I blinked and I’m just one day away from leaving for Paris on my bike. When I tell people I’m doing this, the first question they ask is “are you doing it for charity?!” ….because it seems people only do mad stuff like this when spurred on to raise money. But no, I’m doing it because I want to have an adventure, enjoy some time away from home / work (sometimes known as a vacation) and to challenge myself.
This week has been one of the biggest challenges (still less so than cycling from London to Brighton though) in that packing my kit has been a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I did read somewhere that you should pack your kit, then remove half of it so currently I’m at the stage where I have my “must take” pile and my “do I really need that” pile. But essentially, I’ve decided exactly what I will be packing and thought I’d share that with you… (as well as maybe creating a reference point for my next bike packing adventure!):
Bike Outfit 1: Skins Cycle Women’s Classic Jersey & DNAmic Half Tights (pictured above, bottom)
Bike Outfit 2: Chapeau Madeleine Jersey & Rapha Core Shorts (pictured above, top)
Every single long ride and some of my midweek rides, I’ve been testing out kit; the two outfits above are my final picks based on comfort and performance. I also love to have co-ordinating kit so I can’t deny that did factor into my decision a little…
Although the jersey of the Skins kit is not compression based, the shorts are. I’ll be wearing these on day 1 as it’ll be our highest mileage and most difficult (based on elevation) so I’ll be trying to start my recovery before we are even done! I’ll then be wearing this kit again for day 3; our final day taking us into Paris.
The Chapeau Madeleine Jersey is a firm favourite because it has so many pockets on the back and they are accessible without me feeling like I might dislocate my shoulder trying to get what I need. The Rapha Core Shorts are a favourite as the chamois (the padding) kept me comfortable on previous rides. The shorts are the longest I own but I like that.
Other Kit: armwarmers, socks (x2), sports bras (x2), sunglasses, helmet, cycling cap, water / wind-proof jacket, gloves, clip in shoes
Bike Stuff & Gadgets: quadlock (for phone), inner tubes (x2), water bottles (x2), hiplok FLX cafe lock, bike lights, GoPro, garmin edge 820
Other Clothing: fitflops, night shirt, dress (for mornings and evenings), day outfit (for Paris)
Nutrition: nuun hydration tablets, SiS energy gels (3 per day), SiS energy bars (2 per day), mini soreen banana loaves (3 per day), vega clean energy pre-workout, nutri advanced megamag muscleze
I have a whole post to finish writing and share about how I’ve been fuelling for my long rides but these are the items I will actually be taking along with me. I’ve been using nuun for years now; they literally are the only hydration tablets that I currently trust. I’ve been training with the SiS energy gels and energy bars for the past couple of months with no real issues. I think I just about can manage to continue eating banana screen for the next week and then I will need a break! Vega Clean Energy is literally the best thing since sliced bread – after it got me through the Urban Triathlon a couple of months ago I’ve used it on all my long rides. Currently, my plan is to put my servings and the scoop into a small tupperware as the actual tub is too big / heavy for me to cycle with. I’ve also been trying out MegaMag Muscleze from Nutri Advanced which contains magnesium in addition to other supplements which are useful after hard training days. I’ve been supplied with single serve sachets of this so I have 8 to pack (2 per day). I think I will also pack some magnesium capsules (also from Nutri Advanced) as I don’t think I will be able to carry my magnesium spray which I typically use most nights before bed.
Personal: mascara, concealer, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, body lotion, contact lenses, antihistamines, paracetamol, cash, cards, chargers, adaptors, sun cream, printed tickets, passport
Luggage / Baggage: apidura seatpack, apidura handlebar bag, apidura accessory bag, lululemon go lightly backpack packable
Okay, so this became a state of emergency just a few days before our trip. Once I started putting everything from my packing list into one place I realised how much stuff I potentially needed to take. I did originally purchase a seat pack from Altura however the quality didn’t really seem to be that great considering the price (I still need to return this) so I borrowed the Apidura Seatpack from my inspirational cycling buddy Anneleen. I used it for our London to Brighton ride a few weeks ago (pictured above) to test out what it was like to ride with and also to try riding with the extra weight. It literally was a dream; I didn’t notice anything until I had to pick my bike up to carry it up the stairs at the tube station. During the ride, movement was minimal and I found it easy to access for the few bits I needed which I had packed close to the opening.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been using a handlebar bag from Decathlon for my long rides (also pictured above) which has worked a dream. However, when I realised that everything I needed probably wasn’t going to fit into the seat pack I popped along to Condor Cycles in London to check out the rest of the Apidura range. Ideally I wanted to purchase the frame bag and the top tube bag but as I wasn’t 100% sure they would fit I also purchased the handlebar bag and accessory bag that sits on top of it. Condor Cycles don’t accept returns so I had to order online (while in store) and use “click and collect” so that I could return any bits I didn’t need and boy am I glad I did that because both the frame bag and the top tube bag don’t fit my bike. Because I’m now broke (insert crying emoji here) from these purchases I probably wont purchase the seat pack myself until I have another adventure confirmed; They’re not cheap but the quality seems really high and also fit for purpose.
Last but not least, whilst working an event in lululemon Covent Garden I spotted the Go Lightly Backpack Packable which seemed ideal! It means that (should it fit in my stuff) I will have an actual bag for the day we spend in Paris as the bike bags aren’t made for being carried around the city by human beings.
So many Thank Yous but I’ll pop them here: Skins EU, Cycle Republic, Rapha, Altura (c/o Zyro Fisher), Shock Absorber, Ride Skincare, Reimann P20, Decathlon, Boardman (c/o Halfords), BRITA, Nuun, SiS, Vega and Nutri Advanced.
Any last minute tips for me?! …or any recommendations for places to eat in Paris?!