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What Goes Into a Bicycle Tour?

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If you haven’t done a bicycle tour before, it is not a decision to be made quickly or taken lightly. There is a lot that goes into planning and participating in a bicycle tour. Make sure you give yourself at least a few months in advance of the date to get fully trained and to make the proper preparations.


Training for the Bicycle Tour

When it comes to your training schedule, you will want to get in at least three to four rides each week in the months leading up to the tour. Increase your distances gradually and incorporate cardio and strength training as well. As it gets closer to the tour date, you will want to integrate more intensity into your training.

Interval training will be helpful to increase your muscles’ endurance to allow for a better threshold when you come across challenging terrain or difficult headwinds. Nutrition and hydration should also be a primary focus during this time, ensuring your body has the proper tools to push itself while giving you the ultimate edge in energy.

Choosing the type of tour is integral in planning for gear, food, and lodging. If you are opting for a guided bike tour, your gear will be provided, as will your meals, snacks, and drinks. A support van will follow closely to carry your luggage and tools. If you are going solo, you will need to plan ahead to take care of all of these elements on your own.

Here are some basic tips to help you prepare for a bicycle tour.

The Equipment: Gearing Up for Adventure

While training is a big part of preparing for a bicycle tour, you also need to have the correct equipment.

Choosing the Right Bicycle

Selecting the right bike is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable journey. You need to consider all of the factors that will come into play including the type of tour, terrain, distance, and personal preference. Options include road bikes, touring bikes, mountain bikes, and hybrid bikes, each suited for different types of tours. Consider the terrain you’ll encounter and the load you’ll be carrying to make an informed decision.

Essential Gear and Accessories

Apart from a reliable bicycle, several essential gear and accessories will enhance your bicycle tour experience. These include:

  • Panniers and Racks: Panniers are basically saddlebags that attach to the front or rear racks of your bicycle, and are used as storage space for your belongings.
  • Repair Kit and Tools: A basic repair kit with tire levers, spare tubes, and a multitool is a must for any mechanical issues on the road.
  • Water Bottles and Hydration System: Staying hydrated during a bicycle tour is vital, so make sure to have an adequate supply of water bottles or a hydration system.
  • Tent and Sleeping Bag: For multi-day tours, a lightweight tent and a compact sleeping bag are a must for a good night’s rest.
  • Camping Stove and Cookware: If you plan on cooking your meals during the tour, be sure to pack a portable camping stove and cookware.
  • First Aid Kit: Accidents happen, and having a well-equipped first aid kit ensures you’re prepared for any minor injuries.

Route Planning: Mapping Your Adventure

Choosing the destinations and routes is another crucial part of planning a bicycle tour. Start by researching popular cycling destinations or regions that pique your interest. Don’t forget to consider factors like terrain difficulty, weather conditions, and cultural attractions. Online resources, cycling forums, and guidebooks are great resources for valuable insights and recommendations.

Use Online Mapping Tools

Online mapping tools such as Strava, Komoot, and Ride with GPS are invaluable resources for planning and tracking your bicycle tour. These tools allow you to create custom routes, analyze elevation profiles, and discover popular cycling routes shared by other enthusiasts. Utilize these tools to tailor your tour according to your preferences and desired level of challenge.

Consider Accommodation Options

During a bicycle tour, you’ll need to arrange accommodation along your route. Options include campsites, budget-friendly hostels, bed and breakfasts, or even wilderness camping. Research and book accommodation in advance, particularly during peak seasons or in popular cycling destinations, to secure a place to rest after a long day of pedaling.

Budgeting for Your Bicycle Tour

Another key part of planning your bicycle tour is budgeting properly. Consider expenses such as transportation to the starting point, accommodation, food, bike maintenance, and emergency funds. Research average costs in the regions you’ll be visiting and factor in any additional expenses specific to your tour.

Staying Safe on Your Bicycle Tour

Prioritizing safety is paramount when embarking on a bicycle tour. Here are some essential safety gear items to consider:

  1. Helmet: Protect your head with a well-fitting, certified bicycle helmet.
  2. Reflective Gear: Enhance your visibility on the road by wearing reflective clothing, vests, or ankle bands, especially during low-light conditions.
  3. Lights: Install front and rear lights on your bicycle to ensure you’re visible to other road users.
  4. Mirrors: Attach mirrors to your handlebars or helmet to enhance your situational awareness and monitor traffic behind you.

Final Thoughts

When planned correctly, embarking on a bicycle tour can be an extraordinary adventure that combines the thrill of exploration with the joy of self-powered travel. By carefully considering the equipment, planning the route, prioritizing safety, and addressing logistical aspects, you can ensure a successful and memorable journey.

So, what are you waiting for? Strap on your helmet, hop on your bicycle, and set off on the adventure of a lifetime.

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