What Not to Pack on a Bike Tour with Your Kids
Be sure to make a list of things you should not want to pack with your kids on a bike tour as part of your planning process. You want to avoid bringing too much or too little of everything that you and your kids will need on a bike tour.
A List of Things Not To Pack on Your Kids’ Bike Tour
Your packing efficiency today will result in better enjoyment on the road tomorrow. When you have this list, you can remove unnecessary items from your bags and bikes’ panniers. You will end up with a lighter load, too, which means greater safety and faster speed on the road.
Also Read: How to plan a long bike tour?
Too Many Underwear
You and your kids will only need three pairs of underwear – one on your body and two in the bag. You should also only pack two pairs of each type of clothing aside from the ones you’re already wearing.
You can buy extra clothes in the local area for as long as you’re biking clothes are adequate.
Since you’re already wearing biking shorts or knickers, you don’t need jeans. But if jeans are a must on your trip, you can pack a single pair of dark jeans in cotton. You don’t have to worry about them getting dirty too soon so you can wear them many times.
As a responsible parent, you should think twice about going on a bike tour with the kids during winter. You can then skip on the heavy jackets although a light windbreaker is a good idea for spring and fall riding.
Too Many Shoes
You and your kids will only need two types of shoes – biking shoes and walking shoes. You may even use commuter biking shoes because of their dual purpose. You can then bring along sandals or flip flops for other activities.
Too Many Toiletries
You should leave the big bottles of shampoo, bars of soap, and shaving lotions at home. You can buy your toiletries in local shops, even get them for free in the hotels. You can bring along sanitizing alcohol, if cleanliness is a concern.
Books, Magazines and Other Reading Materials
You’re on a bike tour to spend time with your family, enjoy new places, and admire the scenery. You don’t need reading materials for entertainment, even when you’re camping in the woods. Your most important reading materials on a bike trip – a detailed local map.
Too Many Towels
You can either get towels in the hotel or buy in a local shop. You can pack a thin towel for emergencies but if there’s nothing to be had, you can use your shirts to dry off. You will also find that it’s easier and faster to dry shirts than towels.
You’re not going to need water filters unless you and your kids are getting off the beaten path for days on end. You can drink straight out of the tap in most locations in the United States, too.
Chargers and Cables
You shouldn’t bring every electronic gadget aside from your smartphone, perhaps a satellite phone. You don’t have to bring their chargers and cables for this reason, too. You should leave the iPods, MP3 players, tablets and laptops at home.
Makeup, Jewelry and Fancy Personal Accessories
You must leave these things behind at home, too. You have to maintain a low profile for safety and security reasons, especially in new places. You should instead pack sunscreen and sunblock, pocket money, and bank cards in your bag.
Your kids may not like it but packing too many toys in the bags is a big no-no. You can take a small favorite toy, if needed, but no more than that. You and your kids will find several entertainment options along the way, too.
Indeed, your bags and panniers should only contain the essential things on a biking tour. You have to travel as light as possible to enjoy the ride!
Tips for Packing for a Kid-Friendly Bike Tour
With that being said, here are practical tips in packing for a kid-friendly bike tour.
First, you have to make a list of the essential things needed for a bike ride with your family. Your list should include the following:
- Bicycle clothes, shoes and gear including helmet, gloves and light jacket for everybody
- Off-bike clothes
- Bike repair tool kit including a flat tire kit
- Spare tubes, pumps, pressure gauge, and chain lube
- Emergency flashing lights
- Nylon webbing straps or bungee cords with extra side-release fastener
- Food and supplies for the younger family members
- Cash, bank cards and smartphone with charger and extra battery
Second, you have to start planning on the packing process at least 2 weeks before the trip. You want to ensure that everything necessary are in the bags and panniers. You can check and recheck, or tick off on the checklist, just to be sure.
Third, you can adopt this adage: Pack half the clothes and twice the money. You can buy whatever bulky items left at home on the road but your bike-related kit should always be present. You may have a difficult time buying the items in a bike kit in small towns or finding them in rugged country.
Fourth, you must ask the older kids about their own needs and wants on the road. You may add a few items that they believe they cannot live without (e.g., security toy) but keep it to a single item. You can teach them about the importance of travelling light, too.
Fifth, you have to consider the special circumstances of every member of the family on the bike tour. For example, your son may need customized biking glasses for his eye condition. Your daughter may also need her prescription medications in the bag.
You should also involve the kids in the packing process. You can encourage them to ask questions about the trip and provide them the answers. You can also address their concerns about the trip and ask for their inputs.
You have to be careful about the items packed in the bags and bikes’ panniers when you’re on a bike tour with kids. Your first step is to make a checklist of the essential items – clothes and shoes, bike kits, cash and cards, and smartphone. You can then add and remove items as you go along.
When you’re planning a bike tour with your kids, you have to pour extra energy, time and effort. You should always put their safety and security as your foremost priority. You have to be the responsible adult at all times so educating yourself about safety on the road is a must.