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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Bivi bag
- Sleeping mat
- Silk liner
- Arm & leg warmers
- Power bank
- Charging cables
- Multi tool (with chain breaker)
- Chain lube
- Brevet card
- Bank card
- 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)
Packs for going the distance
For more packing guidance and inspiration, check out…