on your biking adventures. (Side note: if you are a bagger—or traveling self-contained on your bicycle for your entire vacation—you would edit this list considerably.)

3 Days Before Departure: Prepare

  • Check bike bag and buy necessary items: (tubes, air canisters or pump, tire lever, multitool kit)
  • Taillight
  • Get cash
  • Get pedicure ☺

2 Days Before Departure: Pack

  • Camping Gear:
    • Tent
    • Sleeping pad
    • 2 sheets
    • Sleeping bag
    • Tarp
    • Portable battery-operated fan/light
    • Extra batteries
  • Street Clothes & Cycling Gear 
    • Arm warmers
    • Rain jacket
    • Gloves
    • Sleeping clothes
    • 1 kit or bike outfits for each day (jerseys and shorts)
    • 1 clothes outfit for each day (off bike)
  • Bag for laundry
  • Small packets of laundry soap if planning to wash by hand
  • Sandals (2 or 3 pairs)
  • 2 towels
  • Toiletries (trial size) 
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste 
  • Face soap, toner, moisturizer 
  • Cotton balls, disposable washcloths
  • Body wash, shampoo, conditioner, razor
  • Lotion, hair gel, small blow dryer (optional)
  • Make-up-powder, small bronzer, eye liner, Chapstick, lipstick, mascara
  • Sunscreen
  • Rx
  • Bike Extras
    • Butt butter/chamois cream
    • Bike helmet
    • Bike shoes
    • Gatorade powder
    • ID, debit card, money
    • Insurance card
    • Cell phone and charger
    • Sunglasses/case
    • Sunscreen, lip balm with sunscreen, Kleenex
    • Advil, anti-bacterial hand gel, band-aids
    • Sandals
    • Bike wallet 
    • Snack bags/quick food stored in jersey pocket
And as they say, happy trails! What would you add to this list? 

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