How to pack for 6 weeks on a bike in Europe?

A bit of planning and preparation goes a long way towards things run smoothly when it counts. I figure the more you organise before you leave for a holiday, the more time you have to enjoy yourself. You can easily waste a lot of time on holidays trying to organise things in an unfamiliar place. I’d rather be out exploring the local town than trying to figure out the intricacies of regional dialing codes or struggling to find a shop that sells that particular gizmo we’ve left behind. So after many weeks of pondering what to bring – and more importantly what not bring –  we are semi packed.

Thankfully we’ll be staying in hotels rather than camping this time, so that should mean we can bring alot less! No towels, no bedding or cooking equipment means more room for clothes.

Luggage:

The aim has been to squeeze 6 weeks worth of gear into 2 large rear panniers each (for clothes and shoes), plus 2 small front parriers on Drew’s bike – the smaller 2 will double as a day bag each on the days when we can leave most of the luggage back at the hotel. The small panniers will be the toolkit, gadget and camera bag, first aid kit, spare clothes and pantry, and carry on lugguge for the plane trip. (But more importantly, the extra 2 panniers on my darling husband’s bike is part of my not-so-secret handicapping plan to even out our pace a wee bit so I can keep up! te he)

Plus 2 Bicycles:

We purchased 2 bike boxes from the qantas terminal ahead of time – though annoyingly they require the bikes to be dimantled more than expected. We thought it would only require the front wheel and pedals removed and bars turned parallel. But the handlebars have had to be completely removed from the headstem and strapped to the top tube with cable ties… hope it doesn’t damage the brake cables being twisted around at a different angle. Even my tiny framed bike had to be pulled apart and Drew’s front fenders and rack had to come off. Guess we’ll be spending a bit more of our first day reassembling.

Weight Weenies:

When every bit of extra weight can potentially cost heaps in excess baggage – its worth noting that these 2 airline boxes weigh over 3kg each. Anyone trying to fit their bike + box and gear into the regular 23kg luggage weight limit would have a hard time indeed. Thanks to Emirates 30kg limit we’ve got a little bit of wiggle room. But we’ve had to think carefully about which lock and tools to bring. We’ve decided its easier to buy heavy things (lock, tubes, toiletries) once we get there.

Now lets just the hope the bikes make it to Munich without damage – then we just need to worry about getting ourselves home again in one piece. If I knew how to crochet, this beautifully wrapped bike I saw at the recent Cadel Evans event at Fed Square looks like it is perfectly padded for travelling.

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