As one of the most popular and adventurous methods of transport, there’s no doubt that preparing to head away on a cycling holiday is exciting. Travelling with your bicycle allows you to venture off the beaten path and explore surroundings you may not otherwise have the opportunity to encounter.
Whether you are about to embark on the journey of your lifetime across the world, or whether you’re just planning a short trip - there are a number of things you should consider before you set off. If you’ve been through the process of planning a cycling trip before, then of course this won't be new territory for you. But if this is your first cycling holiday, then preparing for the trip can seem wholly overwhelming. Here a few of the most important things you should know for planning your first cycling trip.
1. Pack sensible cycling clothing
Although it may seem like a no-brainer, packing sensible cycling clothing is one of the most important things to remember when it comes to preparing for your trip. You’ll want to ensure comfort, because day after day on the saddle is going to cause some irritation. For this reason, you should invest in a few good pairs of cycling shorts with padded inserts.
You should take into consideration other points of contact with your bike, as irritation and aches can happen anywhere without the right gear. Be sure to check your shoes are comfortable and fit well. Although not everyone is a fan of wearing gloves, you might find that after long days of riding, your hands might be thankful for them. And, of course, a helmet.
Don’t forget to also pay close attention to the weather. Check the forecast of your destination and pack accordingly. Wet weather gear should never be overlooked - even during summer.
2. Choose the best location for the experience that you wish to have
The location that you choose is ultimately down to the type of experience you wish to have. Some prefer to treat their cycling holidays like a race, not setting aside much time for leisurely sightseeing or normal tourist activities. Whilst others prefer to have a good balance of both, and some locations will be better than others for this. If travelling as a group, it’s important to remember that everyone is different and it’s most likely that not everyone will agree on the plans, so compromise is essential.
3. Train, train and train some more
It really goes without saying that a holiday that centres around cycling will take a toll on you physically. As such, if your cycling is limited to a casual couple of miles during the weekend, it will help a lot to fit in some extra training before you head off on your cycling holiday.
You’ll likely be cycling far greater distances than you are accustomed to, not to mention that you’ll be cycling on back to back days. Admittedly, it can be hard to fit extra training around your day to day schedule, but you will certainly feel the benefits on your cycling holiday.
4. Simple bicycle maintenance works wonders
Just as important as it is to maintain your own fitness, you should also pay close attention to your bicycle’s. Some simple maintenance before you set off on your holiday works wonders, whether you opt to service your bike fully yourself or pop it into your local bike shop to do the work for you.
The main things to look out for are whether your tyres are in good condition, as well as checking that your brakes, cables, gears and chain are all in good working order. Setting aside some time for bicycle maintenance before your trip will help to avoid any accidents along the way.
5. How to transport your bicycle
Many destinations attractive to cyclists will offer bicycle renting services, however, this may not always be the ideal option, which really depends on what type of experience you want out of your trip.
When it comes to an activity that relies solely on your equipment, there’s nothing that equals using your own, and so being able to bring it on a trip is essential for many. As such, organising the transportation of your bike to your destination should factor into the early stages of planning your trip.
Many airlines allow you to to bring your bicycle with you on the flight as a large item that goes in the hold.. However this can work out expensive due to additional oversized baggage fees applied by many commercial airlines.
Thankfully you have another option. You can have your bicycle dismantled and packaged into a box or bike bag by your local bicycle shop, then have it transported to your final destination with a shipping company. Shipping companies collect your bicycle from your home and transport it to your chosen destination, where it is waiting for you when you arrive. This solution means you have less to worry about and have more time to enjoy the cycling holiday.
6. Know your limitations
One of the most important things to consider when preparing to set off on your first cycling trip is to be aware of your own limitations. It’s easy to get carried away, especially on your first go. If you try to bite off more than you can chew, you’ll be paying for it later. Take this into consideration for the rest of your group too, if you’re travelling with one. Especially if you are travelling with your family and young children, be sure to consider what they can handle.
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Cyclist & Blog Editor
Stuart is a keen cyclist who loves to travel to different places to explore new environments on his bike.
He works as the blog editor for Uni Baggage – a reliable, convenient door to door luggage shipping service, that can make practical and economic sense for travellers, students and those relocating to a different country.