I bet you are like most of us, just the idea of jumping onto the road will burn inside you, looking for adventure, discovering new places and landscapes, adrenalin, and be part of this road community, saying hi to every cyclist like you on the road.
But be careful, you will need some tips for bicycle touring, because if you are not well-prepared for certain things, it´s likely that you will finally understand the concept of …” I told you.” 😀 can ruin your plans
Just a few examples, and maybe you can relate to…
The Sun is almost set and you started to look for the camp out, that “somebody” told you once…
For some reasons you start to feel dizzy, your mouth it has being dry one hour ago, and oops, you water bottle is already empty. I personally like to have an 2 liters hydration backpack for extra water supply
You are “almost” getting to the destination of your day, just 4 hours more…and your brand new seat that you are using for the first time on this trip it´s killing you (well, not you..your “behind”)
You were picked up by a truck driver that smoke like a chimney, and his CD is playing heavy metal so loud that your ears are bleeding. The good news it´s you´re gonna be 5 hours earlier that your friends riding out there…”yeah, who needs to enjoy the fresh air, right?”
You ensure that your fatigued legs, starvation, and a butt turned into a rock with no line between won´t demolish your so-hard-to-earn 15 days of vacation for this year, I will give 5 common mistakes that We all did at least once in our bike touring career 😀
Mistake Number 1
Starting your training on the road
Some people will believe that it´s possible to get in shape while they are doing the actual trip.”Yeah, I´ll be awesome after 5 days on the road, I will grow my legs pedaling, and all will be great”. It does not work that way. You´ll realize soon that You should have done it before.
If you were not riding for a while before your trip, I would suggest to start 2-3 months before.
Start with 15 Miles daily, 3 days a week. After 5 trips like this…
Go for 20 Miles daily, 3 days a week. Just continue add miles little by little, it´s the bes way.
See the longest distance you will ride, and try to reach this as we already mentioned above. And you can even extend this 20% once your are really conformable with this, to check how your body will respond to this.
Mistake Number 2
Prepare your Mind
A lot of people that can´t continue the trip are not mentally prepared for this kind of adventure. Very often, it your head, more that you body that doesn´t allow you to keep going. You will must to be ready for face challenges and problems (wind, rain, storms, pain, fatigue) and work through them. You´ll have to be able to convince yourself that, even really slow, you´ll get there.
Mistake Number 3
To Train without the Equipment
If you are planning to do bicyletouring and camping you´ll have to train with all your camping equimpment at maximum load. Specially if this will be your first trip with saddlebags. You´ll need to know that your bike will be kind of transformed “into another bike”. What I am trying to say here is that you will be riding in other terms of stability, driving, and of course energy and water consumption.
You will need to break before than you are used to, since your bike is more heavy now and more momentum. Be careful when you turn, you won´t be able to lin the same way, cause your saddlebags could touch the road.
Mistake Number 4
To Forget to Take Care of Your Butt and Hands
You should pick up a comfortable seat but pay attention to the disign. Some time the big one looks really comfortable but they are made for short trips and from-time-to-time trips on bike with a more upright position
Some riders use specific creams in order to prevent skin irritation due to seat-butt friction. Using baby powder at night is a great option. This will keep the zone dry and clean. Also, change your short every day 😉
But sometimes, the only choice is standing the situation, and perhaps…wait for a few days. If you are going to rent the bike, carrying your own seat could be a good idea.
For you hands, of course a pair of globes is recommended. Do not for get to move your hands, changing the position from time to time around the handlebars. In a nutshell, The more positions your handlebars allows for your hands, the better.
Mistake Number 5
Carrying Too Much Stuff
Take the minimum for your trip. Wearing or using something once a week is not a reason to take it with you for the tour. If you are going to go for a 2-weeks long adventure with no other support than yourself all what you will need should not be heavier than 30-40 pounds.
Do not forget that being prepared for 3 weeks, it the same of being prepared for 3 months 😉
People tend to think to carry a lot of clothes because the weather changes. But here is when the “wearing layers” concept appears. You can combine the same clothes and make it ready for rain and wind, or rain and hot, cold and win. You get the point. You can even regulate your temperature just zipping in and zipping out your jacket 😉
The good news is that the technical advances in fabrics (specially underwear) can reduce the amount of clothes you´ll need to put in your bags
Mistake Number 6
Getting Obsessed with Diet
Let me be clear here: You´ll need energy, you´ll need to EAT. We saw vegans doing a great trip, and we also see people eating fast food doing a great trip. We are not going deep here into nutrition.
But please, don´t go for a bicyling tour for loosing weight, because the only thing you´ll get it getting out of fuel at the very most important moment when you need it most, trust me. Would you enjoy a vacation being tired all the time?
You´ll need carbs as you main source of energy, but also fat (saturated or non-saturated? JUST FAT! For the name of God!) and protein. And of course, a lot of liquids
So, Plan Ahead.
Taking this mistake in account, will help you to have a more enjoyable trip. You can “fix” them the best way for you.
And please, I will love to hear about your experiences, and how you handle this issues