The one conversation that Elle, Mollie and I have had the most throughout this whole training period is what kit we’ll be taking with us. Yes, we all wear a lot of lycra anyway but none of us have done a multi-day cycle trip before so it’s taken a while to settle on this final kit list. Settle in, it’s a long one…
First off, what am I actually going to wear? Well, if I’m honest, as little as possible. I’m a sweaty person anyway and cycling up hills makes me sweat probably more than any other form of exercise. Therefore, my outfit of choice each day will be a pair of bib shorts and a sports bra so I can stay as breezy as possible.
I prefer bib shorts to regular shorts because there’s no pesky waist band digging in but the problem comes when you need to go to the loo because everything has to come off, including your jersey, so you can get the straps down. The DHB bib shorts are a halterneck design which means that with a bit of flexibility you don’t actually have to remove your jersey to go to the loo. For a lazy person like me that’s the dream. However, the chamois (the pad that goes between your legs and saves your lady garden), isn’t as padded as I would like so I’ll probably be saving these for the first or second day while I’m still fresh.
These are my favourite piece of kit because not only do they look cool but the chamois is perfectly padded and the bib part of the shorts provides a little bit more coverage and therefore protection from the sun if you’re not wearing a jersey. If these came in a halter neck bib like the DHB ones they’d by a 10/10, as it is they’re a 9.5/10.
As I said, I’m not a fan of wearing too many clothes when it’s hot and I’m exercising so I was on the lookout for a sleeveless jersey (also, optimal tanning opportunity). This one from B’TWIN is super thin with the standard pockets in the back including a zipped pocket. The only issue is that it rides up because I have quite a high waist. I’m sure if I went up a size to a large I wouldn’t have the same issue.
I’ve got everything crossed that we don’t meet any rain but you never know! This jacket is so light and will fold up into nothing so it’s the perfect ‘just in case’ jacket.
I love the brightness of this jersey and when you’re wearing it it’s light, soft and comfortable. Again, the pockets are great with a zipped one for essentials and it stays down over my waist, which is a bonus.
Being on the smaller-side up top I’ve never really bothered with a proper sports bra before, just picking up crop top style bras that I like the print of. This shock absorber bra has a zip-up the front which is a godsend when you’re sweaty and tired, no more struggling out of a sweaty bra! It fits really well (I’m a 36C), cradles my boobs well and looks great too.
This is the kind of sports bra that I normally wear as it’s non-padded, non-underwired and doesn’t get in the way of anything. It’s comfortable enough to wear all day and will dry overnight if I want to wash it.
I’ve never paid much attention to socks when cycling but I’ve realized that on the longer rides, you need something comfortable that will prevent blisters and keep the swat wicking away from your feet. These double-layered socks, whilst designed for running, do a great job and have really looked after my feet on some of the longer training rides.
I have a love-hate relationship with these clip-in shoes. In training I’ve fallen off my bike because of them three times, each time because I’ve been going so slow that when I go to stop I can’t get my foot out in time before I start to topple over. The falls aren’t spectacular but they are embarrassing. On the plus side they’re helping me work on my hill climbing technique by teaching me the pedaling movement of wiping gum off the bottom of your shoe, rather than just pushing down all the time.
The ideal scenario with a bike helmet is that it’s light enough and fits well enough that you aren’t aware of it. I’ve found that in the BTWIN helmet. Worn with a cycling cap underneath to pick up al the sweat it’s perfect.
Now, what about all the other stuff? Well, luggage-wise I’m just going to take my old Berghaus rucksack that was a hand-me-down from my husband because on our final day in Paris I want something that’s easy to carry around. For the cycling days it’s going to be strapped onto my pannier rack using a variety of bungee cords. I have a little bag under my saddle for spare inner tubes and my allan keys.
I’ll have two of these on my bike and they carry 800ml each which is perfect for me. I tend to get through a lot of liquid on the bike so I need as much as possible with me. I’ll refill these as and when I can. I’ll also be taking a BRITA fill&go bottle * for the evenings as it makes any water taste deliciously filtered.
As my main bag won’t be that accessible while I’m riding I’ve also opted for a small handlebar bag to contain the essentials. I’ll be keeping bits of food and my phone charger in there so it’s all to hand. The design of this one is really smart and it’s also fully waterproof with an inner sealable pocket. Hopefully I won’t need to test that feature out.
I’m forever getting lost when cycling round London so the idea of cycling to Paris without a sat nav was slightly nerve-wracking. The Quadlock holder simply straps on to your handlebars with a couple of bands, you put the case onto your phone and the two click together. Simple! It’s been really useful to navigate around London, check the time and see what my husband is thinking for dinner. While we’ll be mostly navigating to Paris using a Garmin bike computer, my phone in the Quadlock will be a good back up.
As well as all the stuff above I’ll also be carrying underwear (although not for when I’m actually cycling because the girls have taught me that cycling commando is 100% the way to go), spare socks and the bare minimum of toiletries including a toothbrush, mini toothpaste, face moisturizer, and nurofen. I’m also packing a pair of 3/4 length leggings and a t-shirt for the evenings and our day in Paris as well as a t-shirt to sleep in because the girls don’t need to see the girls. I’m keeping tech to a minimum and will only be taking my phone along with a portable charger and a plug in charger for overnight. Unfortunately my proper camera is just too heavy and bulky to take.
Last, and possibly most importantly, I’ll be taking Ride suncream *, the ultra water-proof and sweat-proof suncream that will last a lot longer than a conventional one. I’ve tried this out on training rides and it really does stay on all day and protect from sunburn! Just don’t do what I did one ride and forget to put any on at all… That hurt. A lot.
That’s about it for kit so well done for reading this far! I’ve got a separate post on how I’m planning on fuelling the ride, which will be up in the next couple of days.
If you want to follow our trip you can check out my Instagram where I should be posting on Stories fairly regularly from the road.
All items marked with a * were provided for free in return for a review, thank you to all of the brands for supporting us on this amazing trip