The best way to stay healthy and feel great while you’re at it? Cycling! But even if this isn’t new territory for most folks, there’s no doubt that with the right equipment we could make our rides more enjoyable. Here are some essential items every cyclist needs in their bike stable:
How do you describe a Buff? Maybe ´Multifunctional headgear´ covers it. I used it in a variety of extreme conditions and I reckon I have worn it in every possible fashion including the ‘Driving Miss Daisy’. It stopped me accruing ice crystals in my beard in the Alps, it turned into a sweat band in the Middle East and saved my eyes and nostrils from a sandy oblivion during a sand storm in Sudan.
Incognito insect repellent
Cyclists are a vulnerable bunch when it comes to mosquito bites and the diseases they carry. It’s fair to say that as an absolute minimum, a bout of malaria would have really pissed me off. I found Incognito – a non DEET based repellent and gave it a go.
This is more of an essential item in my book. Once a day application is all you need – you can sweat buckets, shower or swim and it stays on. No grease, no shine and its fast gaining popularity. After only one application you can cycle 150 km through the Sahara under the scornful, merciless sun and no beetroot hue afterwards.
Endura Hummvee 3/4 shorts and trousers
It´s a bold statement I know, but I reckon Endura make the best cycling clothing out there. I rode in these almost every day. Loads of pockets with zips, stretch panels and side zipped ventilation. And they look cool, which of course is very important when you’re completely on your own for days at a time in the middle of a desert.
Craghoppers base t-shirt
I alternated between two of these t-shirts whilst cycling through Africa and both look almost brand new today. They cost less than a tenner and are made from moisture-wicking polyester which keeps you dry and not caked in sweat. Bargain.
The Sealskinz range of waterproof socks keep your feet warm and dry even in the worst weather conditions and definitely worth investing in if you´re planning a journey through a wet climate.
A symbol of contemporary nomadism. These are the ultimate, classic, smartest notebooks, used by the legendary explorers and artists of yesteryear. I’m particularly fond of trying to convince strangers that they are actually made from mole’s skin. There are several different varieties. I use the large ruled hardback which has loads of pages, little pockets for all the scrap paper I scribble disjointed ideas down on and a reward section at the front.
Park MTB-3 Multitool
I’ve had many bad experiences with multitools. They often fall apart on me or I end up hurling them at something hard in frustration, and then they fall apart on me. But this robust little gizmo has everything you’d need and expect from a multitool, it’s really durable and comes completely apart which is important because you need the Allen keys to operate the chain tool, most other multitool makers forget about this. When you dismantle it you have two tyre levers too. It includes various hex wrenches, spoke wrenches and screwdrivers, a bottle opener, a pedal wrench and a serrated knife.
Sea to Summit Sleeping bag liner
Washing a sleeping bag is a hassle so these save you the trouble – you just wash the liner. They also keep you even warmer on cold nights. There are various versions including silk and cotton.
Terra Nova Superlite Solar tent
Some would argue that equipment is overrated, that people take off into the wilderness all the time with cheap bits and do fine, but if there’s one piece of kit you definitely don’t want to skimp on it’s your tent. It’s your home afterall. In the desert, in the wet season, in gale force winds and in thick snow and my Terra Nova is still going strong, still water tight and the poles are still fracture free. The design is great too, there’s loads of room inside, 2 doors and porches and if its hot you can just pitch the freestanding inner. It weighs a miniscule 2.4 kg and for me it was the best choice I could have made. Terra Nova have actually stopped producing the Solar but the Superlite Voyager is a similar price and just as good with a similar design. Be careful with the zips though… treat them well and they’ll do the same for you.