What do you need to go on a cycling holiday? What stuff we already have, because we regularly go on a walking holiday, can we now also use?
If you are going to buy a holiday bike for the first time, you are not immediately ready. There are a lot of other things you need to go on a cycling holiday. First of all, you need bicycle bags to transport your equipment, as well as cycling clothing and a bicycle helmet. And these items already give us a lot of choice stress!
Below I indicate which choices we have made when it comes to bicycle bags, cycling clothing and bicycle helmet. I also mention a number of other items that we have purchased. We are going on a cycling holiday soon and will try out all items. We are very curious if we like our choices or if, for example, something turns out not to be useful at all…. Then of course you can read it here!
There are different types of bicycle bags. The big brands are Ortlieb and Vaude. They make waterproof bags and we soon understand that this is a must when you go on a cycling holiday. But then there are a number of practical differences.
The Ortlieb panniers come in two types, with a flap and with a roll-up system. The first type of bag opens and closes easier and faster (but that means that others can also get into your bag more easily). The second type of bag is guaranteed to be closed, no sand or animals can enter it. I choose the furling system. Joost opts for the Vaud bags, also with a roll-up system. Then we make a study of what format we need.
We opt for front and rear bags, possibly supplemented with a waterproof luggage bag, type canoe bag.
There are rear bags with a total capacity of 70 liters. If you compare this to a backpack that you use for a longer hike, this seems a logical choice at first. But these 35 liter bags are really huge! They stick out on all sides! In addition, they are not practical because you then have to distribute all the gear and the weight over those two bags. If you also use front bags, we really don’t need the space, we estimate. I choose rear bags of liters and front bags of 12.5 liters, together 25 liters. The Vaude bags are slightly larger, together with liters at the back and liters at the front.
For my handlebars I choose an Ortlieb handlebar bag of 7 liters. This fits my SLR camera and some small stuff such as wallet, glasses and some sweets. I take my camera with me in an old camera bag, which offers protection against shaking. The handlebar bag has hard sides and if you pick up a bump every now and then, such a camera has a lot to endure. There are also special camera inserts from Ortlieb.
As a cyclist it is useful to wear layers. We know this from walking and we like it. We have the necessary items of clothing such as thermal underwear, windbreakers and rainwear that we use while hiking. We soon find out that other clothes are needed for cycling! And that there is a lot of choice!
First, we need cycling shorts with a comfortable seat pad. There are typical cycling shorts, short or long with chamois. However, there are also cycling underpants that are worn under wider shorts and there are cycling pants that resemble outdoor pants with extra cycling underpants.
We notice that ordinary outdoor shops such as Bever do not have much choice. At Zwerfkei there is a little more choice, but we need a real bicycle shop to be able to fit a lot. It seems difficult to us to make choices through a webshop. We end up at Fiets en Fitness XXL in Goes.
Here we try on different types of pants and also a few shirts and vests from different brands such as Castelli and BBB. I like the cycling shorts from Gonso the best. The idea with many holiday cyclists is that they put on cycling underwear with reasonably normal looking pants over it. This way they can easily sit on a terrace or do an errand somewhere during a stop. You then look less like a cyclist, say. It appeals to me. But I don’t like those combinations, they are less comfortable. The Gonso cycling underpants are nice, but the overpants over them are less good. The “normal” cycling shorts, on the other hand, fit fine. I buy short and long cycling shorts, with different pads. It is useful to purchase different pads and to alternate them, so that you are less likely to suffer from seams, etc.
We do not buy outerwear (yet). The cycling jerseys look and feel great, but I have enough shirts from Icebreaker, for example. I first want to try out how they like while cycling.
There is also an incredible choice in cycling helmets! They are aerodynamic, light and have a perfect fit or not. We fit helmets from different brands such as Vaude and Agu. Prices vary from forty to fifty euros to three hundred euros! Ultimately we choose a helmet from RH +, the Z Zero. A good beginner’s helmet. It is available in different colors and sizes, is reasonably light (230 grams) and is comfortable.
Before I immersed myself in cycling, I didn’t know that cyclists actually always wear glasses. That is nice against the wind and the many flies. Cycling glasses, like all other accessories, come in many colors, sizes and prices. The cycling glasses from BBB, Impress BSG 58, which I have chosen are not too expensive and have three sets of lenses (dark, yellow and transparent).
Shoes, socks, gloves
In addition to the above items, you can also purchase cycling shoes, cycling socks and gloves. We have chosen to experience cycling first and see what we still miss. As shoes we now use low walking shoes with a sturdy sole.
We have purchased a smartphone holder from SP Connect to use my mobile as a GPS. This smartphone holder has a rain cover as standard.
During a bicycle trip you naturally hope not to break down, but a tool push is always useful to take with you. We take along a Toppeak combi tool, the Alien II, which contains all kinds of tools for spokes, pedals, chain, etc. In addition, we take separate tire levers, a repair kit and spare tire.