Autumn Leaf Cafe - an anthology of ideas and adventures

Bicycling Through Europe 1998
The Not-Anal-Retentive Packing List

Before my first bicyle tour, I attended an informal workshop taught by Chris Wiscavage (better known as "Wisco"), a veteran bicycle tourist who suggested I pack the things I might need during the day on the left side of my bike. That way, when I stop and lean the bike over on it's right side, the stuff I likely needed, such as tools or food, would be face up. When I packed for the first time, I made a note of where I put each item, to help refresh my memory when I had to find things or repack things. I wanted to follow Wisco's advice not just on the day I packed my panniers for the first time, but throughout the trip.

Over the years, people who have seen this list have suggested that such a list is anal-retentive, and by inference and knowing looks, that I am being anal-retentive. Nothing could be farther from the truth! My albums have never been arranged in alphabetical order. My bookshelf is not organized by topic, arranged by author, nor sorted by height. Everything does not have a place, and therefore, everything is usually not in its place. By contrast, my life -- on or off a bicycle tour -- is in general rather chaotic, and I am often looking for things. My packing list was merely an attempt to bring some order to that chaos while riding my bicycle around Europe.

Over time I'll attempt to flesh out a bit more about what I usually take on a trip, in an attempt to give those who are planning their own trip some useful advice. For now, here is the basic not-anal-retentive packing list:

Item Bag Position
Fleece Jacket Right Back Pannier (middle, main compartment)
Black Bag of Tools Left Back Pannier (top, main compartment)
Sunscreen Right Back Pannier (in gray toiletries bag)
Blue Bag of Food Left Front Pannier  
Rain Jacket Left Front Pannier  
Rain Pants Right Front Pannier  
Cold Weather Gloves Left Front Pannier  
Long Pants Left Back Pannier  
Belt Left Back Pannier  
Undies Left Back Pannier (side pouch)
Bathing Suit Right Back Pannier (side pouch)
Towel Left Back Pannier (side pouch)
Toiletries Bag (gray) Right Back Pannier (top, main compartment)
T-Shirts (3 cycling shirts, 1 short sleeved shirt) Left Back Pannier  
Shorts (2 pair: one sport, one old but decent) Left Back Pannier  
Socks (3 pair riding. 1 black (dress) but I need another) Right Back Pannier (side pouch)
Bike Lock and Cable Left Back Pannier (top pouch)
Riding Gloves Handlebar Bag  
First Aid Kit Handlebar Bag (front pouch)
Spare Film Right Front Pannier (in red bag)
Spare Kleenexes Right Front Pannier (in red bag)
Camera Handlebar Bag  
Address Book Handelbar Bag (front pouch)
Plane Ticket Handlebar Bag (front pouch)
Journal Handlebar Bag  
Spare Glasses Left Back Pannier  
Pen Handlebar Bag  
Sketch Book and Pencils Handlebar Bag  
A Paperclip for Pinning Maps Handlebar Bag  
Long Undies Right Front Pannier  
Windbreaker Left Front Pannier  
Sandals Left Back Pannier  
Extra Bungee Cords Right Back Pannier (top pouch)
Ear Covers Handlebar Bag (top pouch)
Head Cover Left Front Pannier (in slot inside)
Visibility Vest Left Front Pannier  
Thermometer Handlebar Bag (front zipper)
Alarm Clock Handlebar Bag (front pouch)
Vitamins Right Back Pannier (top pouch)
Clip on Rear Light Right Back Pannier (top pouch)
String Right Back Pannier (top pouch)
Red Bag of Courage Right Front Pannier  
Rain Booties Right Front Pannier  
Matches Right Front Pannier  

Black Bag of Tools
Bungee Cords
2 Spare innertubes
Big head wrench (I use this to remove pedals)
Spare chain links (5)
Allen wrenches
Spare derailleur cable
Spare brake cable
Spare brake pads (2)
Spare toe clip strap
Several zip ties
Spare cyclometer base, wire, etc...
Film container with assorted bolts and nuts
Assorted shims
Tire changing wrenches
Patch kit (glueless)
Bike Wrench (can tighten spokes, fix chains)

Blue Bag of Food
Spare teabags and instant coffee packets

Gray Bag of Toiletries
camp suds
soap in soap dish
hair gel
nail clippers
shaving cream
cotton swabs

Red Bag of Courage
Matches in a waterproof container
Handi Wipes
Unbreakable plastic spoon, fork, knife
Unbreakable plastic cup
Unbreakable plastic bowl

Last Updated: Monday, September 2, 2002
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