Whether you’re a veteran cyclist or planning your very first bike tour, these tips will help make your trip a huge success.
1) Do Your Homework
So you’ve decided to take a self-guided bike tour! Location, duration and difficulty are all important factors to consider when deciding which tour is right for you. Time of year is also something to keep in mind. A spring ride through wildflowers and fresh greenery will look vastly different in the red and orange hues of fall. Read carefully through itineraries as they often provide a detailed look into where you’ll be staying and you can research popular stops along the way. Take your time before making your decision. Our YouTube channel is a great resource to help you learn what to expect from various tour locations.
Study Our Locations: GAP | C&O Towpath | Katy
2) Prepare Your Body
No matter your endurance level, it’s always a good idea to train for your bike tour. Riding 30 – 50 miles for consecutive days requires strength, stamina, and good cardiovascular health. Poor preparation can ruin your bike tour, and cause you to risk injury. To help cyclists achieve the most enjoyable and rewardable ride, we’ve prepared a step by step guide on how to train for your bike tour. Recommended for both beginner and returning cyclists.
3) Invest in Good Gear (…just don’t test it on the tour.)
Great gear makes for a great trip! Now is the time to stock up on a couple extra pairs of your favorite bike shorts, or explore some new options if you’re still in search of the perfect fit. Quality bike bags keep your items dry and protected on the trail and you’ll definitely want a comfortable helmet for long riding days. Quality gear doesn’t have to be expensive. Buy online or take advantage of your local REI garage sale for huge savings on great used products. Test your gear a few weeks in advance to make sure it’s trail ready and enjoy.
4) Ask Questions
If you’ve never been on one of our self guided bike tours before, odds are you might have a few questions! We’ve been creating professional bike tour adventures for over ten years and participating in them for many more. We love helping riders experience the joy of self-guided bike touring and are always available to answer any questions you have. Can’t wait to get started? Check out our riding tips for info on our difficulty levels, emergencies on the trail, and more! Most importantly, just reach out and us anything: email@example.com.
5) Get Comfortable with Light Maintenance
Understanding basic bike maintenance is essential for a successful bike tour. Screws and bolts can easily loosen across long trails and you never know when you’ll encounter the unexpected flat tire. Before going on your tour, head to your local bike shop for a tune up and specific tips for your bike. Watch basic bike maintenance videos online (like this one) and be sure to invest in a flat tire repair kit, chain lube, multitool, and any other essentials you may need for on the go repairs.
6) Prepare Your Home Life
It’s now a cliche to say “unplug to recharge” while on vacation…but it’s so true! The realities of unplugging are seemingly more difficult as we become more connected digitally. At some point, we’ll create an entire post dedicated to this subject. But for now, let us tell you that preparing your home life before you go will be super important so you have less stress while on tour. Some sections of trail may have limited Internet service or cell coverage. Create your schedule before you go: emergency contacts, dogs to take care of, that last work email to be sent — make sure all those things are behind you before unplugging and recharging on your self-guided bike tour.
7) Be Present
As miles pass, it can be easy to zone out on the meditative bumps of a gravel trail. While it’s great to be relaxed, enjoying ones own thoughts and company, you can miss so much that’s happening around you. The things you see and experience along your bike tour are what make it so special and so unique to you. Enjoy the sounds, smells and sights of the trail. Take in as much as you can!
8) Take Photos
One of the great things about self guided bike touring is the freedom to stop whenever and wherever you want! And trust us, there are plenty of photo worthy stops along all of our tours. Keep your phone in a convenient location in your bag for easy access when you want to take a quick photo or, to capture long segments of your journey, invest in an action camera like a GoPro. It can be difficult to remember in the moment, but you’ll be grateful for every stop and picture taken once you return from your trip.
9) Meals and Snacks
Cycling burns a lot of calories and energy. Being prepared with snacks and hydration on the road is a must. Our tours will lead you in and out of towns where you can stop for lunch and dinner, but there are long stretches in-between where you may find yourself with little to no options.
10) Get Off the Bike
Some things are best experienced on foot. The freedom of self-guided bike touring allows you time to stop and smell the roses, visit local shops, historical landmarks and anything else your heart desires. Bike tours are truly about the journey, not the destination. This is your cycling adventure to experience however you choose, on and off the trail.