What to Pack for a Long-Distance Ride
Whether you’re going for an afternoon ride in a foreign city or a multi-day journey in the wilderness, a savvy cyclist knows to carry spare tubes, a multi-tool, mini pump, tire levers, a patch kit, and lights. But Jeffrey Tenenhaus, who recently returned from an epic cross-country trip, where he pedaled 3,020 miles across 19 states on New York’s bikeshare Citi Bike (yup, a Citi Bike) found out the hard way that there are several other crucial items to keep in tow — namely a camera, lightweight clothes, and a safety vest.
“If I were to do it again, I would invest in a front and rear light camera combo that records as you roll,” said Tenenhaus, who was attacked by an angry pickup driver on a back road in Oklahoma. “In the heat of the moment, you can’t pause reality to memorize a license plate. Video with a date and time stamp gives you indisputable proof should anything go seriously wrong.”
Tenenhaus also says that if you’re going the distance, less isn’t always more. “I’m glad I overpacked base layers rather than stopping to do laundry every two days or wearing stuff inside out," he says. "Tightly rolled synthetic t-shirts and underwear don't take up much space or weight. Always having a fresh pair felt good.” And should you need to rely on the kindness of strangers, you won’t show up smelling like a locker room.
But the most important thing Tenenhaus brought was a neon yellow safety vest with reflective strips. “It’s cheap, lightweight, and attention grabbing — even in daytime. Being visible to motorists is your best defense.” Of course, there are sleeker high-visibility options if you're looking for performance-oriented apparel. For more tips on what to bring for long-distance rides, consult bikepacking.com.