5 tips for a great cycling trip
For a great cycling trip:
Cycle touring is easy once you know how, and it’s a huge amount of fun. You get to see places that you would otherwise never see, and at the perfect speed to fully appreciate the landscape. Whether you go for an overnight or a 3-month odyssey, here are 5 tips to make your first trip a great cycling trip.
Take a friend / Compromise down on distance
If you can travel with someone else, you get a number of benefits. You can make better decisions with two people, you can more easily afford to stay in better accommodation by sharing, and you can borrow equipment if necessary. That said, it is necessary to be able to split up, even if you are never far from each other. The ability to do so releases tension and allows you both to go at your own pace for more of the time.
But then you need to compromise on your route – particularly on the distances that you cover each day. If one person wants to do 60km a day and the other wants to do 120km a day, the ideal figure is about 70km a day, as it is easier to ride a shorter distance than you are used to than it is to ride a longer one. And the person who wants to do the longer distance can still fit in a detour or two along the way.
Plan an easy finish
Don’t always leave the bulk of the riding for the end of the day and be in a position where you are hurrying to make your accommodation. It’s a great feeling to have only a litlle bit of your ride left and loads of time to spare. So get out early and don’t dawdle at the start of your ride. Make good progress and the rest of the day will be a breeze. And hopefully it will be a tailwind.
Most people need to learn this on the road. You need very little to survive for the few hours that you are away. Check out our packing list for a suggestion on what you should take.
Do not fear mechanicals
You need to learn how to fix a puncture while out on the road. There are plenty of YouTube clips on how to do so. Do it at home a couple of times if you need to.
In 5 years of cycling, I have only once been stuck at the side of a road with a bike that I could not ride. The chain had snapped. Coincidentally, I had broken it and reattached it myself the previous evening. Lesson learned. Within a couple of minutes a local farmer had offered to give me a lift to the nearest bike shop around ten kilometres away. It was fixed in a few minutes.
Since then I have gotten several new chains, all attached by professionals, and I have never had an issue.
It is rare that you will ever be truly stuck. However, nobody likes the feeling of that no matter how long it is for. If you carry our app with you, you will have the phone numbers of dozens of cycle-friendly taxi companies – all pre-vetted and stored offline.
Use the best bike that you can
A good bicycle is a continuous pleasure. Buy the best one that you can afford (whatever the price point is), and rent the best that you can afford (although it may be an idea not to rent a far better bike than you can afford to buy in case you go home resenting your own bike).
Get the basics right and enjoy your first cycling trip. Hopefully the first of many!