How to Pack for an Ultra-Distance Cycling Event

The Apidura guide for how to pack for an ultra-distance cycling race, ride, or audax. 

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A man standing in a wood next to his bike with a full bikepacking bags set

Packing for an ultra-distance cycling event can be a daunting task. What do you need to take? And more importantly, what can you afford to leave at home? 

We believe in packing light, taking only what we need, and sticking to the essentials, because the less room that is taken up by unnecessary baggage, the more time and freedom we have to enjoy the ride itself.

Ultra-distance riders must find the balance between speed, efficiency, and comfort – taking only what they need, or maybe less – and have a Pack system that supports their choices.

A man in the middle of a room packing something into the saddle bag of his bike

Only the Essentials

 

The Racing Series has been designed for riders taking only the essentials, whether for a longer single-day ride, or a race across a continent.  

For guidance, we used our own experiences of ultra-distance riding and racing, as well as those of our Ambassadors. We researched what kit riders take, where they store it all on their bikes, as well how and when they access it.

Close-up of hands opening the frame bag located in the top tube of a bike

Close-up of hands putting something inside of the Saddle bag located on the seatpost of a bike

Get Organised

 

Front 

Lightweight sleeping gear and extra clothes are stored up front, in the handlebar pack. Here, it can be rolled up and stored safely out of the way during the day, before being quickly unpacked from its chamber when night falls.

 

Middle 

Bulkier items that need to be accessed during the day are best stored in the main chamber of the Frame Pack, while essential documents and cash can be stored in the zippered slip pocket on the other side. Because of its proximity to the handlebars, the Frame Pack is also a great place to store a power bank for charging electrics on the go.  

 

Back 

Towards the back of the bike, in the Saddle Pack, is where to store items that you will (hopefully) not need to access during riding hours. To ensure that the Pack stays secure, store heavier items such as additional tools and spares at the base of the Pack, before filling with lighter items, such as extra clothing, on top.

A full bikepacking kit, including a saddle, frame and handlebar bag

 

Kitlist

 

This is a kitlist we believe can be used as a base model for riders looking to embark on any ultra-distance ride. It was from this blueprint that Apidura team member Greg Hilson based his kitlist for this year’s Transcontinental Race. Depending on small differences in individual preference, and the ride in question, it can be adapted and applied to suit any ultra-distance riding needs.  

The length of the ride may change, but often the essentials don’t.

Handlebar Pack 

  • Bivi bag 
  • Sleeping mat  
  • Silk liner 
  • Snacks  
  • Arm & leg warmers 

Frame Pack 

  • Phone
  • Power bank
  • Charging cables
  • Multi tool (with chain breaker)
  • Chain lube
  • Brevet card
  • Cash
  • Bank card
  • Passport
  • Toiletries

Saddle Pack 

  • Inner tubes
  • Inner tube patches
  • Spares (brake pads, cables)
  • Tyre levers
  • Zip ties / electrical tape
  • Insulated jacket
  • Waterproof jacket (when not in use) 

Clothing (for when riding) 

  • Baselayer
  • Socks
  • Bibshorts
  • Jersey
  • Helmet
  • Sunnies
  • Shoes
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