At the start of On Hannibal’s Trail we were cyclists but by no means expert at cycle touring. But we learned a lot on the way and thought we’d share some of our tips here.
• You don’t need as much stuff as you think. Two full back panniers is probably enough stuff. We started with 4 full panniers and a drybag but ended with 2 full panniers and 2 empty ones!
• Start cycling early. Even pack up your campsite and hop straight on the bike, snack on something while you ride and stop after an hour at a café for a proper breakfast. Often the nicest (coolest) weather is first thing in the morning, the least traffic too and if you can knock off most of the kilometres before lunch then the afternoon can be relaxing. You can pitch your tent in daylight or stop along the way (castles/ruins/pubs etc).
• Make sure you keep drinking and eating all the time – eat something every hour. Carry lots of nutritious, easily accessible food on you too – muesli bars, dried fruit etc
• If you are carrying a laptop make sure it is a shock proof one or carry it in a backpack. Bumpy roads broke ours when we carried it in a pannier.
• Consider taking a tent that is big enough to put your bikes in. Whenever we had to leave the campsite for any reason we always felt better if we could put the bikes out of sight.