New to Bike
Perhaps you’ve been commuting by bike for years and long for a new adventure. Maybe you dream of one day crossing the country on your bike, but don’t know where to begin. Try a bike overnight!
A bike overnight is a 1 or 2 day trip taken by bike. Most people make it a short camping trip, but all that’s required is to explore the world for a couple of days on two wheels.
Pedal from home to a nearby state park campground. Take the family to visit Grandma in a neighboring town. Plan a romantic bed and breakfast getaway with your partner.
Hoping to take on a longer tour someday? Bike overnights are the first step on your journey.
What Do I Need?
If you plan to spend the night at a hotel, hostel, or friend’s house, all you need are route maps, personal effects like toiletries and fresh clothes (for on and off the bike), normal bike repair tools, some money, and maybe your cell phone. If you live in a city with a transit system, carrying a spare ticket may be helpful.
Camping though, requires you to schlep a few more things. See our gear lists.
How Do I Pack My Bike?
Depending on how much you’re planning to take, a backpack or messenger bag may be sufficient. However, in most cases you’ll find having a rear rack with panniers to be the most ideal solution.
Ortlieb and Arkel both make great panniers. Ortliebs are great at keeping out rain, while Arkels have many compartments and pockets for better organization. Here are seven secrets to successfully packing your panniers!
If you’re a DIY type, you may enjoy using bike buckets to carry your gear. When not on the bike, they make excellent camp stools, and on a hot day they can be loaded up with ice to keep your drinks cool!
Larger camping gear like your sleeping bag, tent, or camp pad may be best strapped on to the top deck of your rack. You could use bungee cords, old inner tubes, or a small cargo net to secure the load.
Combine with Transit
Perhaps you live on the east edge of a large city and your favorite getaway is 30 miles from the west edge of the city. If you’d rather avoid navigating an additional 20 miles of city, consider combining your trip with transit! City busses, as well as regional ferries and trains, can help you explore new areas that may not otherwise be reachable overnight solely by bike. Even in Los Angeles, spectacular overnights can be combined with transit. Your bike can go on Amtrak! Here's how to pack your bike for the train.