Cycle Life

Fall, with its crisp days, glorious light, and promise of last warmth for a few months, is the ultimate time of year for bike touring. I've been basking in the season's sunshine on a wine-country tour for the past week, and during that time have come to a few conclusions about gear for these sorts of endeavors. The biggest rule: If you're self-supporting -- or traveling far for the tour -- the things you carry have to be versatile enough to perform both on and off the bike, as packing space is limited. The other important lesson is that unusual equipment might be fine at home, where your local shop can source your favorite 42mm tires or oddball cleats for the boutique pedals, but when traveling, it's best to go with good old standard stuff so that getting replacements in the event of problems won't slow you down. What follows are six things without which I wouldn't leave home for any tour.

—Aaron Gulley     Photo: Courtesy of Kitsbow

Six Autumn Bike Touring Essentials

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