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There is little point loading your cycle with all your equipment only to find a few miles down the road or worst still in the middle of nowhere that your Rack breaks or buckles under the strain apart fro the inconvenience of cutting the tour short this could cause a very nasty accident or personal injury. W hen buying your Rack look for quality sturdiness, light weight. Look for a lifetime warranty a good example is the Blackburn EX2 these weight 590g and are made from aircraft grade aluminum. These are available for around £38.00. If you are only carrying small loads then you can of course choose a lower specification personally I would buy the better one it gives me choice. The rack above is also suitable for child seats. Front racks may also be required on extended tours pretty much the same applies to the front and costs are very similar.


There are some key points to remember when purchasing the above, Strength, Weight, Rain proof, Rixen-Kaul Klick fix fitting. The latter is for ease of removal they just clip on and off you can load of the bike and just clip them on after. Also useful for the bar bag you can keep all your valuables with you. There are four types of bag available Bar bags, Saddle bags, Panniers, And stem bags. Look at the function of each bag does it meet with your needs does it have all the right pockets etc, For the front bag does it have a OS map holder. I never recommend the use off backpacks this can lead to back strain and on a long tour will become very uncomfortable. I also do not endorse the use of hydration packs either if you cannot stop for a drink do not go touring. Once you have made your choice of bags look after them when not in use keep them open keep them in a dry airy environment if they do get wet and they will dry them as soon as possible empty them and occasionally give them a wipe over. A good bag will last you years I have one that is over 30 years old and still going strong.


Even if you have no intention of venturing out after dark it would be fool hardy not to equip your cycle with lights. You never know when you may get caught out and in poor visibility it is in the road traffic act to light up this includes cycles. Besides a good front lamp saves carrying a torch. When purchasing your lights look at the weight the size of battery often dictates this look at the output and longevity of the lamp consider rechargeable batteries this can cause problems on a long tour. Try to keep the front and rear lights compatible with any other equipment that is running of batteries so you can interchange if needed. I find that lights that use LED bulbs use less power and give a brighter light. I try to use AA batteries as most of my other equipment runs of the same. It should not cost more than about £25.00 to equip your bike with a decent set of lights. I Do not like the use of flashing lights on the front of the bike it can give of the indication that you are signaling. But I do think that a supplementary flasher on the back adds some safety?


Here's the big one the last thing you want is your bike along with all its gear getting stolen. Before I look at locks the best way to secure your cycle is be vigilant if you chain your cycle and all its kit to a lamp post in the middle of a city estate chances are when you get back the cycle will have disappeared into thin air (It wont be Paul Daniels either). Try to park where you can keep an eye on it, Remove all valuables, Park where it is busy, Ensure the lock is visible, When camping tie a small bell somewhere discreetly you will here it if the bike is moved. As for purchasing a lock try to buy lightweight with a good length of cable or chain. Look for things like key registration and anti drill barrels, Warranties, Core density of cable, Mounting brackets, The cable or chain is the most important part of a secure system as a professional thief will not try to pick the lock they will use bolt croppers its very fast. choose the best you can and read magazine reviews before your purchase.

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