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Adventure, Canada, Cycle Touring, Cycling Across Canada

Cycling Across Canada – the gear

Once my plans were set for cycling across Canada, it was time to plan the gear.  As I eluded to in my previous post, I ended up carrying so much unnecessary weight.  Truth be told, at one stage, my bicycle was leaning against a rock while I took a quick dip in Lake Superior, it fell over and I could not pick it up!  I had to unload all the bags, lift and reload!  To think I cycled over the Rockies with that – crazy.

Must of the fundamental gear had been tested while riding in Gold and Wine Country, it was the extras that were to make my trip more enjoyable that were the problem.  Really, did I need party shoes and a cute dress when cycling solo?  All those books and a handful of CDs (and diskman!!) only weighed down my bike, and took valuable space in my panniers. I was a little slow on the technology front – having not yet embraced the MP3 player or iPad.  If I were doing it again now – the iPad would be a life saver.  Personally, I don’t believe in listening to music while riding on the road, so the iPod would be a discretionary extra – all the same songs are loaded on the iPad.

What do I consider essential?

Bike and off-bike clothing

3 cycling shorts, jerseys, cycling gloves and sports bras – I don’t tolerate the wet clothes if they don’t dry – I prefer to wash and wear each day, with a spare dry.  If the newly cleaned clothes don’t dry, bungee cord to the back will help them to air dry!

shoes – SPD shoes, sandals for off the bike.  In Northern Ontario, I stopped at a bike shop and bought SPD sandals for my bike – best purchase on the trip!

Helmet (brain bucket – don’t leave home without it!)

k-way,wind vest and arm warmers – great to have when the weather turns chilly.

2 t-shirts, 1 short, 1 pants and a skirt

bathing suit and sarong (I preferred the bikini – could do double duty as needed) and the sarong – so multi-functional.

3 cycling socks, 1 regular bra and 3 underwear

sun glasses

Bike gear

Obviously, the bike and panniers!  I had 2 front and 2 rear panniers with a custom mount to my hybrid.  Bungee cords tied my tent and backpack on top.

bungee cords (I had 4, of 2 differing lengths)

bicycle computer

tool kit and spare tubes, pump

water bottles

map – I carried a map book by MapArt Publishing, for all of Canada.

Camping gear

Tent, sleeping bag and silk bag liner.

ThermaRest – comfort is everything.

Trangia stove and fuel, matches and lighter

plastic plate, bowl, cutlery set and travel mug.

swiss army knife – so handy with multiple tools

flash light – I preferred the headlamp – keeps your hands free

toilet paper

small sample size of dish soap and cloth

ziplock baggie of washing powder – many campsites have washing machines, although as a solo traveller, I rarely had enough clothes to justify use.

potato scrub brush – perfect for hand washing clothes


toiletries – smallest possible – after all, it was only me to carry it!


basic first aid

backpack – handy to contain extras and tie to bike, and for off-bike exploring

journal, pen and highlighter

spare ziplock baggies – brilliant for storing and waterproofing most anything small

duct take – it’s like a get out of jail free card of emergency items!

sun screen and non-cycling hat


I carried predominantly dried pasta (Knorr worked well – had a few different flavours to keep it intersting).

oatmeal – great fuel to start the day

hot chocolate and milk powder, tea – the hot chocolate was by far my favourite morning starter

I tried carrying a variety of food items – bread never worked.  I did find that wraps were great – they never got squished in the panniers and kept me out of trouble.  Bagels were a welcomed diversion – especially with the peanut butter and jam that I carted across Canada.

British Colombia was brilliant for fresh fruit stands along the highway – many of the vendors would let me buy have sizes rather than trying to find a squish proof way to fit on my bike.

What about you – what do you consider to be essential gear on a multi-day/week or month long cycling trip?


About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


10 thoughts on “Cycling Across Canada – the gear

  1. A Suburban . . . oh, wait . . cycling. Never mind.

    Posted by disperser | February 17, 2012, 9:44 am
  2. Sorry, I wanted to “like” but it does not seem to like me or recognize my login (although it does for the comments).

    Posted by disperser | February 17, 2012, 9:45 am
  3. While I’m not much on the bikes, I’d love to ride a horse across Canada (in the summertime). For that matter, I’d like to ride across the USA too. I’m easy to please. 😉 Like you, I’m sure the saddlebags would be packed down to provide the essentials. Looks like you had fun.

    Posted by orples | February 17, 2012, 10:55 am
  4. Nice!

    Posted by BUFFALO RIVER DIARIES | February 17, 2012, 10:20 pm
  5. So enjoying living this bike trip vicariously! You made me laugh about over packing had no idea that would be an issue for such a trip, lol.

    Posted by PC PHOTO | February 18, 2012, 12:34 pm
  6. You did really do so well with your packing.. my partner has 5 outfits for cycling… I dont know if he could get it down to just 3 ahhahah…… well done. V

    Posted by realme07 | February 18, 2012, 1:14 pm
  7. Super cool blog! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving encouraging comments! If you ever want to enter a photo contest, you can do so here: https://www.facebook.com/DSLRfairytale?sk=app_176217385757369

    Posted by mrspedigrew | February 18, 2012, 9:02 pm
  8. Great tips here Anita – Hail the Ziplock for all hiking and biking trips and hallelujah to the humble duct tape which among other things has saved me from so many blisters when placed over the plaster to stop any further rubbing.

    Posted by Tracey | March 6, 2013, 10:29 pm
    • Oh … have not used duct tape over plasters! Doesn’t that hurt coming off???? I highly recommend a thing of skin tape. Took that across the Camino. While not as useful for anything other than plasters on skin, a major foot saver as my feet adjusted to the life of a pilgrim! Duct tape for anything else…huge winner! Prevented my backpack from spitting when it got a small hole in the canvas! Saviour!

      Posted by Anita Mac | March 7, 2013, 9:43 am


  1. Pingback: Cycling Across Canada | traveldestinationbucketlist - May 6, 2012

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