A cycling vacation is something that will certainly appeal to a wide variety of people. The idea of all that freedom and getting out into the open countryside is exciting, and it’s fun to think about it. However, if you want it to be fun to actually do as well, you’ll need to think about a few things before you get started.
Preparation is the key to a great cycling vacation, and if you spend some time getting ready, you’ll have a wonderful time away from home. Read on to find out what kinds of things you should be thinking about.
Build Up Your Fitness
If you are an experienced cyclist who likes to spend a lot of your spare time out on your bike, you’ll already be fit and ready for a long cycling vacation. However, if you only ride a bicycle every once in a while or you haven’t done so for years (perhaps since you were a child), it’s a good idea to build up your fitness levels before you go. If you can do this, you’ll have a much easier time, and you’ll be able to get a lot further and see a lot more.
Start by ensuring you have a good bike to train on. A fixie bike is a great idea because you only have to focus on riding and not worrying about changing the gears, which can be confusing. Once you have your bike, use it as much as possible.
If you can, use it to commute to work or to get your groceries (with an added basket or saddlebags, of course). If you don’t regularly go to places because you work from home, for example, you should still make time to ride your bike every day. Make the journey longer and longer each time to build up your stamina and fitness levels. It will make your vacation much more enjoyable and ensure you don’t have to come home early because you can’t physically go any further.
Have a Budget
As with any vacation, your budget is crucial. Knowing how much you have to spend will help you determine where you go and what you do once you are there, and it will ensure you have money set aside for emergencies. Hopefully, you won’t have to use this money, but it’s far better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Remember that when you are on a cycling vacation, you’ll need to factor in the cost of your bicycle as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean buying it in the first place, although if you do want a new bike for your trip, that could be a worthwhile investment.
This means you’ll need to ensure it is in the best condition, perhaps by putting on new tires and having it thoroughly checked over by an expert to confirm it is safe to ride for potentially many hundreds of miles.
As well as having money to spend on your bike, you’ll need money for your accommodation. To save money, you could choose to camp, but this will mean needing a trailer for your bike. As you can see, every decision will impact your budget in some way. Understanding how much you have to spend to begin with means making decisions will become easier for you.
Plan Your Route
You don’t have to plan an exact route when you want to enjoy a cycling vacation. You could just start off on a particular path and see where it takes you. If you intend to camp overnight, this can seem like an excellent plan, as you can just go where you want to and stop when you need to.
However, there are some downsides to this. One is that if you only have a finite amount of time to enjoy your vacation before you have to get back to work, you might find that wandering aimlessly, although fun, takes you too far, and getting back becomes difficult.
Another issue is that you might not get to see some of the things that would make your vacation memorable because you’re on a different route or you just aren’t aware of them.
By planning a route before you set off, you can ensure you use your time wisely, and you might discover some interesting things along the way. Perhaps you have an end destination in mind – in that case, you can work towards that on a map and give yourself time to stop at interesting places along the way.
You’ll also be able to book your hotel rooms in advance; not everyone enjoys camping, after all. You’ll have a goal to meet each day, but how you spend your time otherwise is entirely up to you.
If you are going on a standard package vacation, you’ll usually pack a lot more than you need. You’ll pack things you might want to wear but may not have the chance to; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
When you are going on a cycling vacation, this is not a great idea. Packing too much means you’re just carrying things around with you for no reason, and that can make enjoying your trip a lot more difficult.
It’s actually best to pack as few things as possible, even if you’re going to be away for a long time. The key to this is to ensure you stay at places where you know there are laundry facilities. Every two or three days, you can use your stopover time to do your laundry, and in that way, you really do only need to bring a few changes of clothes with you.
It’s not just clothes you’ll need to pack either. You might want to bring electronics, like a tablet or phone, for entertainment while you’re in your hotel – or perhaps you have to work while you’re traveling, so you need a laptop. Make sure you have room for these and their chargers. If you need to work, it might be better to find internet cafes along the route; this will save you from having to carry expensive equipment around with you wherever you go.
Before you set off, practice cycling with your fully packed bag. Is it going to work, or do you need to rethink what you’re taking with you because it’s just too heavy or bulky for a bike?