How to Pack for Bike Travel

Whether packing stuff these items into your carry-on and you’ll be gliding safely and stylishly from museum to monument to Michelin-star restaurant.

Whether packing for Perth, Prague or Poughkeepsie, every traveler needs a checklist. How else will you remember your passport, toothbrush and helmet? When travel plans include tooling around on two wheels, you’ll want to tote more than just your protective headgear. Stuff these items into your carry-on and you’ll be gliding safely and stylishly from museum to monument to Michelin-star restaurant.

The Bike

For their instant mobility, convenience and independence, folding bikes are a traveler’s best friend. The Rolls-Royce of all foldies, the Brompton offers a high-tech ride and coat-check convenience in one compact package, practically eliminating the need to carry a lock. For extra security, pack the pocket-sized Kryptonite Evolution. Going the ultra-light route? Investigate your destination’s bike-share options by visiting its municipal transportation website.

The Helmet

Helmets are a true imperative when cycling a new city’s unfamiliar terrain. Protect your pate with a CPSC-certified number by Sawako Furuno for a Champs Elysées-ready riding experience.

The Clothes

Your sartorial mantra should begin and end with “layers.” Technical undergarments that wick away sweat are a good foundation, but it’s the final layer that matters most. If rain is in the forecast (check online before departure day), pack a synthetic, water-resistant jacket that covers the thighs – consider Madame de Pé’s chic, functional designs – or go the budget route with a plastic rain poncho that costs less than a fiver at most bike shops.

The Eyewear

Keep midsummer sunshine out of your eyes with a sturdy pair of impact-resistant, UV-protective lenses. Oakley’s offerings span the spectrum from sporty to dinner-with-the-queen appropriate.

The Lights

In some cities – Paris, for one – you’re legally obliged to light up your bike after dark. Pack a pair of lightweight, compact, USB-chargeable (for example, Blackburn) lights to play it safe and legal, wherever you roll.

The Bag

A mesh-backed backpack does double duty by equally distributing weight across your back while keeping it perspiration-free. Deuter and Ortlieb offer designs that lean toward the sporty-but-über-functional side. Rental bike come with a basket? Pack a bungee cord to strap down your valuables.

The Shoes

With standard pedals, the shoe style is less important that the sturdiness of its sole. Pack footwear that offers a solid stride for walking and you’ll get the same firm feel on your bike. Treating your shoes with a weatherizing product will help repel water in inclement weather, and stuffing them with socks and other soft items makes the most of your suitcase space.

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