With the UK winter and spring weather being usually cold and wet, many cyclists go away for a week to sunnier climes to get some warm weather miles in.
Spain (mainly the Balearic island of Mallorca), Tenerife and Lanzarote have long been the favourite destinations for UK cyclists to go on training camps early in the year.
All these places have quiet roads, varied terrain and most importantly all are warmer than the UK. However the weather can be changeable from day to day so you need to pack accordingly, better to have it and not need it than not have something and miss riding time because of it.
What we’ve done below is compile a suggested list of equipment to bring and also a few tips on other items to take and how to bring it, all learned from going on many training camps and forgetting at least one piece of equipment or forgetting to do something before or during the trip!
What to bring and how to carry it
Spring weather can vary in some destinations so it is better to cover all possibilities on the clothing front by taking a cap or under helmet hat, arm, leg and knee warmer as well as oversocks or light overshoes. An approved safety helmet is a legal requirement in some countries as well as for some insurance companies so bring one with you if you have it.
As well as the usual cycling clothing and equipment such as shorts, long and short sleeve jerseys, shoes, gloves, socks and helmet we recommend you also bring the following:
- Leg warmers and or tights
- Knee warmers
- Arm warmers
- Windproof gilet for early morning and longer descents
- Showerproof or race jacket,
- Oversocks or light overshoes
- Under-helmet cap, warm gloves and sunglasses.
Also in your bag
- Sun cream
- Lip balm
- First aid kit
- Chamois cream
- Hand wash for clothing
- Compression garments if you have them
- Drinks bottles
- Usual ride nutrition products
- Recovery drink powder
- Savlon, Sudocrem or similar antiseptic cream – your rear end will thank for you for this after several days in the saddle
In your bike bag
- Spare tubes; make sure you have the correct valve length for your rims
- Puncture repair kit
- Multi tool
- Chain link extractor
- Spare chain links
- Cleaning rag and maintenance lube
- Have a rough plan of how many hours or miles you want to do every day
- Listen to your body, if you are very tired or feel a cold coming on then don’t be afraid to go easy or have a day off. If you only ride a few hours a week then don’t be expecting to do 6 hours every day without something in your body giving in.
- Get out of your chamois as soon as you can after a ride as this helps prevent saddle sores
- Have a recovery drink as soon as possible after each ride.
- Carry your E111 card with you on your bike and also have your insurance documents handy should you need them.
- Don’t go overboard on the free buffet or booze every day – well, until the last night for beer at least.
- Don’t expect to lose weight on a training camp unless you are on a very strict eating plan.
- Don’t pack your cycling shoes in your bike bag, if your bike fails to make it on to the plane then neither will your shoes and if you hire a bike to make up for the wait you’ll have to ride in whatever footwear you travelled in if you don’t fancy splashing out on new ones.
Check your bike the week before you go
There’s nothing worse than bringing a poorly functioning bike on a training camp. Worn parts, buckled wheels or slipping gears can ruin your week. Give your bike a good clean and mechanical check the week before you go away.
Replace any worn parts or at very least make sure everything works and nothing is going to fall apart while away, parts abroad are often way more expensive than the UK! So, check your cables, bearings, wheels, mechs, chain, cassette, chainset and headset and bring a spare rear mech hanger if you have one.
Also make sure you have the correct gearing for the terrain you are going to be riding on, no pint bringing your smallest TT block when you are due to be riding in mountains for a few days.
Packing your bike
When packing your bike make sure it is in a suitable box and correctly packed and padded inside it. Anyone who’s watched bikes being loaded on to a plane will wince when they tell you how bikes are thrown on despite how many ‘FRAGILE’ stickers you may have on it.