Fancy taking up cycle touring this season?
Our outdoors-mad blogger Fiona Outdoors shares her top tips, learnt from many cycle touring adventures. Don't leave the house without these essential items! Any questions? Tweet us or message us on Facebook.
You never know what the weather will bring, especially in Scotland, and getting wet on a bike will only make you cold and miserable. Pack a waterproof cycling jacket, especially one that is hi-viz, such as one of the Altura collection. I like the Altura Nevis II jacket
Shoes with cleats that attach to bike pedals make it a lot easier to ride up hills and save energy pedalling on the flats because you use the entire revolution of the leg. Choose cycle shoes that have a recessed cleat so you can walk about when you are not cycling. Check out Pearl Izumi Men's X-Alp Launch II Shoe and Pearl Izumi Women's X-Alp Launch II Shoe
If you’re planning a multi-day tour you’ll need to protect your nether regions with a paid of good quality padded shorts. These Pearl Izumi Women’s Pro Escape Bib Shorts are cleverly designed to allow for easier toilet stops. There’s a men’s version, too.
Your tent needs to be as light as possible but still offer protection from the elements at night. I like the Terra Nova Laser Competition one-man tent because it’s all you need and weighs just less than 1kg.
Lighter still is a bivi bag, such as the 650g Rab Ascent Bivi bag. I recommend that you try sleeping in a bivi bag in your garden before heading off on a cycle tour. It can feel a bit claustrophobic and open to the elements all at once.
There is a fine balance to be made when choosing a sleeping bag. Make sure it’s warm enough for you (we are all different) and suitable for the time of year but also aim for lightweight and one that packs small. I like this Rab Neutrino 200 Sleeping Bag weighing just 580g. And the modern sleeping mattress is very lightweight but still comfortable when blown up. The Therm-A-Rest Neoair Xlite Regular Sleep Mat is a favourite
If you have only your basic cycle kit with you and lightweight clothes for the evening you might get chilly. A lightweight down jacket is a great solution for when you stop to eat or overnight. There are lots of lightweight insulated jackets on the market, such as The North Face Women's Thermoball Hybrid Hoodie
A dry bag is important for ensuring important bits and pieces of kit are kept watertight. This Lowe Alpine Deluxe Stuffsac multi pack has different sizes to suit a range of requirements.
There will be times when you run out of daylight or you want to start early and that’s when you’ll need bike lights. Leave lights such as Bontrager Glo Black Front Light and Bontrager Ember Black Rear Light attached to your bike.
If you need to leave your bike during the trip a small bike lock, such as the Hiplock Pop Lock, will act as a deterrent to thieves.
Arm warmers, such as Pearl Izumi Select Thermal Lite, are a great item to have with you. They take up very little space but they are really useful. Put them on cool mornings, take them off when the sun comes out or you warm up, pop them back on again when you stop for lunch and take them off again.
Bicycles go wrong so make sure you have a useful bike tool. The Topeak Hexus II Multi Tool copes with a lot of bike issues.
Boil water for a morning coffee of cook a simple meal with a lightweight camping stove, such as Jetboil Zip all-in-one cooking system.