I love traveling on my bicycle. While I really enjoyed my years of backpacking, I just couldn’t go back to that way of traveling anymore. I’m starting to like simple things, the small pleasures of life.
These days I am way more satisfied when I do more with less, when I count new memories and friends rather than new places. Material objects doesn’t interest me anymore. How I feel and what I experience is what keeps me motivated to travel rather than what I see or where I’ve been.
You can cycle around the world with pretty much any sort of equipment. This is our gear list. But your mindset will determine how far you make it much sooner than the gear you use. I’ve seen people cycling around the world with 300 dollar bikes, cooking on home-made can stoves or camping every single night for months or even years. It’s possible. You only have to be mentally prepared for it.
However, there are still some material possessions I think I couldn’t go bicycle touring without. For me, these are my essentials I simply can’t cycle without.
1. A HAT
I hardly wear my sunglasses but I can’t go anywhere without a hat. It protects my head from the sun which is essential when cycling long hours on sunny days. I’ve used different kinds but my favourite is a soft fiber one that a friend gave to me while cycling in Mexico. It’s water repellent (so it doesn’t get soaked in light rain), I can fold it so it fits on the handlebar bag and it has an attached string so it doesn’t fly again when it’s windy. Being made on a synthetic material, you can wash it easily when it gets too smelly. A perfect companion for any cyclist.
2. A MIRROR
In very few places in the world drivers respect cyclists as they should. For that reason, I consider having a mirror indispensable. In my opinion, it’s even more important than wearing a helmet. There are many different models out there to suit your preferences. Whether it is mounted on the handlebar, helmet or even sunglasses, make sure you get yourself one.
3. A GOOD SADDLE
I bet every cyclist will agree on this one. A good saddle means good riding. An uncomfortable one could easily ruin your bicycle trip. My personal choice is the Brooks B17. It can be hard at the beginning but once the saddle has formed to your shape you won’t want anything different. I even ride without padding shorts!
4. WATERPROOF PANNIERS
No matter how well you plan the seasons of the area you will be visiting, I can assure you will still get caught in the rain several times. I personally love cycling under the rain. It’s cool and refreshing, especially in the tropics. But if all your gear also gets wet, then it’s not fun. Most of the cyclists I’ve met use Ortlieb panniers and so do I. They are affordable, durable and perform really well.