Planning for Our Bike Tour Honeymoon

In two months, The Mechanic and I will be in Zurich, about to start the bike tour part of our honeymoon. <Squee> I’m so excited!

But I’m also an obsessive compulsive list maker, so yes, I have my travel packing list already started. I’m trying to make sure that I take the fewest things possible while still having the basics covered. How can I live out of a small-ish bag for three weeks?! I think I have everything mostly figured out, but I still need to decide a few things – what bike accessories will I/we really need?

I decided that I want a large travel backpack, instead of my suitcase, for this trip, but not one of those “I’m going to be out on the Appalachian Trail for a month” type packs. I found one on the REI website, and Sunday The Mechanic and I went to check it out in person. The REI Grand Tour 80 Travel Pack was practically designed with me in mind! Initially attracted to it because of the color, capacity, and detachable smaller bag, seeing it in person confirmed my preference for it. It unzips on the top, on three sides, so it opens like a suitcase, rather than the drawstring on the top that you have to shove everything into. There are stability straps to hold things down, plus mesh zip side pockets on the inside. I love pockets. It also comes with a cover that doubles as a duffel, so I can complete enclose it when I check it on the airplane. Although I tried a few other packs on, this is the one I’ll end up getting. I’m pretty sure I can fit everything in this…REI Grand Tour 80 Travel Pack REI Grand Tour 80 with small bagSo now the trickier part – what bike accessories do I take? Do I take a bike helmet? Will I need or want gloves? Will I need padded bike shorts?! Although the bike tour provides bicycles and panniers, helmets are not provided; unsurprisingly, they are recommended. I can’t decide if I want to look “European,” ie, no helmet, or be “safe” and wear a helmet. Obviously, I’ll have to pack it, which brings me to the next dilemma – the vented “roadie” bike helmet, or my cute silver glitter Nutcase helmet? The vented one is possibly flatter, so it might be easier to pack, but I only wear it on my road bike. I certainly don’t want to wear it in Germany, Switzerland or Austria. Or Belgium or the Netherlands, for that matter, if we rent bikes there.

Nutcase vs. Giro - which to take? (Guess I could have dried the rain off my Nutcase helmet first...)

Nutcase vs. Giro – which to take? (Guess I could have dried the rain off my Nutcase helmet first…)

The gloves question is probably not a big deal – they are small enough to pack and never use. But the padded bike shorts, well, that’s another story. Our tour is only five actual days of long distance biking, but the mileage is not that great – 20 miles max per day. That’s really not that far, and I don’t anticipate that we’ll bike the full distance in one fell swoop, but rather, stopping along the way. On the other hand, it’s five days in a row – will we get sore butts?! And if I decide to wear them, well, I only have one pair, and I’m not honestly keen on the idea of wearing the same pair five days in a row…  Again, I guess I can take them, but if I don’t end up wearing them, they are somewhat bulky to drag around for another two weeks afterwards. (And there is no question about the fact that I will be wearing skirts and dresses over said padded bike shorts. And normal shoes.)

I don't really want to look like this for a week in Europe.

I do not want to look like this for a week in Europe.

I also found a dress at REI that I have decided needs to go on the trip with me. The Novara Whittier Bike Dress is made for biking! Actually, I think they copied me, since it has reflective piping in the back yoke seam! Haha! But it’s really cute, and looks great on, and will no doubt be easy to pack. I plan on needing some slightly dressier options, so this could do nicely. (Until I visit one of my favorite German department stores, C&A, and buy some fun stuff there!)

Novara Whittier Bike Dress

Novara Whittier Bike Dress – so cute to bike in! (image taken from REI website)

Novara Whittier Bike Dress - with reflective piping in the seam under the blue yoke. Love it!

Novara Whittier Bike Dress – with reflective piping in the seam under the blue yoke. Love it! (image taken from REI website)

 

So I’m asking you – what experiences have you had biking in Europe, and what would you recommend regarding taking or not taking a helmet?

6 responses to this post.

  1. Maybe you’re on your way by now? If so have a wonderful time! If not, I’d bring the shorts & wash them daily per oanh’s comment. I don’t think you’ll get a sore butt from riding 20 mi/day for 5 days if you wear bike shorts. Maybe sore quads by day 3 or so especially if there’s some hilly terrain but maybe not even that if you’ve been riding regularly. Can’t wait to hear about the trip!

    Reply

  2. I’ve never biked in Europe but have traveled there quite a bit. Not sure what countries you’re going to but I’d be more tempted to bring the road helmet with more venting as summers can be quite hot over there.

    Reply

  3. Oh man. I totally wrote out a lengthy comment and if wordpress ate it, I’m going to cry! I hope it’s just sitting in moderation. Sigh. So jealous of your honeymoon bike tour!

    Reply

  4. Bike shorts – I would say defo take, and you can always wash each night wherever you’re staying? I found on our tours that bike shorts I washed in the evening, were always dry again by morning (unless I left it hanging outside the tent and it rained …) I really only not wear bike shorts for sub 10km rides, though, and I always find that I just prefer the extra comfort and knowledge that I will not have to worry about bike shorts. If we had access to a shower, I simple washed the shorts in the shower with me, wrung them out well, using a towel to increase the amount of water I got out of them and all good.

    Re Helmet: I’m Australian, so I have this weirdness that if I’m not wearing a helmet I’m doing something really, really naughty. It was bred into me as a kid and touring in non-helmet compulsion countries did not lessen that feeling. But even then, there were occasions when we cycled in the countryside in France and Germany, when I felt okay not wearing a helmet! But honestly, if it’s not going to be too huge a hassle to pack it, I’d pack it :)

    Just my two cents and reasoning in case it’s helpful to you!

    Jealous of your honeymoon tour!

    Reply

    • I always forget about Australia’s helmet law. Being paranoid, I almost always wear mine, unless I jump on a bikeshare bike unplanned. I suspect I’ll probably take it…. And the padding on my bike shorts never seems to fully dry overnight, which worries me a bit about washing out overnight. I hate to take 2 pairs, and a ton of bulky gear to drag around afterwards….

      Reply

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