This post is written by Jason Lewis of strongwell.org (firstname.lastname@example.org), and is sharing tips he learned from his awesome bike expedition experience.
You’ve been riding your bike for awhile now. It’s great exercise, it gets you away from a computer, and it’s just fun to do. That’s why you’re thinking about joining your first biking expedition. Whether it’s an official tour or just a long route with some friends, you think you’re ready for the challenge.
But are you? Even professional cyclists need to train for these rides. Here’s how you can prepare for your biking expedition, starting with the right kind of training.
Image Source: Pixabay
Getting Your Body & Mind Ready
As REI.com explains, there are two types of training that will help your body and mind: cardio and strength. A long ride will require a lot of strength in your legs and hips, so you should focus on strength-building exercises like squats, rowing, and planks. As for cardio training, there are many ways to do this, but consider taking long rides where you push yourself.
How much should you train? Biketours.com says to first calculate the average daily distance for your expedition. Then follow this schedule:
- Starting eight weeks before, ride the distance twice each week.
- At six weeks before, ride three times.
- At four weeks before, at 1-2 shorter rides each week.
- At two weeks before, stick with the distance three times and only do one shorter ride.
- In the last week before your expedition, only do a few shorter rides.
Essential Equipment For Cycling
As you train for your biking expedition, you also need to start worrying about the gear you’ll bring with you. It can be hard to know what to take, so the Adventure Cycling Association created a list of things not to bring, such as:
- Some cash is good to take, but there’s no need for a lot of it.
- You probably won’t need a solar charger for your phone.
- Skip putting on makeup, as you’re there to ride.
- There’s no need for an official cycling jersey, pick something up on your travels if you want.
Then what should you bring with you? Here are some cycling essentials:
- Pump, spare tube, and patch kit.
- Cycling multi-tool including Allen wrenches.
- A paper map in case your phone dies.
- Extra clothes
As for clothes, make sure you have gloves and padded cycling shorts so your ride stays comfortable.
Lastly, make sure you give your bike a checkup. Doing a tune-up now or replacing a worn part now, can save you a lot of trouble during your expedition. Check out bike service options at the Denver Bicycle Cafe Bike Shop
Home Security To Help You Focus
You trained up and got the right gear. But before you head out, you’ll want to make sure your home is secure. The last thing you need is to lose your focus worrying about your home. Redfin has a great page listing ways you can secure your home, including:
- It might sound basic, but make sure your doors and windows are locked.
- Take in any expensive items out on the patio or backyard.
- Arrange for someone to mow your yard or shovel the walk if you’re expedition will last a few days.
- Don’t leave any “hidden” keys outside.
Make Your Expedition Work
Whether you are an experienced cyclist or just a casual one, a biking expedition can be a lot of fun — if you prepare for it. Train in the weeks leading up to the ride to make sure your body and mind are ready for the rigors. Make sure you have the right gear and secure your home so you can focus. This way, you can truly enjoy the challenge.
Here are additional comments from the Denver Bicycle Café staff
To be guided or self-guided?
Your travel experience and tolerance for adventure along with your budget, will determine whether you go with an established cycling tour organization or venture out on your own. Solo or group cycling tours that are self-guided are an awesome way to experience new territory or cultures up close and personal. It exposes you to the people and places directly without the usual protective layers that often keep us isolated from life. There’s really nothing like this kind of experience. Read Corey Baughman’s recent posting on his experience touring in Turkey for some insights.
If it is your first time cycle touring you might consider using a reputable tour organization. Choosing an experienced, professional touring company can help ease the transition to a new country and culture, help you navigate both physically and socially, and provide expert guidance along the way. If you are looking for an expedition in a foreign country, we highly recommend Revolucion Rides with tours in Latin America. They offer both road and mountain biking options hosted by local guides who provide a unique experience of their country. Check them out at revolucionrides.com.
Bike maintenance or new bike?
The Denver Bicycle Café, Bike Shop can help you with any of your bicycle needs, whether you are looking for a new bike for your tour, or to equip your existing bike for touring or just basic maintenance. If you are new to touring, you can also get expert touring advice from the bike shop staff or from many of the patrons of the Bicycle café. You can also check out our blog on our DBC website for recent articles on touring, bike safety and what to do if you are involved in a crash (be sure and check local sources based on your destination before you take your trip). Stop by the bike shop or call us at 720-446-8029 for assistance.