What to Pack for the Ride
Here are a couple vital items that may not seem obvious at first, but...
You must wear a hard bike helmet at all times on the ride when you are pedaling.
No helmet/no ride/no exceptions.
Even if you are renting a bike, you must bring your own helmet. Just toss it in your checked luggage or your bike box.
Wrap or Sarong
Women AND men need a lightweight wrap or sarong to wear only when we visit a temple. The wrap must cover your legs and bare shoulders.
Men, don't laugh -- everyone does it. You can carry this in your jersey pocket, or put it in the support van. If you don't own a wrap you will have a million opportunities to buy one cheap near our first hotel.
Bike Shoes and Pedals
If you are riding clip-in pedals, please double-triple-extra check that you have packed your bike shoes. Every trip someone forgets them or brings the wrong pair, and...
If you are renting a bike in Bali, they come with flat pedals ONLY. If you prefer to ride your favorite clip-in pedals you must bring them with you -- clip-in pedals are not available for rent in Bali. Our crew is happy to help you install your own pedals on a rental bike. Don't forget to reclaim your pedals before you head back to the U.S.
A Jacket or Sweater
Bali is warm, but your flight might be chilly.
You will want to bring THREE types of luggage. Here's why:
1. Your main luggage that carries all of your stuff. Once we head out for the day you will not have access to these bags until we reach our hotel for that night.
You may bring as many bags as you want for your main luggage, but ALL bags must be self contained. That means no shoes or coats dangling on the outside, no bags tied together, no open-top tote bags. Pretend your bags are being checked in on an airline and you'll be fine.
We are careful with all luggage, but if your bag contains a laptop do NOT just leave it for the hotel bellboys -- hand-carry it to our luggage truck and tell the crew that you have a laptop so we can put it somewhere nice and safe.
When you arrive in Bali we will give you special I.D. tags for all of your luggage.
2. A small bag on your bike to carry everything you need with you on the road. (If you can fit all of that stuff in your jersey pockets that's fine. More on what to carry with you on the bike in a minute). Rental bikes do NOT come with these bags.
3. A small daypack or gym bag that will go in our support vehicles every day. This is where you put extra sunscreen, walking shoes for a tour where you don't want to wear your bike shoes, your sarong or wrap for visiting temples, and a bathing suit for the days when we will be swimming mid-ride. (Those days will be announced in advance -- not to worry). Again, no open-top bags, so your stuff doesn't wind up scattered all over the floor.
Expect summertime temperatures. Bring TWO water bottles with you on the bike or you will dehydrate and die. Have a nice day! NO ONE should be out on the route with just one water bottle.
If you prefer to carry a Cambelback or similar hydration pack instead of water bottles that’s fine.
EVERYONE should have these items with them on the bike at all times while pedaling:
• A cell phone. More information on using your phone in Bali can be found on this page.
• A small tire patch kit.
• Inner tubes that fit your bike. You should have TWO inner tubes with you on the bike at all times, with additional tubes stashed in your main luggage. If you are asking your local bike shop for a free cardboard bike box, assistance removing your clip-in pedals, or help determining your frame size, this is a nice time to buy some tubes from them to show your support. If you prefer you can buy tubes from our local Bali cycling guides at sane prices.
If you are riding an unusual size of bicycle wheel, you already know who you are (650, recumbent, folding bike, deep-dish rim that requires extra-long valve stems...) If those words make no sense at all to you that's fine; it means this particular info is not for you.
If you are riding one of those unusual sizes you should REALLY stock up on tubes before you leave home -- we won’t be anywhere near a shop that will have that stuff. Yeah, if the flat-tire gods are with you, you won’t use a single extra tube on the entire trip and that’s great -- you can keep them for next time.
AND.... if you are riding one of those unusual size wheels (see above), you should also have an extra TIRE in your suitcase along with your inner tubes -- we will NOT be able to find a replacement for an unusual-size tire if it goes bad, and that can happen to anyone. No need to carry it with you on the bike -- we can keep it in the support van for you if you wish.
