Bike touring for girls

Lil' Stacie GRRRRRL

This advice is geared towards female amateurs wanting to embark on a unique adventure. These tips come from observations made on the road, and lessons learned along the way.

Packing only essentials is not just a figure of speech. You must realize that almost everything that you pack will be with you for the duration of your trip. Key items, useful tools, and versatile clothes should make up the bulk of your packed goods. Remember that a bike trip is not a beauty competition; most of your day will be spent on your bike seat pedalling to your next destination. Hair dryers, curling irons, high heels are not necessary items. Save room in your saddle bags for something useful…like an extra pair of padded bike shorts.

When packing, think of things that can be worn both on and off the bike and items that are versatile enough to help you cope with the ever-changing weather. Pack clothing that will dry quickly, is dryer friendly and water resistant. Minimizing your cargo to the bare essentials is hard, but will make life on your bike easier. Less to pack up, less to carry, less to wash… less is better!

As far as clothing is concerned, the one item that should not be over looked is a comfortable pair of riding shorts. The tight padded short when paired with the proper female bike seat will be a lifesaver. Since the seat is where the bulk of your time will be spent, buy a proper female seat. It will ensure that soreness will be kept to a minimum. That being said, your butt will hurt in the beginning of your trip. Soreness and chaffing will happen. Be prepared with a healthy supply of Ibuprofine and Vaseline.

When on the road for a long time, it is almost a guarantee that you will run into your feminine cycle. Menstruation can be a nuisance, but being prepared can help. Tampons without applicators is recommended. Not only do they take up little room in your pack, but they are more environmentally friendly.

For the days that you won’t have the luxury of a shower (or a random watering hole) as a bathing option, your answer is wet naps or baby wipes. Appropriately dubbed “the poor man’s shower”, this hygienic trick will make you feel fresh and will get you to your next stop.

Another piece of advice is use sunglasses and apply sunscreen. Being in direct sunlight and sweating continuously means repeated applications are important.

A final word of advice: Train before setting forth on your adventure! Whether it is an overnight practice trip, or making an effort to put miles on your bike every day, any and all time put in on your bike will be beneficial. Any practice will improve your performance and endurance, making your trip more enjoyable. Learn as much as you can about your bike before you set off. From changing gears, to changing tires; be knowledgeable and comfortable with your bike.

Bike touring lets you see the country in a different light. You get to experience amazing things first hand, as well as learn lots about yourself. Be sure to take everything in. Enjoy. Explore. Live.