Beginning July 7th and continuing for the next three weeks through the 29th, 20 to 22 teams of 9 male bicyclists will be peddling their way through France and nearby countries. Traditionally in July, the Tour de France bicycling race was first held in 1903 to increase sales of the French newspaper, L’ Auto—the race is currently ran by the Amaury Sport Organisation. With the exception of the events interruption during two World Wars, the race has been carried on annually since its inception.
Like all of the Grand Tour bike races (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a España), the Tour de France consists of 21 stages—the route alternates between clockwise and counterclockwise circuits, and although the route changes every year, the Tour always passes through the Pyrenees, the Alps, and finishes on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, covering about 2,200 miles.
You won’t likely be participating in the Tour de France,
but whether riding for time or pleasure…
Checkout these 5 Tips for lightening your load to maximize the success and enjoyment of your next ride—
1. Water Weight
Water is heavy. To lighten your pack weight when cycling, it’s important to have enough water to be properly hydrated, but not to take more than you’ll need. A liquid gallon of water weighs about 8.34 pounds, so consider the time you’ll be riding and the temperature forecasted for the day and plan accordingly.
A typical 32 oz. reusable plastic bottle weighs 6 ounces or more, so swap out heavy water bottles for lighter bottles and hydration packs available on the market, or reuse empty water or pop bottles that only weigh a little over an ounce.
Hydrate before you start your ride—that’s water you don’t have to carry. The National Athletic Trainers' Association recommends drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours prior to exercise, and 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during heavy exertion. Water intake can be safely reduced on a leisurely ride.
2. Pack Light, Eat Hearty
You’ll want some real-food, not just liquids on your ride. Solid food takes more time to digest before it passes into the gut where it’s absorbed into the body. Gastrointestinal health can be improved when the risk of food moving too quickly to the gut is reduced.
Finding healthy food that’s easy to pack and still allows you to stick to your nutrition goals can be a challenge. Think real food ingredients prepared in ways that keep it light and compact. Wild Zora has developed a process to create healthy snacks that a packed with nutrition for energy in compact little bars—they’re light-to-carry and a healthy alternative to sugary foods. Wild Zora Meat & Veggie Bars are low carb and high protein to fuel your body with energy.
You’ll also want to take food that doesn’t need to be cooled—spoiled food or the added weight of cold packs isn’t necessary and it will up your pack weight. Wild Zora Meat & Veggies bars don’t need to be refrigerated.
3. Repackage to Reduce Weight and Space
You’re not going to use a whole bottle of sunscreen on your ride—squirt just what you need into a smaller container to save on space and weight.
Do the same with food—repackage any food that you’ll be taking on your ride so that you’re not carrying more than you’ll eat—you’ll also reduce the space taken up in your pack. Use resealable plastic bags to repackage trail mix or other snacks to take just what you’ll eat, and to reduce the size of puffy, air-filled packages—you may even be able to carry a smaller pack. Wild Zora Meat & Veggies Bars come in flat, individual serving packs that aren’t filled with space-hogging air.
Even the contents of your wallet can be pared down—ID, insurance card, a credit card, and some cash is all you’ll probably need.
4. Dress Light, Layered, and Keep it Basic
If you’re starting a ride early in the morning, or you’ll be riding into the evening, you’ll most likely want to have some layers of clothing—you’ll also want to be prepared for rain—take the lightest options and only pack what you’ll need and likely. use.
Lightweight down or synthetic jackets provide the warmth you’ll need for cooler parts of your ride, and then can be easily rolled to a condensed size to fit in your pack when you’re not wearing it. The lightest rain jacket possible or even a plastic poncho can be worn over a jacket—leave the heavy duty gear at home. Zip-off pants are often made of light-weight material that dries quickly when wet—they’re a great option for transition from cool to warm parts of your ride.
5. Share Your Gear
Riding with others? Everyone doesn’t need to bring a tool kit for tire changing and bike repairs. And it’s unlikely that more than one rider will get a flat, so every pack doesn’t need to have a spare tube. One first aid kit will do. Make a list of all the gear that can be shared and then distribute it among the riders to reduce everyones carry load.
Packing light to make your next bike ride as enjoyable as possible just takes a little planning. Each time you go out, you can become better and better at packing the lightest items and just what you need. Have a pack checklist and after each ride, note your unused items and leave them behind when you pack for your cycle outing next time.