Here’s a time-tested, bike-touring tip I can’t stress enough: Bring a few bungee cords with you.
How many? I recommend three or four.
Why bungee cords?
Use #1: Pannier protectors
Panniers are the packs you attach to either side of the rack on the back of your bike.
They hold your stuff.
And sometimes, especially when you go over a bump, they tend to fall off. Which is quite annoying. And kind of dangerous.
So, wrap a bungee cord around them and … voila! … they stay on the rack.
I also usually put a small knapsack on top of my panniers and, yep, a third bungee cord keeps it in place.
Use#2: Laundry lines
You’re gonna do a lot of sink laundry on a bike trip.
Sorry, it’s inevitable.
So, I string my bungee cords across the window and hang my damp bike shorts and jersey and gloves on them.
And hope for the best.
They’re usually dry by the next morning.
Only once, in Chateau-Thierry (a little east of Paris) were we yelled at by the hotel owner. “This is not possible in France,” he told us, pointing up at the laundry hanging from our window.
Oh, but it is … and lots and lots of bike travelers do it.
Use #3: Glove rescuer
Once, in Lourmarin (a little north of Aix-en-Provence), we’re at a hotel. I did a load of sink laundry, hung everything on my bungees … and, the next morning: One of my bike gloves had fallen off the cord and landed on the roof over the balcony one floor down.
Uh-oh … I really need this glove.
Susan declined to let me hold herb by her feet and dangle her out the window. I’m pretty sure it would have worked.
So, connected the hooks of two bungee cords together, wrapped some duct tape around them so they wouldn’t separate … lowered down my bungee rope … and tried and tried to hook an edge of my glove. Finally … voila! I Hooked it … and carefully reeled it in.
And, speaking of duct tape … bring a small roll. So many uses.