When is the best time to purchase the equipment you will need for your bicycle tour?
If you are planning a bicycle tour for this summer or for any point in the future, NOW is the best time to get your gear.
1) Lack Of Supply
Most bicycle tourists travel during the months of April, May, June, July, and August. Many of these travelers wait until the last possible moment to get their gear. They plan out their route and know where they are going to be sleeping along the way, but for one reason or another, they wait until the last possible moment to purchase their bikes, their panniers, or their trailers.
Because all these people are traveling at relatively the same moment in time, hundreds and hundreds of people from around the world try and purchase a limited number of bicycle touring products all at once.
If you order early enough, you get the brand/style/color you wanted. But if you wait, you take a risk and there’s a chance that the bike, the style of pannier, or that particular jersey you wanted is going to be out of stock when it comes time to make your order.
Bicycle touring is small sport enjoyed by just a couple thousand people each year. Because “bicycle touring” is not a huge money maker for the cycling industry, products such as touring bikes, panniers and trailers are made in limited quantities and finding these products can be difficult during the prime tourist season.
For example, most pannier companies make just a few dozen products before selling the ones they have in stock and putting in an order for more. Trailers are the same. And you may have already discovered this, but your local bike shop probably doesn’t carry touring bikes of any kind… and if they do, consider yourself lucky!
My point is that there are a limited number of bicycle touring products on the market at any one time and if you wait until the last possible moment, there’s a chance you won’t get the product you wanted… or at the very least, you won’t get the product you wanted in time for the start of your tour.
(As a side note, this happened a bunch last year! I was getting calls and emails like crazy from people who were trying to find a particular pannier, or handlebar bag, or bike, or whatever… and everywhere they looked, they were out of stock. Because of the limited number of products available to bicycle tourists at this point in time, this does actually happen. You’ve been warned!)
2) More Time Means More Comfort
More important than simply risking an “out of stock” situation, ordering your bicycle touring gear now is crucial because the longer you have the gear in your possession, the longer you have to get comfortable with it.
I’ve mentioned this time and time again here on BicycleTouringPro.com, but when you step out on the first day of your bicycle tour, you want to be as comfortable as you possibly can be. You don’t want to start your tour having never ridden your bike before, with your panniers completely overstuffed, or with a trailer you have never pulled. Make it easy on yourself, get your gear now, and practice riding with your “stuff” before you even leave home.
3) This Is Going To Be A Popular Year For Bicycle Travel
Finally, you should get your gear now because I have a feeling this summer is going to be one of the most popular bicycle touring seasons ever!
With the economy in a lurch and the environmental movement at an all time high, more and more people are looking for earthly friendly and inexpensive ways to spend their summer vacations. As you know, bicycle touring fits perfectly into these two categories.
With more people planning bike trips than ever before, touring products will be highly sought after and not always in supply. The longer you wait (as I mentioned above), the less chance you have of getting the touring products you want for your upcoming bicycle adventure.
If you get anything from this article, it should be this: There isn’t really a “best time” to purchase your bicycle touring gear. The earlier you get it, the better. But if you have a tour in mind and you’re even the slightest bit worried about making sure you get what you want, don’t wait too much longer. Order your bike, your panniers, your trailer, your stove, your whatever……… NOW!!!!!!!!!!