Cycling has been on a steady rise in the UK for several years now and this increase in popularity and participation is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Cyclists can be found in cities and rural locations throughout the country as we become more aware of our impact on the environment and keeping ourselves fit. With all of this comes an appetite for a cycling adventure where you can test yourself in new surroundings and hopefully sample a little sunshine along the way! If you have never been on a cycling trip however it can be tricky to know where to start. If you find yourself in this category, then here are some tips on how to prepare for your upcoming cycling trip. If you need any more advice please feel free to contact me too I would love to help!
Map It Out
It’s a good idea to know exactly what route you will be taking so you will know the distance and have an idea if how long it will take to get to your end point each day. Knowing the typography of the terrain will also be useful when planning how much food and water you may need to carry, as well as supplies if your climbing high you may need to think about a water/windproof as the mountains can create their own weather. Strike the right balance between having a challenging experience and enjoying yourself.
Take Time To Recover
Recovery days are just important as active days on a lengthy cycling trip. Doing this right can be the difference between having an enjoyable experience and achieving your goals or well, not. Recovery days don’t mean that you can’t do any cycling at all, although if you want you could plan a day of relaxing by the pool or sightseeing, but usually a recovery day just means going on shorter and flatter routes. This will allow you to take it easier and once you have recovered the next day you can go up another couple of gears.
Think Of Your Saddle
This is a pretty important point that lots of people still seem to overlook. If your backside gets sore on your leisurely countryside rides then it’s going to feel a whole lot worse a couple of days into a lengthy cycling trip. Make sure that you find a saddle with extra padding and that your cycling shorts have sufficient padding as well. Give it a test before you set off on the trip and it’s vital that you pack plenty of chamois cream to soothe any aches along the way. Chamois cream is a must, try out a few before you set off.
Think About Transport
One of the biggest questions people have before embarking on their first cycling trip is how they can transport their bike to their destination and ensure that it will still be in one piece when it gets there. If you are travelling by boat, then you should have no problem taking your bike onboard but if you’re flying then it gets a but trickier. Luckily there are luggage shipping services that specialise in shipping items as bikes ahead so that it will actually be waiting on you when you arrive.
When it comes to a cycling trip you’re only as good as your tools and in your case these tools (along with your bike) will be gloves, helmet, eyewear, shoes, shorts and adverse weather clothing. You will probably already have most, if not all of these items but you might want to buy new versions of each one to ensure that you are getting the maximum levels of comfort and durability from them. These two things are equally important on a cycling trip, so you need to find the right balance without sacrificing one for the other.
Along with this wearable gear you should also pack plenty of high energy snacks and fluids to keep you fuelled along the way. I recommend dates, salted peanuts and malt loaf as good riding snacks and Dyrolyte is a brilliant way to stay hydrated without using the sweet tasting hydration drinks on the market. Getting punctures is an inevitable part cycling and so you will want to learn how to fix a flat tyre before you set off. Even if you have fixed a flat in the past you should practice again on your own bike just to refresh yourself, believe me this could save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
A cycling trip should be a fun experience, sure it will be challenging but if you prepare in the right way then those challenges should still be enjoyable and manageable, so preparation really is key.
Stuart Cooke is from Uni Baggage, a luggage delivery service who help cyclists all over the world send their bikes ahead so that they can challenge themselves on new adventures.