Camping Bike Trip Tips
Bicycle camping can be one of the most affordable, attractive ways to go camping. There are no high gasoline prices to pay since you’ll be using a human-powered vehicle to get to your camping base and for exploring during your camping trip.
There are some important points to keep in mind before your first bicycle camping trip. Take a long, hard look at your physical fitness so you can decide if this type of camping is right for you. Your fitness level will also help you choose how far you can travel to get to your camp site. You goal may be to camp far from home eventually, but beginners should choose a campsite within a few miles of their home for their first bicycle camping experience.
When planning your first bike camping trip, select a camping location within a short distance of your home. Learn how many miles the campground you want to visit is from your home or starting point. Ride your bicycle that same distance on any route you choose. For example, let’s say you select a camp that is 20 miles away from your home. You must learn if you easily ride 20 miles, taking a few breaks along the way to rest and drink water for hydration, without exhausting your body. If you can not travel the distance, then you must choose a camp closer to your starting point or physically train to increase your fitness level before you begin your first bicycle camping trip.
To keep your bicycle camping trip fun, you need to be able to ride the required distance to your destination without experiencing aching muscles and soreness. Once you reach a fitness level that allows you to travel the required distance easily, begin carrying some weight in a backpack along on your training rides, just as if you were carrying along camping gear. After all, you’ll have to bring all your supplies with you on your bicycle. It is much harder to ride with a loaded backpack, and you must develop the physical fitness to travel with your load of camping gear to the base camp site.
Bicycle campers need light-weight camping gear. Choose your bedding carefully also. You may not even need a sleeping bag if the weather is warm. During the summer, bed sheets are all the bedding you need in many climates.
All most all of your camping gear must be carried in your backpack, so select a well-designed, lightweight but heavy bag that is comfortable for you when filled and positioned correctly on your back. Smaller bags that attach to your bicycle on various part of the frame, handlebars or under the saddle are great optional equipment that can hold a few items, but the bulk of your gear must fit into your backpack and still allow you to move with ease and comfort on your bicycle. Advanced bike campers sometimes buy small carts that can be pulled behind their bikes, but this is not a wise investment for beginning campers because they can be expensive.
The best campsites for bicycle camping provide outdoor grills and have supply stores on-site that sell food, paper products, and personal care items. By shopping for food and other needs once you arrive at your campground, you avoid the need to carry along plenty of food, preparation equipment, and other bulky or heavy supplies. Purchase food and supplies after you arrive at camp and buy only as much as you will use during your visit. Your goal is to keep your load of gear as light as possible.
Most campgrounds provide fresh, potable water at each campsite. If this is the case where you are planning to set up your base camp, take only enough drinking water for your bicycle trip to the camp. If you wish to take along solid food items, choose special made freeze dried items to avoid adding weight to your gear.
If you are camping for only a few days, you need few clothes and personal items. Remember, you can wash clothing and wear it again, so do not carry an outfit for every single day. Lay out the clothes you think you need to take, then reduce the amount by one-half or more. A swim suit, change or two of clothes, a towel that you can use for swimming and showering, a pair of shower shoes that can also be worn on the beach and during water sports, plus some clean undergarments are all you need. A nylon cooler that can fold flat is a good idea so you can keep left-overs and soft drinks cool using ice bought from the camp site supply store. These coolers are inexpensive and very light-weight.
You’ll need to bring personal items such as shampoo, toothpaste, and any medications you take regularly. Place small amounts into travel bottles and do not carry the weight of full-sized packages. Be sure, however, that all medications are clearly labelled so you do not become confused about your dosage.
You do not need to have lots of special equipment for a short weekend bicycle camping trip. Your bicycle should be the right type for the route you plan to travel. If you are travelling along flat roadways with safe bicycle paths, a standard balloon-tire bike can work well, either single speed or multi-speed. For hilly terrain, you’ll want a bicycle that has multiple gears, at least 10 or more, and is made for riding comfortably up inclines and hills.
If bike paths are not available over parts of your planned route, your bicycle must have reflectors, a head lamp, a tail lamp and other safety equipment. It is not too expensive to investment in a bicycle seat that has flashing lights across the rear so you can be seen more easily by vehicles on the road. Many areas require the use of a headlight after sunset, or you can get a traffic ticket. Be sure to check the laws in the area you plan to visit.
A first aid kit is a must for your trip. It should include, as a minimum, band-aids, alcohol wipes, gauze, tweezer, and antibiotic ointment. You must also include insect repellant and sunscreen in your gear. Make room for these items, even if it means leaving something else at home.
Be sure your bicycle is in tip-top working condition before you start your trip. Perform basic maintenance such as oiling the chain, adjusting the seat, and checking tire condition and pressure. You may want an under-the-saddle tool bag in which you carry a few standard tools, or you can store these items in your backpack. Just don’t forget to take basic tools with you, no matter where you choose to place them. Your toolkit must have, and small and large slot and Phillips screwdrivers, small adjustable wrench, air gauge for checking tires, and other items you use often. An inner tube patch kit is also a good item to include. These things can be essential for making you first bicycle camping trip successful and fun.
Once you have reserved your camping spot, packed your gear and prepared drinking water for the trip, you are ready to place your backpack on your back and leave on your adventure in bicycle camping. You’ll find that bicycle travel is so much more relaxed and pleasant than the hectic pace of automobile travel. You’ll arrive at your camping location feeling tired but invigorated.
Once you arrive and check into your campsite, take a few minutes to relax; then check your campsite for snakes and other pests before you pitch your tent. Go to the on-site supply store and buy food for a meal and a few staples you’ll use during your camping such as canned drinks, bottled water, paper plates and plastic tableware. You’ll also need to purchase charcoal for grilling or gather wood for a campfire.
About now, it will probably be time to build your cooking fire, prepare food, sit back and relax, and enjoy your time camping. Get a good night’s rest and the next day, use your bicycle to venture into the surrounding areas and explore. Remember to avoid heavy exercise during the hottest times of day if the temperatures are soaring. Anytime you ride your bicycle, be sure to have drinking water with you to avoid dehydration.
At the end of your trip, get rid of unnecessary items, perhaps sharing extra paper goods and other items you don’t wish to haul home with other campers. Pack your gear, remembering to clean up your camp area so it’s ready for the next camper, and head for home. Do not leave any trash such as plastic bags, plastic rings from multiple-can drink packages, or any other items that could allow wildlife to become entangled or injured.
You’ll arrive at your home with having fond memories of your first bicycle camping trip. If you loved your first bicycle camping trip, you might want to begin training for a longer bike camping adventure shortly.