One of the best things about cycling is that it creates so many opportunities to see new places. You can bike in your neighborhood, your state, across the country, or explore the world.
The options are endless, and you’re only bound by your imagination.
If you’re planning to take a tour or join a race, you should make sure to be completely prepared. Here are a few tips to get ready for that big bike trip.
Build up your mileage gradually
As with any physical endeavor, you have to train. Start with short loops of 12-15 miles near your home, gradually adding mileage. As your stamina and endurance gets better, start increasing out-and-back trips until you’re fit enough to ride the distance you expect to ride on your trip.
Get your bike tuned up
Don’t wait until the last minute for this. During the busiest time of year, bike shops can be backed up. Tell the bike shop staff that you’re going on a multi-day trip so they can check your equipment and make sure it’s in top shape for your adventure. A few days before the event, stop by the shop for a quick safety check. If you don’t know how, ask someone at the bike shop to show you how to change a tire. You never know when this lesson will come in handy.
If you’re going on an overnight trip, you’ll have to carry all your gear. Keep your stuff to a minimum and with weight in mind. If you’re traveling with a partner, split the shared equipment between you. Try weighing your stuff individually so you can find ways to cut back on excess weight. If you’re deciding between two items, choose the lighter one.
Get the apps
There are several great apps for cyclists, including Strava, Map My Ride, and more. These apps can keep track of your mileage but also alert others to your whereabouts in case of an accident. You should also make sure someone knows where you’re going, especially if you’re traveling solo or in a small group.
Take sunscreen and plenty of water
If you’re a cyclist, you should already know this, but it bears repeating. You’re participating in a strenuous outdoor sport. Heat and sun are an issue any time of year, so it’s best to stay hydrated and protected against the sun’s harmful rays.
Practice for the terrain
If your trip will include a lot of hills, make sure that’s part of your training, and carry your backpack with you. Find similar terrain in your area to get yourself ready. When you hit those hills on your trip, you won’t be quite so miserable.
If you’re preparing for a race, get a heart rate monitor and practice under similar conditions as the race. Adding in resistance training can contribute to your overall endurance. You can build up your leg muscles with deadlifts, squats, and leg presses. Know what the race will include and plan for it.
Last but not least
While you’re out of town, make sure your home is secure. Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your house, have the post office hold your mail, and set up light timers. These are all ways to keep people from knowing you’re out of town. Don’t announce your trip on social media, especially if you have followers you don’t know. A home security system can also help, particularly one that has electronic home monitoring. This will give you peace of mind when you’re on the road, trails, or city streets.
Cycling is a great way to see the world, meet new friends, and stay active. Plus, you’ll make amazing memories that you’ll cherish forever. By being as prepared as you can, you’re giving yourself a leg up on a fantastic adventure. And when you get back home, you’ll be ready to start planning your next cycling trip!
Jason Lewis is a personal trainer and caregiver to his elderly mom. He enjoys sharing his fitness knowledge on his website, strongwell.org.