Cycling or bike touring is a sport that has been gaining popularity throughout recent years. More and more people decide to take up this fun sport due to many plausible reasons and advantages. Some people even decide to commute to work on the bike, not to mention the fact that many companies offer plenty of benefits for bike commuters. Others enjoy traveling on a bike in their spare time. In this way, you can explore nature and the environment, get to know some places better and enjoy the spectacular views you’ve never seen so far. Traveling on a bike offers many benefits for the traveler; it is healthier, eco-friendlier, inexpensive, and more adventurous. However, before deciding to embark on a journey with your bike, you should get yourself informed on some basic things to have in mind and to look out for. Also, you can take a look at some useful tips to prepare a perfect bicycle trip.
1. Decide where to go
This is the key step. Before getting prepared and embarking on the trip, you should decide on your destination(s) and route(s). It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a paper map on your hands, you never know when it can come in handy. If you’re a beginner, you could opt for organized biking tours for starters. There are usually a few options when it comes to these organized tours. For example, you can go with long day trips, supported tours, credit-card tours, guided self-supported tours, fully self-supported tours, or bicycle travel. When you get some biking experience, it will be easier for you to organize your own, individual tour.
2. Choose your bike carefully
The next crucial step is the right bike. Many kinds of bikes are suitable for different terrains. You should decide on the terrain you’re mostly going to ride your bike on. We’ll go through some basic types and the best ways to use them.
- Road bikes
Road bikes are ideal for long-day rides and tours where you don’t carry your luggage. On the other hand, they are not so convenient for a long-distance self-supported tour. They are perfect though, for shorter trips that last from a few days up to one week. If short trips without too much luggage are your aim, then you should search for road bikes for sale and get yourself one.
- Mountain bikes
A mountain bike is an ideal alternative if you’re planning to ride your bike on rough terrain, unpaved paths, or hilly areas. However, they are not made for extensive riding on paved terrain.
- Recumbent bicycles
These bikes are quite comfy as you can lean back and relax while riding. Some people opting for this kind of bike have some back or knee issues. They can be equipped for long-distance riding, but they don’t have to be.
- Touring bikes
These bikes are specially designed for long-distance biking. They have wider tires, which helps in supporting more weight as well as handling rough terrain. Their frame is durable and they have a more comfortable seat.
3. Prepare yourself and your bike for the trip
Don’t forget to pack everything you need – personal documents, some food and water, a map, clothes, money and remember to take a helmet (in some countries it is illegal to ride a bike without a helmet). As far as your bike is concerned, you should check a few things. For example, check if tires are pumped and if the chain is lubed as well as if there are some mechanical issues before hitting the road.
4. Remember to pack some essential tools and learn some mechanics basics
Bringing a few tools along can be quite helpful. Experts suggest taking a multi-tool as well as everything necessary for fixing a flat tire. That would include a pump, spare tube or a patch kit, and tire levers. This will help you feel independent and safe on your ride. However, the tools alone won’t help you if you don’t know how to use them. So, it would be a good idea to watch some videos or take some basic bike mechanics courses.
5. Bring plenty of snacks and water
The things that you shouldn’t skip on your bike trips are definitely some food and water. As cars need fuel to keep on going, so do you bring the ‘engine’ of your bike. Take some proteins and energy-boosting foods along, regardless of whether your trips are long or short.
6. Be mindful of road signs
Being a cyclist, you also take on a role of a traffic participant. Hence, you need to be aware of other participants such as car drivers, motorcyclists as well as pedestrians. You should be mindful of road signs and traffic rules and respect them. You should also use hand gestures for signaling to turn or stopping to give other participants the idea about what your next step is.
7. Learn how to pack your bike for a safe plane/train ride
This is an essential skill if you’re planning to take your bike on the plane or the train with you. There are a few things you should know, though. First, check with the airline or the railway company and book a place for your bike in advance – it’s cheaper and safer. Remember to check the weight limit, if you’re traveling by plane. Pack your bike in a suitable bike or bike box. Both have their advantages and disadvantages – so check them out and choose a more suitable option for you. Carefully pack your bike by following the basic instructions.
8. Consider wearing bike clothes and equipment
Bike clothes include components such as the helmet which protects you from potential accidents, sunglasses that protect your eyes from the blaring sun, pants protectors for keeping your pants away from the chain, a waterproof jacket that prevents you from getting wet, bike shorts for more comfort, and cycling shoes which attach easily to the pedals, among other things.
Bike touring is an amazing sport that broadens your horizons, keep you healthy and fit, strengthens your bond with nature, and fills you up with positive energy.