You cannot deny the fact that one of the best places to experience the true beauty of the world around you is on the saddle of a bike.
A bicycle can take you to all those spectacular places where other modes of transportation do not work.
It is even better than walking in the sense that you can cover dozens of miles without feeling that tired as well, and it will still give you a chance to immerse in the elements to hear, feel, smell, and see your surroundings.
However, there are many things to consider before you plan a bike tour to spend time around crashing ocean waves, tall pines, fields of wildflowers, or red rock canyons.
Here is everything you should know to get started.
Furthermore, bike riding is a good option for individuals who do not have enough time to go to the gym and also access their places of work also.
IS BIKE TRAVEL FOR YOU?
Love the outdoors? Relish the idea of taking in the sights, and enjoying the breeze? Then yes – you need to be on a bike. Be prepared for the soft thrills of pedaling exciting terrain.
Anyone can plan and enjoy a bike tour – there are surely no upper age limits in play. However, you may want to consider a few points here. You will enjoy cycle touring if you enjoy your own company and like to travel alone. You should also be able to tolerate discomfort and be smart enough to solve your own problems while on the road. If you are ready to take what life has to offer, bike touring is certainly a great option to consider. In short, people of all backgrounds, ages, and regions of the world can enjoy cycle touring, with friends or with a commercial tour operator. Even children in their teens can enjoy cycling with their parents.
ARE YOU IN GOOD ENOUGH SPACE?
Banish your doubts. Are you of average fitness? Do you love the prospect of a little dash up the stairs? Then yes – you should give bikes a try. You will only have yourself to blame if you don’t try.
It is important to point out that many people are under the impression that bike touring is only for the lean and Lycra-clad individuals, but that is not true. Even a person with an average physique can routinely crank out more than fifty miles a day without having to go through a lot of hassle. You have to understand that if you are in an athletic shape, it is certainly an added benefit but being out of shape should not stop you from exploring the world on your bicycle.
Moreover, if you just use your bicycle to commute to work, chances are you are in a good enough shape to meander along a river for 50km without a problem. Saddle-sore may still be a problem, but you will eventually get used to cycling. Spending more time on your bike before you go for bike touring will help prevent this problem. For training, you will be better off training yourself mentally than physically. Simply riding more before the tour will help you get in shape, but you may have to learn to make little psychological adjustment to deal with the daily routine of a bike traveler.
HOW MUCH DISTANCE CAN YOU COVER IN A DAY?
Since you are not competing in the Tour de France, it makes sense to enjoy the ride. The minimum and maximum depends on endurance levels and desire to cover distances. If you are fit, 40 miles will not be tough.
That actually depends on many factors, including your personal goals, fitness level, the terrain, and the style of touring you choose. However, the average individual enjoy a long-distance bike tour will ride more than 40 miles a day, but you can see people covering distances both longer and shorter than this average. An average physically fit person with 20 pounds of gear should cover 65 miles a day even when moving at a moderate speed. That is mainly on the paved roads though. On a flat or mountainous terrain, a mountain-bike traveler may cover more distance.
The experts say that your aim should be to cover only the half of your average daily distance on the first couple of days of your trip. You can think increase it with time. Covering a shorter distance in the beginning will help you learn more about your bike touring and save you from going through serious trouble in case of a physical breakdown, navigation error, or other planning mistakes. Be sure to have at least one day of rest every week, as this helps your body catch up and put you in a better shape to cover more distance the next day. Moreover, it is always a good idea to go slow and enjoy the surroundings more, unless you are trying to set a speed record.
WHAT KIND OF BIKE DO YOU NEED?
The ideal bike for your trip depends on the terrain you will cover the most. Pick one that meets your need for speed, and of course, the effect on your purse.
Again, you can find all sorts of touring bikes in the market today, so it is not easy to answer what kind of bike will work best for you. To make a right choice, consider your needs first. For a mountainous terrain, you will be better off going for a mountain-bike. In short, what kind of trip you are going to have will help you decide the kind of bike suitable for it. Styles of touring vary greatly, such as lightweight and heavyweight; fast and slow; short-term and long-term; low budget and high budget; and of course on road and off road.
It is worth mentioning that some people stick with mainstream off-the-peg touring bikes because they work well for most tours, but sometimes, you need specialized expedition bikes too. Before buying a new touring bike, be sure to check if it is durable enough, offers a comfortable riding position, and comes with low gears for climbing hills. You may also want to consider its ability to mount racks, wide tires, and fenders. Be sure to clear on these factors first and know your budget to find the best.
