By Aimee Parsons
Some might think it’s a bit of a niche category, but this is my bread and butter… I’m here to share with you some tips for packing your bags when cycling to a festival.
If you’re lucky enough to have signed up with Red Fox cycling on one of their fantastic festival rides this year you won’t need to worry about any of this equipment fitting on your bike, other than for the short journey to your start point. With that in mind, it takes a little extra planning to make sure you’re fulfilling the urge to pack your whole sparkly and spangaly wardrobe without actually packing your entire wardrobe. After all, what’s a festival weekend without some Eco Stardust biodegradable glitter?!
I’d like to direct your attention to leggings and shorts! Versatile, packable, gareish leggings and shorts! A great staple to pack that can have you covered from a day of perusing to night of dancing and even to wear over your cycling bib shorts, while making your way to the festival on your trusty steed. I bow down to Wolf Rayet for making sustainable, fabulous, stretchy garments. And Too shorts for their bold shapes and ethical interests, for every pair of Too Shorts purchased, 10 mangrove plants are donated and planted by Leaf. Speaking of versatility, anything created by Manners London is always a personal must pack for festivals.
Let’s talk about cycling shorts. A decent pair of cycling shorts/ bib shorts/ leggings will take your ride from possible irritated hell to soft cushiony heaven. They don’t have to be lycra, but they do need to have a chamois (the padded bit that makes you walk funny). Check out these eco conscious brands; Staark cycling don’t buy into the disposable fashion business model, by making stock to order. If you fancy getting some personalised jerseys made up, check out the newly re-branded Wilder Sportswear (was Presta). For a slightly more accessible and off the rack brand, check out Endura. From 98% of their packaging being recyclable, their PTFE and PFC free water repellent clothing to a whole mix of partly recycled clothing. I’d also recommend picking up some fingerless gloves while you're shopping for clothes. They will save your hands from getting blisters and protect from gravel kisses if you were to fall off. A general rule of thumb I'll work with is quality garments that I know are going to last a long time, or come with a long/ lifetime guarantee. All this takes is a little bit of research into the company to make sure I'm not falling into the trap of fast fashion.
I always make sure to pack a small bit of chamois cream. I personally champion Buttr’. Make sure to use the chamois cream that aligns with your PH and gender. You’ll be able to pick this up from your local bike shop. You’ll be grateful you wore some…trust me!
Sunscreen is always sensible to pack. Rather than pack a big bottle I'll always decant some into a smaller bottle and keep close by on the bike at all times. Up Circle comes well recommended. Decanting seems to be a common theme on my bike trips, it’s super convenient and saves space, plus it means I can buy in bulk and only take what I need. I do this with moisturiser, chamois cream, shampoo and conditioner, body wash etc.
Having the key items for any small mechanicals is paramount, even if you’re not sure how they all work just yet, it’s a great opportunity to learn on the job. If you’re relying on someone with a bit more experience, they’ll often happily offer you what you need, but it’s good decorum to have the following packed; Inner tubes and a tyre repair kit, or tyre plugs if you’re running tubeless (you’ll know if this is the case). Tyre levers, these don’t need to be anything fancy. It’s always a good idea when picking a bike pump to choose one that’s dual use, presta and schrader and can attach to your bottle cage mount, like this Topeak one.
If you’re looking for some good bike bags for your cycling adventure I would personally recommend Ortlieb for their durability. My partner is a big fan of Apidura. Of course if you’ve signed up for a Red Fox festival ride, you won't need to worry about carrying your luggage on your bike. As the support vehicle will be with us the whole way, providing luggage transfer and source of snacks and water.
When riding to a festival I'll always save some space for a decent lock, none are totally foolproof, but they act as a deterrent. Most events that support cycling, and the list is growing, will offer a secure lock-up. If you’re riding with Red Fox, this will always be the case. But you’ll still need to bring your own lock to affix your bike to the ped barrier or alternative.
For my first festival bike ride this year, I'll be guiding the Red Fox charity fundraiser for Child.org to Wilderness Festival. We’ve got all sorts planned, from a stunning, challenging route, to a private arrival celebration and big congratulations on the Sunday just before the well established Grand Irrational. Excited, is an understatement!
Another key note is that if you’re joining a Red Fox festival ride you don’t have to ride back from the festival if you’ve not got it in you. Coaches and bike transfer back to your start point are provided for those that choose it. So you can join in the knowledge that a full weekend of sending it doesn’t scarper your options for getting home!
So hopefully reading this has got you excited about or inspired to book your first (or 51st) ride to a festival with Red Fox Cycling. It’s more realistic than it sounds! I promise.