Below I have listed a few usefull cycle touring tips. Please feel free to add you own.
1. Besides panniers or a trailer I use a handlebar bag: great for quick access to camera, wallet, maps and other essentials. I use one from Topeak (www.topeak.com) Do not overload the bag, especially when doing tours on gravel surfaces. The mounting bracket tends to be a bit sensitive causing the bag to sag over rutted road surfaces.
2. Top tube bag: for ipod, cellphone and a small snack.
3. Never leave home without merthiolate tincture. Burns like a bastard but heals cuts, blisters and scratches quickly.
4. A tub of good old camphor cream: soothes chaffes, sunburn, dry skin and razor rash in a blink. Plus its relatively cheap. As a preventative measure: rub a dollop over your sitbone and unmentionables at the start of your day.
5. Cable ties and duct tape can solve a 101 problems, so never leave home without it.
6. Use cycle short bibs as apposed to normal cycle shorts. Bib’s tend to keep the chamois in place better, especially, if you are like me, a bit on the tubby side. Make sure you get a tight fitting pair. A little bit of movement between the chamois and your skin, over long distances, can leave you in serious agony.
7. Comfortable cycle shoes: I prefer the lace up with velcro strap type that’s similar to a cross trainer. I have wide feet, the softer shoe reduces the chance of hot foot as it mold’s to your foot better than a more race orientated shoe. Pick a pair with a recessed cleat and softish sole for walking comfort. When your bike is loaded with panniers or a trailer, believe me, you will be walking up some steep hills when you have already done 90kms in strong head wind.
8. Bar ends allow for additional hand rests to reduce numbness. Hand grips with palm rest’s, keeps your hand and forearm in line preventing carpal tunnel synmdrome (numb hands from pinched nerve in the wrist)
9. A proper bike setup from a qualified technician will adjust your bicycle to fit your body’s specific geometry. This will reduce stress on the knees, neck and shoulders and ultimatley make your riding more enjoyable. www.dynamicbikefit.co.za
10. Correct saddle size falls under a bike setup but deserves its own point out of importance. A correct saddle should fit your ischial tuberosities ( sit bone) and should be relativley hard. A superwide gell/soft seat will not support the sit bone correctly and will deform under pressure (your body weight) which will result in added friction. Some bike shops have a dedicated tool to measure you sit bone which will assist with choosing the right saddle. For a more indepth description follow the link:http://www.bicycling.com/maintenance/bike-fit/how-choose-saddle