Bicycle touring is a form of cycling where riders take to the road and travel long distances.
Tip: Solo Travelers
If you're traveling or cycling alone, it's wise to join a guided tour. You'll benefit from having a tour guide to look out for your safety. What's more, you'll have the invaluable opportunity to meet new people and make new friends from all over the world. Who knows? The members of your cycling tour group might just become your traveling companions for the rest of your vacation!
Bicycle touring can last a couple of days or even many years! Either way, riders carry most or all of what they need with them on their bike or packs! Bike touring is not only a great way to explore new countries, but also the place where you live.
Free from the confines of a car, and with much more time to directly interact with the environment around you, bike touring is a great way to stay healthy, and to get the most out of your travels. I call it "bicycling for health". It is off the well-trodden tourist path that the cyclist is truly able to celebrate all the subtle nuances of new locations and culture.
Guided Bicycle Touring
Breathtaking countries, such as France, Hungary, and Switzerland have organized bicycle tours. These tours provide knowledgeable guides, accommodations, and support vehicles. They offer the perfect opportunity to get better acquainted with a foreign land, meet like-minded people, and indulge in the culture of the area.
Where to Stay
You will find that some of the most helpful bicycle training tips are regarding accommodations. You know where you want to go, but you need a place to rest your head at night. If you know your route all you need to do is use the Internet to find hotels or campgrounds along the way. Be sure to make reservations, if needed. For example, if you plan on camping at a State Park on a holiday weekend, you will likely need to reserve a space.
What to Wear
When it comes to apparel and accessories, you can really never have too many bicycle touring tips.
To have the most enjoyable experience, you need cycling clothes that will keep you comfortable in a variety of weather conditions.
- Shorts - Since you will be on the saddle for long hours, cycling shorts with padding are highly recommended. Choose shorts made of a moisture-wicking material to keep you dry and prevent chafing.
- Top - A cycling jersey will provide maximum range of motion. These are also made of a moisture-wicking material.
- Sunglasses -Your eyes will need protection; not only from the sun, but from dust, wind, bugs, and other debris.
Pack functional layers that can easily be taken on and off. Don't assume that you won't need a jacket just because you are cycling through the desert in the summer.
Essential Bicycle Equipment
- Bicycle - A key to a successful bicycle touring trip is to have a good and especially reliable touring bicycle. It needs to be a lot sturdier than an average road racing bicycle. It is also important that you have very durable tiers designed to go the distance with cross country cycling.
- Bicycle repair kit - Having a repair kit on you at all times is one of the bicycle touring tips I can't stress enough. If your chain is going to break or you are going to get a flat tire it will be when you are miles away from the next nearest city.
- Helmet - I shouldn't even have to tell you that you need a helmet. It is imperative that you protect your head.
- Bicycle panniers - These cycling bags come in an array of sizes and styles. You will put all your supplies in these, and they get hooked or strapped to the racks of your bike.
- Essentials - Bicycle hydration, cooking, and camping equipment will need to be packed. Obviously, if you don't intend on doing any camping, some items won't be needed. You also need money, credit cards, identification, phone, portable power, personal hygiene products, and a first aid kit.
Tip: Keep an Open Mind
Cycling abroad is likely to be a markedly different experience from cycling at home. You may encounter inclement weather, discourteous motorists and confusing road signs. Instead of getting frustrated and upset, think of it as a unique and eye-opening part of the tourist experience. When it comes to bicycle touring, an open mind is a happy one.
Keep in mind that you need to haul all your cycling equipment. I recommend packing several days ahead of time, and then examining the contents every day to see what you don't need, or what you might have missed.
Tip: Do Your Research
Bicycle touring is definitely not an activity you want to jump into unprepared. Before you set off, make sure you've done all the requisite research. For example, you'll definitely want to research biking laws at your destination - you don't want to get fined or have your bicycle impounded for flouting local cycling laws. In addition, plan your route well in advance and bring multiple maps with you on your trip.
It is not always going to be smooth sailing. You may run into undesirable weather, construction zones, rude motorists, traffic jams, etc. Embrace each obstacle as part of the experience, rather than getting frustrated by them.
Here Are Some of My Bicycle Touring Trips
Make sure you research your destination and route. Are there any festivals or events that could cause road closings and fully booked hotels? Are there bicycle laws you need to be familiar with? Most importantly, pack a few maps, and plan your route.