Packing up and headed off to the next destination is something that I’ve become accustomed to. The next race, town and adventure await. Being on the road more often than not you tend to pick up a few tips, making travel easier! Hope this helps and please add any good tips of your own!
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life” -Jack Kerouac
Top 5 tips for athletes that travel:
1. Keep your important items in your carry on: I always pack my pedals, shoes and saddle (helmet and one kit- is a bonus). This way if anything happens to your bike you can easily borrow someone else’s or rent a bike at your destination.
2.Taking the fork off your bike makes it smaller and more compact to travel with but there are a lot of small parts you can accidentally lose. Zip tie them together and keep in a zip lock bag. (keep them in the correct order)
3. Adjust your sleeping patterns before you travel. Especially if it is an important race or if your agenda calls for early mornings.
4. BikeFlights.Com – Game changer! No more dealing with outrageous bike bag fees and having to awkwardly lug it around the airport. You can ship your bike nationally and internationally and they even offer door to door service!
5. Pack it all properly:
- I use pipe insulation foam sleeves and cut them open and in different sizes to cover my bike, I’ve seen people use bubble wrap as well.
- Put your gear in your big ring to protect the teeth on your chain ring.
- I built my own skewers for when I travel that way the fork or seat stay won’t get crushed from side force.
- If traveling with a disc pack the sides with bubble wrap and cardboard to help protect it.
My top 10 travel items for athletes:
- Water bottle + Nuun: Hydration is crucial during travel. Bring an empty water bottle to fill up after the security point and drop a tab of Nuun in to keep you hydrated with electrolytes and magnesium!
- Snacks! If you’re flight gets delayed it’s always great to have fresh and healthy snacks on hand. Plus it saves you from buying the $12 airport sandwich which you could have made at home.
- Marc Pro: Keeping blood flowing is essential for having your legs feel fresh. It increases circulation and helps aid recovery. I never leave home without mine!
- Compression Socks! A lot of people have issues with swelling during travel, compression socks help increase circulation and reduce swelling.
- Personal USB Charger. After so many canceled and delayed flights the last thing you want is to find out your flight is delayed and work out new travel arrangements with 10% left on your battery. Trust me it happened in Italy and it wasn’t fun.
- Eye Mask- If the person next to you wants to read Harry Potter for the 20th time it doesn’t matter, you can stay in the dark and get some shut eye. Bring ear plus too! Getting good sleep helps avoid jet lag.
- COFFEE!! Almost all good bike rides start with good coffee! I’ve been to some pretty small towns and stayed with host families that only drink Folgers. Not only does bringing good coffee keep you happy, you’re able to enlighten you host family to the great world of dark roasts. My favorite: http://www.grimpeurbros.com/
- Luggage Packing Cubes- Having cubes makes it easy to pack your necessary items in specific cubes i.e. ‘Cycling clothing cube’, ‘normal people clothes cubes’, ‘spare bike parts cube’ , ‘toiletries cube’
- Vinyasa Scarf! This is the best scarf ever and it doubles as a small blanket or pillow.
- Collapsible Tupperware: What else are you going to pack your snacks in?? Plus it’s collapsible so it doesn’t take up much space. This one is so good that my fiance stole mine!
- Bonus: (International Travel) Don’t forget your outlet adapter and bring Tums. Trying new and local cuisine if fun but not always friendly to your body.
(What my race bag looks like)