Bicycle equipment and personal gear for your Sierra Cascades bike tour

On a previous Xcountry bicycle trip, I met another cross country biker who had been riding for 2 months. He proudly stated something along the lines of, “I have 56 items that I’m carrying and I know where every one is located.” At that time, I did not appreciate the significance of his statement. Frankly, I thought, BFD. As my trip progressed, I got it. Each piece of gear is critical. If it is not critical, then you mail it home. Size, weight, comfort, durability are all important factors when packing. Here’s my equipment list. Also, check out The Frugal Cyclist page for some ideas on getting good deals on touring gear.

Trek 520 Touring Bike

 Cross country touring bike2Reliable, heavy duty, low maintenance, built for touring – replaced the saddle.

Front/Rear Racks

Rear rack came with the bike and worked fine. The front rack was the Ultimate Lowrider from Old Man Mountain in Santa Barbara. I got a cool tour of the manufacturing store! Great guys!


I used panniers over a BOB trailer for this trip. On the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, I used a BOB Trailer and it worked great, but on pavement, I think panniers are more efficient. I used Performance stock rear panniers and Ortlieb front panniers. The Ortlieb panniers worked out great, but unfortunately, the Performance panniers did not. Spend the money, get good panniers.

Bontrager SelectK tires

The Bontrager tires are higher pressure and lower rolling resistance (and stiffer ride). Make sure to carry a spare as getting a good touring tire at a bike shop can some times prove challenging.

Head light/tail light

I rode with a small LED head light and tail light. My plan was to not ride at night but …

Blackburn Rear view mirror.

In my humble opinion, a rear view is a critical piece equipment for touring. I relied on it a lot.

Cateye Enduro odometer

Very reliable. It’s gone from Oregon to New Jersey, from Canada to Mexico, and now from Canada to San Luis Obispo.

Terry Fly saddle

Works for me, personal preference.

Zefal front/rear fenders

I debated whether to use fenders or not. My fenders fit pretty tight where small road debris would sometimes drag through and there was some fine tuning to make sure that there isn’t a rub. After several weeks without rain, I jettisoned the fenders in Truckee. Of course, 3 days later it rained.

Shimano SPD pedals and touring shoes

Comfortable and easy to walk in.

Topeak Morph Frame Pump

Old reliable

REI Quarter Dome Tent

4 lb, 2 person tent. I would say calling it a 2 person tent is a stretch.

REI sub Kilo sleeping bag

2.2 pounds with down fill rated at 20 degrees. I was careful to keep my down bag dry.

Thermarest Neo Trekker

Lightweight, small packing and works surprising well. Very comfortable and didn’t feel the ground under me. Since it is inflatable, be prepared for the 20-30 big blows.

WhisperLite Stove and white gas fuel bottle

I use this backpacking and it worked well here. Some people prefer butane stoves as easier to operate but I might be concerned about availablity of the butane cannisters along the way.


GSI Pinnacle Soloist kit, plastic cereal bowl, Swiss Army knife, lighter/matches, soap/clean up.

3 H2O bottles

Cycling Clothing
  • 2 Mtn bike shorts
  • 3 Jerseys (2 short sleeve, 1 long sleeve)
  • 2 Socks, wool, darker colors preferred for the obvious
  • 1 Cycling gloves, 1 full fingered weather gloves
  • Raingear. When you are riding in the rain, you are happy that you paid for the Goretex jacket, pants and socks.
  • Arm warmers, leg warmers
  • Good sun glasses
Apres Cycling Clothing
  • 1 Lightweight nylon shorts
  • 1 Long pants
  • 1 Cotton t-shirt
  • 1 Long sleeve travel shirt (In case I need to be semi-presentable)
  • Baseball hat – the cure for helmet hair
  • Wool winter hat
  • Fleece jacket
  • Sandals
Odds & Ends
  • Chain Lube and rag.
  • Spare spokes
  • Bike tools
  • Spare tubes, patchkits, Spare tire – flats are inevitable
  • Blue Locktite. For all bolts on your bike.
  • Spare nuts and bolts. Have at least 1 spare nut and bolt for every one on your bike.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Towel
  • Maps. As you can imagine, lots of maps and AAA travel guide books.
  • Book
  • Notebook & pen
  • Ziplocks and garbage bags
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Zip ties
  • Toshiba Netbook
  • Cell Phone/charger
  • MP3 player/charger
  • Camera/USB/charger
  • Toiletry bag, include sunscreen, earplugs
  • Headlamp
  • Fly rod, reel and basic fly fishing gear – worth the extra weight if I’m catching fish
  • Food. Lots of snacks


Also, check out my Gear for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route page.