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5 Essentials on a solo biking trip

     

Cycling with a weighted backpack is not ideal but sometimes it's unavoidable. I learned from my experience after a 14 days long mountain biking expedition in the Kashmir - Himachal valley, no support vehicle, just a friend along and a lot of local help.

1. Keep it Light

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 "When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money.  Then take half the clothes and twice the money."  - Susan Heller. 

On your solo trips you would be carrying your backpack on your back so keep it as light as possible. You might have heard of Alpine style trekking, well that is something similar for biking so you need to have the essentials but move ahead as swiftly as you are carrying nothing. Bike around the town with the bag you are planning to carry a few times to check if it is comfortable or not. 

2. Toiletries

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When riding alone, you need to carry a small bag to hold enough toiletries for a week or so. Keep replenishing as you finish but don't carry extra stuff because that will fill up your unnecessary space. The things may include everything from personal hygiene to vitamins and needs like towel, good book, gloves and other riding gear for your road trip.

3. Spares and Repair Kit

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"Marriage is a wonderful invention: then again, so is a bicycle repair kit." - Billy Connolly 

A couple of tubes, puncture repair kit, allen key, a handy pump and a spare chain should be there in your toolkit when you embark on solo ride. Get the bike professionally serviced before the long haul and also get training on how to "take care" of your bike yourself. Toolkit is very important when you head out to remote places as in case of emergency it is as significant as the helmet. Do get your hands dirty a couple of times before heading out!

4. Rain Proofing

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"Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines." - Leroy Satchel Paig

Carry a sport rain jacket and a waterproof backpack if you are going for long rides during rainy seasons. We went out for our journey in the monsoons, luckily eluding the rain for the first couple of days but when we got caught, it struck us hard to main a point, you might think that it was good that we were well prepared (not really), it did make us pray!

Check out this amazing cycling trip from Srinagar to Leh.

5. Battery Pack

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A battery pack is one of the most essential things to have when you head for a bike trip, especially when you are riding solo. Everyone wants to capture and share their special moments with the world but a phone's battery doesn't properly last for a day or even couple of hours in some cases. When you want to search places in a completely new town, restaurants, hotels and much more, but your phone has betrayed you, you feel lost. A good battery pack is a must have and a quick fix to this problem.

6. Miscellaneous

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A small sleeping bag ( you never know where you would land up with your bike), headlamp and blinkers ( though avoid riding the bike at night), a whistle ( apparently keeps the curious wildlife like grizzly, boars etc. away), a swiss knife ( hardly for killing but could act as fruit knife, may be!), sunglasses ( the sun will be relentlessly shining when the sky is clear be it winters or summers)  and last but not the least a heart to survive the road, ascent or descent should do the trick. So now you have the guide to follow before packing up for a bike trip.

 "You don't fly up a hill. You struggle slowly and painfully up a hill, and maybe, if you work very hard, you get to the top ahead of everybody else" - Lance Armstrong

 

The only thing we were racing against is time, keeping up with the ambitious planning, unchartered roads and will to reach ahead. As more and more bikers who are heading into the unknown for solo trips or for group riding is increasing day by day, there is a need to create awareness. There are people who may not be aware of the road ahead but seek adventure. However, these are some of the preparations that are important for a safe and comfortable journey which every biker need to take into account prior to making the trip.

Read this blog about Ladakh Bike Trip and add some details to your experiences.
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