HOW DO YOU PICK A LOCATION FOR BIKE TOURING?
What are the kind of sights you enjoy the most? Are you on a tight budget? How much time do you have? Solo or as a group? Ask yourself these questions and the answer will be right there.
You have to consider a number of factors here to determine where to ride. The most important factor is your budget. You can find “on the cheap” self-contained tours or you can opt for rather expensive “all-inclusive” tours. It is also possible to find mid-range programs offered by some bike tour companies, but it will take some time to find them. In case you are planning to ride alone, it is good idea to research destinations before you take your bike out.
To find the best destinations, you should consider your interests first. Ask yourself if you want to visit an area where there are castles and old monuments or you want to explore an area with family-friendly activities and delectable regional cuisine. Similarly, you should ask yourself if you want to explore mountains, plains, forests, or rivers. Other factors to consider include language, cultural differences, and climate.
Some people would love the challenge to survive in an exotic place where no one speaks their language, while others would want to visit a location where they can interact with others. Consider all these factors before planning a bike tour.
HOW CAN I CARRY MY STUFF?
This entirely depends on the kind of person you are. If you want to be left to yourself, you need to be outfitted and geared with everything, including basic maintenance, if your trips have long stretches across uninhabited places.
In case you are doing everything on your own, you will have to carry everything from tools for bike repairs to rain gear and more. The stuff requires packs and panniers, and some good preparation skills or else you will find yourself in trouble in the middle of your tour. You can buy racks that will fit easily on your bike. It is also possible to find and use trailers that come with two wheels. On unpaved terrain, you will be better off using a single-wheel trailer though.
If you do not want to carry everything with you, you may consider going for credit card touring. It means that you can travel and pay for important stuff while on the move. If you are not interested in this, you may consider going for a managed tour instead where touring companies take care of everything.
WHERE SHOULD YOU STAY AT NIGHT?
If you are wild and adventurous, then camping outdoors will be exciting. If you desire to hit a comfy bed at the end of a long fulfilling ride, look at motels and hotels.
To find a right place to sleep, you may also want to consider if you want to camp or stay in hotels. If you are looking for an inexpensive and independent way to stay closer to nature, you may want to camp. Alternatively, you can stay in hotels, which will be a lot more comfortable but are going to cost a lot. Depending on how comfortable you feel, you can spend nights in fields, in monasteries, behind schools, on the floor off factories, in huts, under the disco ball of a bar, and the list goes on. These unusual sleeping spots may not be that comfortable, but they certainly make everything feel more challenging and adventurous.
SHOULD YOU WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING WHILE TRAVELING AROUND AMERICA?
While it is generally safe, it pays to be prepared. Avoid certain places if you have heard anything that is not too comforting. Plan your trips beforehand, even if you are wild and adventurous.
When doing it alone, it is obvious to feel scared of what is going to happen next. However, it is generally quite safe to travel around America even when you are alone. Still, it is a good idea to do your research before hitting an area. Use the internet or ask other cyclists about an area. Ask them about how safe it really is. You should also research to know what and how much gear you are going to need. Many apps and websites also help you find the safest cycling route to specific locations. When you have any doubts or are uncomfortable about the idea of traveling alone, you can find many touring companies to avoid dealing with any issue.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU PAY FOR BIKE TOURING?
Anything between $900 to $9000 dollars, depending on how you wish to spend your day and your money. If you are on a tight budget, you can still have a great trip, you only need to make small adjustments on comfort levels.
Again, it depends on the type of tour you have. You are likely to spend more than $900 and probably up to $9,000 for full-guided, supported bike tours. The amount of money you spend depends on where you would be staying at night and what other facilities you would have available throughout your tour. You would not have to worry about money a lot when you go fully DIY. It will of course be a lot more uncomfortable, as you will have to find your own place to sleep at night. You will also have to carry a lot of gear because you will be camping and cooking your own meals. Still, you may have to spend anywhere between $35 and $50 a day. If you have no issues going dirtbag-style, you can actually manage with $10 per day or even less.
“Adventure Cycling Association”. Adventurecycling.org
Barry, Michael (2005). “What Makes a Good Touring Bike – Mike Barry’s Herse “Camping””. Vintage Bicycle Quarterly