When laying out your clothes to pack, choose clothes that work well as on-bike and off-bike wear. If possible, they should be both versatile and appropriate for the conditions where you will be riding. Don’t pack that ski jacket if cycling Central Australia and the budgee-smugglers can be left for the beach!
However, this could be a case of do what I say, not what I do.
When I am cycling far from population centres, I am as minimalistic as possible. In warmer weather I strip down to lightweight, firm fitting, unpadded cycle shorts and a bright coloured t-shirt for comfort. When in town or shopping, for the “comfort” of those around me, I don a pair of shorts with a cap worn to hide the helmet hair.
If it is very hot, then I cover up with a lightweight cotton shirt and pants for sun protection and in wet weather, I use a water resistant rain coat over the t-shirt. The light-weight cycling shorts and bare legs will get wet but also dry quickly.
With that atrocious mental image seared into your brain, let’s look at my packing list.
Clothes (including what I am wearing)
1 x Cycling gloves, fingerless style
1 x Helmet, and yes, I will be wearing it most of the time
1 x Sun glasses, cycling style to keep wind and bugs out of my eyes
1 x Polo shirt, high visibility for extra safety (that’s the theory at least)
1 x T-shirt
2 x Cycling shorts, lightweight without the padding which I find uncomfortable
1 x Lightweight track pants for off bike and sleep wear.
3 x Underwear
1 x Casual shorts over the cycling shorts to protect onlookers
3 x Short socks, ankle style
1 x Fleecy, long sleeve jumper for those colder mornings and for extra warmth while sleeping.
1 x Cycling recessed cleated shoes for on and off the bike
1 x Crocks (1 pair) for wearing around camp.
1 x Shower proof jacket (High visibility) for wet weather. The sleeves also come off this so that it converts into a high visibility vest.
Packed in a small travel bag
1 x Sunscreen (50+)
1 x Insect repellent
1 x Tooth brush and tooth paste
4 x Toilet paper rolls
1 x Soap
1 x Deodorant
1 x Skin moisturiser (with Sorbelene, tube)
1 x Hair brush / comb
1 x Tek Towel 50x100cm (micro-fibre, fast drying personal towel)
1 x Tek Towel Washcloths 30x30cm (x2, micro-fibre, fast drying cloths)
1 x LifeStraw (only if I think clean drinking water is going to be a problem). A portable water purifier so that I can drink from any water source.
Wallet and credit/debit cards
Enough cash to last 3-5 days and a reasonable selection of mixed coin.
Maps covering the route and surrounding areas
Business cards and brochures to support my goals
Notebook / journal and assorted pens
First Aid Kit
There is nothing surer than death, taxes and falling off your bike!
Hopefully not in that order.
Speaking of order, the list below is in what I see as the order of priority.
Sunscreen 50+ is an essential. Cycling involves long stints in the harsh Aussie sun
Prescription medicines, the kind your doctor nags you about
Insect repellent for the (do I need to say it?) pesky mosquitos
Band-Aids, a mixture of standard and wide ones that stick well
Panadol, judge the number on how often / severe your headaches occur
Antiseptic cream (small tube) to clean any wounds
Sunscreen 50+ again, it is that important
There are a lot of other things such as stretch bandages, rash cream, vitamin pills if fresh fruit is not available, anti-nausea tablets, sterile bandages, snake bite kit etc. but by now you are adding a bicycle trailer full of operating gear and should probably reconsider the trip in the first place. Unless you have the knowledge to use all this stuff properly, you may consider leaving it home.
For details of how and where this is packed, please refer to the Bike Gear page.