This is always a difficult question to answer. We can give some clear guidance on footwear but as for the rest… Just remember that there will be many times during the day when you are not riding and, particularly on those occasions when you may be standing in the open, it is always a good idea to be able to put on something warm to keep the chill at bay.
Should I wear cycling shoes?admin2020-12-08T15:46:10+00:00
The essence of cycle touring is that you strike a balance between the time spent in and out of the saddle. And when you are battlefield touring on a cycle those times when you are out of the saddle could be spent: standing on the verge of a road; walking through a grassy cemetery; climbing the steps of a memorial; perambulating around a town square; or walking around a museum. On those occasions, wearing the wrong footwear could be both uncomfortable and potentially expensive.
There is no doubt that the advent of ‘clipless’ pedals and purpose built cycling shoes has improved cycling performance but, for cycle tourists, they have come at a cost. These accessories are optimised for cycling and make little or no allowances for when the rider is off the bike. In the past, the traditional cycling tourist would have used ordinary shoes combined with toe clips and straps on the pedals. But fashions change and, more and more, the trend is away from toe clips towards the use of cycle shoes with recessed cleats. These have distinct advantages for the battlefield tourist as as they allow the rider to both cycle and walk effectively; albeit that these ‘touring shoes’ do sacrifice some rigidity for traction and tread. (You also need to be careful not to clog the recesses with mud!)
Shoes with a smooth, rigid and inflexible sole – ie those designed to take exposed cleats and which are primarily geared towards the road cyclist – are not the best footwear for battlefield touring. Not only will you quickly ruin these cleats but you will also find them uncomfortable when stopping at Battlefield Stands. However, clients have used them successfully on our tours; usually by carrying some form of cleat protection or by having a set of flip-flops (or something similar) to change in to when they get off and stop.
What do I need to carry?admin2020-12-08T15:46:34+00:00
This is very much a personal choice. Are you a minimalist or a ‘just in case’ type of person? For the minimalist we recommend the following essentials: spare inner tube; pump; shower or waterproof top; suncream; water; and cleat protection. The ‘just in case’ individual will have his or her own list and does not need our advice!
What is a ‘Battlefield Stand’?admin2020-12-08T15:46:59+00:00
Battlefield Stands’ are the stops or waypoints along the route where the guide gathers the group together for the purposes of telling the story of events. (Link to General Information Why Battlefields by Bike?) Depending on the type of tour and the story to be told, there may be a lot of ‘Stands’ in any given day or possibly only just a few. Stands will never be longer than 20 minutes in length and will often be considerably shorter. By the nature of the battlefields we visit, these stands may be in isolated or exposed locations so you need to be prepared to put on an extra layer of clothing if necessary. But sometimes, just sometimes, a good location for a battlefield stand might also just coincide with an agreeable roadside café!