Long distance biking can be taxing, especially if you go into your trek unprepared. You need to make sure you have the right equipment at hand, from bike helmets to the clothing that will best protect your body from falls and the elements.
Here are a few pieces of equipment you should make sure to have on hand, along with a few bike riding safety tips, to ensure you have the best long-distance biking experience possible.
1. Train Yourself Mentally
Though the physical rigor of a long bike tour must be taken into account when training, you should first prepare yourself for the other challenges of the tour – such as being away and out of touch from your family relatives.
- One recommendation is to start talking to other bike travelers, who will give you inspiration and tips during their tours, as you prepare for your own.
- Furthermore, begin distancing yourself from social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. You won’t want to bother yourself with these distractions during your tour, and it is good to wean yourself off now. Bike travelers want to experience the world, but this experiencing should be done through in-person encounters and interactions with the world around you, not via a phone screen.
- For this same reason, also cook simple meals, using a single pot, and get used to not having a state-of-the-art kitchen to meet your nutritional needs.
- Donate the clothing you have stopped wearing. You will not need most of your things on the tour anyway, and it is likely that you will want new clothes and gear specifically for cycling.
- Stop using electricity for a few days, and go camping. These are perhaps the only true ways to prepare yourself for the outdoor, bicycle traveler experience.
- Pack your things into a small bag, and try to take as little with you as possible. Unburden your load as much as possible and travel light on your bike tour.
2. Train Yourself Physically
Physical training is also extremely important for those wishing to embark on long bike tours.
- Interval training 2-3 times per week, giving you time to prepare for one long ride each week to increase your endurance. Ride as fast as you can for three minutes, then rest for the next three minutes. Repeat from 30 minutes to an hour.
- Train until you have reached your lactate threshold at least twice a week. Cyclists generally reach their lactate thresholds at around 85 to 95 percent of their maximum heart rate. Hit the threshold and maintain for ten minutes, then rest for another two minutes.
- Strength building exercises every other day to build muscle endurance. Squats and lunges while holding free weights, with 50 repetitions of each. Make sure to stretch after these sessions, in order to increase your flexibility and avoid stiffness.
- Keep your training going in the winter months, either by cross-country skiing or riding a stationary bike indoors.
3. Have the Right Equipment
Regardless of how much training you do, the one thing that is difficult to prepare for is the possibility of an accident. The main way in which you can prevent yourself from getting hurt is by purchasing the correct road bike protective clothing accessories.
These accessories include reflective stickers, hard-shell bike helmets, and cycling jackets and sunglasses, depending on where you will be biking.
Though not every bike accessory in the world is necessary for your tour, products that increase your visibility and make it easier for you to ride, such as a neon shirt or flexible gloves, may be worthy investments.
The bike itself is also important – mountain bikes can be ridden on the road, but they clearly do better in rougher terrain. The bike should also fit the rider as well, with the seat elevated to a reasonable height.
4. Follow the Basic Road Safety Tips
Whether you decide to go off-road or ride along the traffic, know the basic road biking tips that will keep you safe. Of course, good bikers are constantly aware of their immediate surrounding and know how to yield to oncoming traffic.
Though the preparation for a long bike tour involves many steps, the tour itself is incredibly rewarding, and well worth the preparation.
By taking this tour, you will be doing something that few others ever have the chance to do, especially considering that a large amount of the population does not even know how to ride a bike.
Exploring the world via bike tour is an experience unlike any other, and you must take into account physical, mental, and safety preparation for going on your way.
Joy Mali is an active traveler with the passion of riding across the world and loves to share her experiences in her blogs. She writes here on behalf of POC Sports.