• A small tire pump or CO2 inflator. If you're using CO2 you can NOT take the cartridges on the plane as carry-on or in checked luggage. You can buy them from us at sane prices when you get to Bali. We will have full-size pumps you can use each morning or evening to top off your tires (or just ask our friendly mechanical crew for help. No charge of course).
Even if you don’t know how to use this gear you should still be carrying it. If you get a flat (and ALL bicycles get flats...) you can be back on the road in 10 minutes if you are carrying this stuff. It can be an hour or longer (MUCH longer) if you aren’t carrying the right gear.
(Speaking of flats, some folks are now riding tubeless tires that help prevent flats. This is cool, but please be aware that we can not service these special tires. If something goes wrong with your new-fangled tubeless tires, you are on your own!)
If you are headed off exploring on your own you will definitely need to bring a good bike lock. When you’re traveling with the group we’ll have someone to watch your bike whenever we stop, so you won’t need to lock-up then. At night your bike goes in your hotel room -- safe and sound. (Bali has no more crime than anywhere else, but I wouldn't leave my bike unlocked at home in front of a store or restaurant, so....)
IF you are using your smartphone to see digital maps of the route each day (OPTIONAL -- NOT required), that can eat up a lot of battery power. Consider buying an additional phone battery pack like this one. (Other styles and brands are absolutely fine).
Using your phone for navigation? Bring a way to mount your phone to your handlebars. Here's one model I like. (Again, other brands are fine). If you are renting a bike in Bali a phone mount is NOT included -- be sure to bring your own. We can help you install it on your rental bike. Be sure to remove it at the end of the trip and take it home with you.
All Your Charging Cables
No; we do not have an extra charger for a 1997 Blackberry, and we don't know where to get one in Bali.
An Electrical Converter or Adapter
Here's a great article explaining the difference between travel adapters and converters, with some recommendations.
Depending on what you want to plug in, you might add these items to your travel bag too:
American-style plug. This is what you have at home. Most electrical outlets in the U.S. run at 120 volts. The prongs are flat and rectangular.
Bali electrical plug (also used in much of Europe.) Electrical outlets in Bali run at a much higher 220 volts. The prongs are round.
Lots of people use their smartphone as an alarm clock and that's fine. You may not want to rely on a hotel wake-up call.
Before you leave home please install the WhatsApp program on your phone if you don't already have it. You can get it for free from the Apple app store or Google Play store. It allows you to send text messages or make phone calls to folks in Bali or back in the U.S. for free... provided that they also have WhatsApp.
We will ALSO use WhatsApp to send you important information in the middle of the trip. ("Let's have a drink before dinner! Meet on the deck outside the restaurant at 6:30.")
If you decide that after the trip you no longer want WhatsApp on your phone it is easy to remove.
NOTE: I think it's important when traveling to respect the locals and their customs, even if they are different from our own opinions. At least one swimming location we will visit has some religious significance. That means that women should not wear a bikini there -- a one-piece suit is fine, or a bikini with a cover-up for the top. Anywhere else we are swimming you can wear the swimsuit of your choice. We'll let you know well in advance when we are going to the no-bikini locations.
Dress is always casual on this trip, but you're not going to want to wear your bike clothes ALL the time.
We will be having nice dinners together -- casual is still fine, but maybe not that T-shirt that you used to clean the grease off of your chain.
If you ride bike shoes with cleats that’s cool, but you may want to wear something else for walking around. In particular, we will be wandering around a few amazing temples (not too many!), so you may want shoes you can stash on the support van and change into quickly.
I always carry one of these compact 3-way splitters in my bag. If you have a travel converter or adapter it will usually let you use just one item at a time. Plug this cheap accessory in first and now you can plug in three different things at once.
This tool is also handy at the airport or on the plane if you want to charge up and all the outlets are in use -- it lets you share with others.
If you get a 3-way splitter (above), be sure you also have one of these inexpensive 3-prong adapters too. Both of these items available cheap at any U.S. hardware store or Walmart.
If you need to recharge more than one USB item at a time, this is handy. (I am often recharging my wife's phone, my phone, the extra battery pack for my phone, and my bike computer all at once). Some travel adapters already have multiple USB ports -- check yours first. You can buy this charger here. Other brands certainly fine.