For the first twenty years of my life, biking was just a mechanism for getting from
point a to
point b. I became a proud cyclist when I started a job during a university summer which required me to bike 12km, work outside for 8 hours, then bike home 12km (I only crashed once that summer, too). Then I got my first nice bike, a Milwaukee Cycle single speed. At that point, I now had a light, trim, fast bike where I didn't have to worry about how gears worked. It was incredible.
After a few years passed I started getting interested in touring and doing longer rides. I was probably 25 or 26 when I first started thinking about it. I admired people who had done bike tours for much longer, but I started researching it more actively.
> 20km the below is stashed into a 4 litre waterproof handlebar bag (which doubles as a shoulder bag):
Emergency Patch kit:
Co2 canisters (I don't know how to use these yet)
Sketchbook/paints if there is room.
On Long Rides
I have only done two overnight rides, and am still hoping to find a mentor to accompany me on a multi day trip. My attempts at doing anything longer have been unsuccessful. Regardless, I've learned the following from doing a few intercity rides.
take your time
the last bit is the hard part
get directions right, while getting lost can be fun, you'll be annoyed at wasting energy backtracking
put your phone on airplane mode while you ride and know where you are going. It saves battery.
I find waving to other bikers makes it feel more communal if you are riding alone.
if you fear sunburns like me...wear gloves or put sunscreen on your hands... Or... Rip holes in the extra pair of socks you brought and use those.
bring more water.
bring good snacks.
know how your panniers are organized
bring lipchap, moisturizer, sanitizer.