I have been traveling a lot this year and I’ve learned a lot of lessons and picked up the a lot of quirks (and some bad habits). My next big trip is a 10-day self-supported [“credit card”] bicycle tour in Japan and I knew packing was going to be a challenge… I really don’t like messing anything up when it comes to my #BIKELIFE. Afterwards, I’ll be traveling around Asia for a month so it is crucial I pack as light as possible, although I will probably Fedex all my cycling gear home right away. The last few tours I’ve done have all been fully-supported so packing had never been a problem but I’m excited to try being (kind of) self-sufficient!
Being the #lazycyclist that I am, of course, I did not plan this tour. My friend, Jim, whom I met when I first started riding seriously in 2012 because he led a group in Vancouver, and whom I like to call my “bike dad“, toured in Japan a few times and has been talking it up over the years. This year, he decided to organize a tour for a small group of us. We will riding north of Tokyo and staying in hotels and ryokens. Lots of rain is forecasted but being a Vancouverite, I honestly don’t mind riding in the rain …especially when I know a long soak in an onsen and delicious Japanese food will be prescribed at the end of the day. Cycling in a new country is an exotic experience… you don’t know what you may come across but whatever it is, you know you won’t regret it.
I am flying to Tokyo with my small carry-on, my Rapha backpack and my purse, and then my friends will bring my large (most likely overweight) suitcase and Weekender when they fly in after my tour. Utilizing Japan’s efficient overnight mail delivery system, we will have two small bags shipped alternately to our next hotels. Each bag will contain a couple sets of street clothes to satisfy my need for variety, shoes, undergarments and toiletries. I always regret “dressing like a bum.” Life is too short to wear shitty clothes.
For long vacations, I never travel without my supplements, my favorite hair brush, an electric toothbrush and toiletries… all my full-sized skin products. I learned that there are some luxuries a woman should never have to give up! But over the last few months, I have been testing and downsizing my makeup products because I’m sick of traveling with heavy palettes for those trips where we jump from city to city. For this bike tour, I packed all my larger toiletries in one bag and a bunch of sample sized products in the other since I need double of everything. Ugh, why am I so high maintenance? Well, I will be unapologetic about it. I’m not bringing much make up except for a compact, eyeliner and chapstick… but I am bringing an electric toothbrush and floss! My dentist is my least favorite person in the world.
I am packing 3 jerseys, 2 sets of bibs, 2 headbands and 2 sets of arm screens. Japan in October is hot and humid (20-30°C) so all I need is a vest, a light rain jacket and maybe knee warmers (for chilly roll-outs!). There’s no point packing anymore rain gear because once you are wet… you are wet. Suck it up!! I am bringing my own shoes, helmet and lights but I rented a roadbike from G.S. Astuto which is conveniently being delivered to my hotel upon my arrival. Life is too short to ride shitty bikes.
In my Rapha Apidura saddle bag, I’ll be carrying essentials such as my phone, passport, tools, sunscreen, wet wipes, a vest, rain jacket, an external battery, my charging cables for my phone + bluetooth headset + Garmin, mints, food… and deodorant. You can’t forget deodorant!! I can probably fit all of this into the (bulging) back pockets of my jersey but the Rapha Apidura saddle bag is too pretty to not use, and has been proven not to be cumbersome even when packed full.
We’ve been talking about and planning this trip for almost a year now and I can’t believe the time has come. I don’t normally get excited for vacations but when it comes to BIKES + ASIA (which has a soft spot in my heart), I can’t help but to be giddy. I hope I didn’t under-pack… but I guess that gives me an excuse to shop!