During my ride down the California coast, there were a few small gear items that made the experience all the more enjoyable. Below is a list of ten essentials to think about packing next time you plan a bike tour.
1. Walz Caps ($19.99): As my helmet does not have a visor, I always wear a cycling cap to keep sun out of my eyes. American made Walz Caps offers a variety of styles and fabrics to suit any mood or match your kit. For riding in California, I like the lightweight wicking caps made from 100% circular knit polyester.
2. Nuun Active Hydration ($6.50): I don't like normal energy drinks that are packed full of sugar but riding for that many days under the Californian sun, I knew I needed to somehow replace my electrolytes. Each day I sipped on one bottle of Nuun as we rode, ensuring I would not suffer from muscle cramps and keep those pedals turning for over a week.
3. Puffs Face Wipes: There is nothing worse than applying sunscreen to your face on top of dried sweat and dirt. I carried a small pack of these natural saline wipes in my pocket in order to wipe down my face from time to time before reapplying sunscreen. These saline wipes feel great on your skin and I have even started using them at home to remove sunscreen or makeup before jumping in the shower.
4. Eagle Creek Specter e-Sleeves ($16-$26): A staple for all my travels this summer, the super lightweight protective laptop and tablet sleeves are made from silnylon ripstop nylon with a perforated EVA foam padding. The protective sleeves also feature a strategically placed Power Port, allowing for convenient in-sleeve charging. The Eagle Creek e-Sleeves will start shipping next week.
5. Chamois Butt'r ($15.99): Eight days and 525 miles can do a number on your backside. I am now a believer in the power of chamois cream. Chamois Butt'r now makes a female specific Her' version which is pH balanced just for women.
6. Innate Outdoor Travel Towel ($20): While we had the luxury of hot showers every night in camp, drying out a normal bath towel was not exactly feasible. This small travel towel made from 100% recycled polyester did the job and dried out quickly overnight hanging inside my tent.
7. Adidas Climacool Flip Flops ($50): Nothing feels better than removing your cycling shoes at the end of the day and slipping into some flip flops. The Climacool flip flops from Adidas feature a vented and screen mesh sole to help air out your feet and serve double duty in the shower.
8. Stanley One Hand Vacuum Mug ($25): First thing every morning, I would walk over to fill my thermos with coffee for some help waking up, warming up, and to sip on while I tore down camp.
9. Columbia Freezer Zero Arm Sleeves ($30): I always wear arm sleeves when I ride to help protect my pale skin from the sun. The Columbia sleeves are loaded up with Omni-Freeze Zero fabric technology to help keep you cool during those warm days in the saddle.
10. Timbuk2 Mission Cycling Wallet ($29): Although a fully supported ride, we frequently stopped for coffee, pastries, lunch, wine tasting, and many other adventures along the route. I carried the basic necessities such as cell phone, cash, credit card, and my ID in my Mission Cycling Wallet that easily fit inside my jersey pocket.