What are the basic essential articles of clothing needed for a successful bike tour? Obviously it depends on the season and local climate. My last three trips have been in late winter in the southern and southwestern US. Still, it can get cold…down to 25 degrees in Marathon Texas last year. And rain and even snow are always possibilities. So I carry what I consider to be the bare necessities for comfort without going overboard and bringing too much.
At the top I have long johns and a long sleeve polypropylene t-shirt. The long johns and sometimes the long sleeve t for sleeping on the cold night. I have a Woolistic brand wool trainer, a rain jacket, this happens to be a Bellwether, a long sleeve cotton t-shirt and some Endura Humvee pants made out of nylon.
On the floor, wool leg and arm warmers and a pair of knee warmers, a Club Ride jersey and a Surly wool jersey, riding shorts (yes, I prefer bibs), flip flops, for the inevitable gross showers and for hanging out, socks, (I carry 2 or 3 pairs of undershorts too), a wool cap and gloves. When I’m riding I, of course, wear my helmet and bike shoes.
Every two or three days I can hit a laundromat and wash everything. In a pinch I can wash the basics in the shower at night and hang them to dry. Even though my trips of late have been shorter than 3 weeks, I don’t think I would need to carry much more even if I were going for 3 months.