10 Things I’m Glad I Had On My Summer Cycling Trip In France

My cycling trip this summer was full of incredible experiences, wonderful new acquaintances and lots of challenges, including record heat, new itineraries to navigate and long days on the bike. Each day had new adventures that took me out of my comfort zone and tested my willingness to adapt. This adventure is one of the reasons  I love cycling in France.

Luckily each trip I get a bit smarter and aides for traveling by bike get better. We all have our favorite travel supplies that we hate to leave home without. Here is my list of 10 that helped me complete a challenging month cycling in France:

Google Maps

If I’m completely lost in the middle of nowhere and can have just one tool, I would choose Google Maps. I know there will be some of you that may completely disagree, but if you are a non-tech cyclist, there is nothing easier or more assuring when you have no idea where you are.  I also love the ability to locate coffee shops and markets in advance of running out of water on the route. The features of Google Maps are numerous, much more than I have used, but I’d love to learn more before my next trip. The best part, Google Maps is free and doesn’t require any updating. Note: you do need to have Wi-Fi access to use Google Maps.

Travel Wi-Fi

Travel Wi-Fi was a favorite addition to my cycling tool chest this summer.  While many of you may prefer swapping out SIM cards, for ease of use on multiple devices and quality of coverage, Travel Wi-Fi is my #1 choice!  Even when we were in the middle of nowhere with no cell reception, our Travel Wi-Fi came through clear and strong.

Not once did it fail us. This may or may not be important to you in your travels, but for me, if there is ever a time I want to have reception, it’s when I am lost and need to access directions!  For more information on Travel Wi-Fi and how it works, click here.

Larabar Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Bars

The incredibly hot temperatures made eating challenging for me this trip. Fortunately I had packed a dozen peanut butter/chocolate chip Larabar’s for emergencies, and they saved me the first couple of weeks!

A Mophie Powerstation

All the best internet resources in the world won’t do you a bit of good if your smartphone, i-Pad or laptop are dead!  This trip, we were able to have uninterrupted service from morning to evening thanks to a Mophie Powerstation.

 

We never had to worry about running out of power with this device that could charge 2 devices at the same time.  My particular device was small and lightweight, weighing in at just over 8 ounces.

Vega Electrolyte Hydrator

With temperatures of 90-100 degrees for 10 days straight, drinking water and replenishing electrolytes from sweating was really important!

I also like the Ultima brand, both come in easy to use packets that you can keep in your bike bag or pocket until you need them.  Just pour into a liter of water and you are good to go.

Bike Handlebar Phone Holder

I’m not sure this is the correct name for this device, but it definitely was one of my husband’s favorite new devices.

Since he’s the navigator of our 2 person team, tools that make navigation easier and safer while cycling are important. This simple $20 accessory was a hit on both counts.

5 Minute Eggs

My husband loves soft boiled eggs.  Every morning at breakfast, he patiently makes a couple in the neat little boiling machines you find on almost every breakfast buffet.  I’ve never been a fan until this year.  With the extreme heat, I was challenged to find easy-to-digest protein to power me up each morning. At my husband’s suggestion, I tried a soft boiled egg.  It made all the difference in the world and became a staple at breakfast for the rest of the trip!

Neck Cooler

I wouldn’t travel anywhere in the summer without my neck cooler.  I don’t know what I would have done without it this summer!  These amazing neck scarves are filled with beadlets that expand when soaked in water and provide a cooling effect when worn.  Some say they drop your body temperature from 5-10 degrees in the extreme heat.  In addition to the neck cooler, I used wet washcloths to keep my head cool under my helmet and one day I even wrapped a wet towel around my shoulders to cool me from the heat.  In a perfect world, it probably would be good to not be cycling between 1-4 on such hot days. Probably some advice I would be smart to heed in the future!

Hoo Ha Chamois Creme

Even if you are not a fan of chamois creme, in hot weather, it’s a must, assuming that you want to walk at the end of a day of cycling!  

I’ve tried a lot of chamois cremes, this particular one that is specifically made for women is my favorite. This is the first personal product that goes in my panniers every cycling trip!

Topeak Alien Multipurpose Bike Tool

You never know what kind of tool you might need when you are cycling!  While you may think you would never need most of the tools on this model of the Alien, we used most during this recent month-long trip.

Since you never have an emergency when it’s convenient, it’s always comforting to know that you have the Alien with you!

If you happen to have a special item that you wouldn’t want to be without when you are cycling far away from home, I’d love to hear what it is, so send me a note!

Posted by Maggie LaCoste

I love the adventure and unpredictability of experiencing France by bike. Cycling in France is the ultimate slow travel adventure, an opportunity to see it through the back door in a way few tourists experience. One week on a bike in France and life takes on a different meaning! I created Experience France By Bike to inspire recreational cyclists to visit France the slow way....by bike, and to be the best source of information for planning the perfect bicycling adventure. I encourage readers to embrace the uncertainty of the road ahead and to take the path less traveled, exploring roads, towns and villages that you would never experience traveling by car.