For avid riders, the short rides will eventually not be enough. Long-distance touring will become a goal incredibly soon and it is best to prepare for it well in advance. A serious long-distance tour can be a satisfying life experience that you can cherish forever but it’s not that easy to go on one. So how do you go about preparing for a long tour? Here are a few things you should definitely keep in mind.
You head out onto a tour or even before you really think about doing some hard cycling, you need to know if you have the fitness and conditioning to pull off such a ride. Start training for long distances at least three months before you actually get going because there’s nothing worse than running out of stamina or injuring yourself halfway through a journey.
2. Test Rides
It is important to do some research and experimentation by going through some test rides. Carry a whole trips’ worth of luggage on a daylong ride with friends to see how you feel and what is missing. A couple of test runs will show you how it feels to get out there with a full load on your bike.
3. Supported or Unsupported?
Long-distance touring doesn’t have to be a solo act with supported rides becoming more and more popular. You can choose to ride with friends and even get somebody to drive a support vehicle that holds many of the supplies needed for a long journey.
4. The Right Bike
Since you’ll be on the bike for more than 5-6 hours, it is very important to have to right bike for the tour. There will be hills and even mountains followed by plenty of flat land, so a versatile option might be one of the best things you can go for. Another important but often overlooked factor is comfort, which is more important than performance in some long-distance tours.
5. Bike tools and Maintenance
The bike is very likely to encounter problems or even mechanical failures due to extreme stress. There is always going to be a chance that you need to stop the bike and perform some basic repairs. Familiarize yourself with basic problems that most bikes encounter and carry the bike tools necessary with you.
6. Storage on the bike
Panniers, saddlebags and bike bags are going to be essential for the journey. Figure out how much storage you need and where essential provisions need to be stored. Good bike bags help keep the bike balanced and make sure everything is within comfortable reach. You don’t want to stop often just to drink water or get a snack so keep everything handy.
7. Food and water
It is understood that spending so much time and energy on the bike dehydrates the body very quickly. There needs to be plenty of water and even electrolyte-enriched drinks to keep cramping and fatigue at bay. Heavy meals before the ride are not advisable but light meals filled with carbohydrates are going to be important fuel to keep going. Pack energy gels and bars to keep going through the day.
8. Extra bike clothing
One innocuous factor that can derail the entire tour is skin soreness and sunburns. Make sure you have UV protective clothing and some spare clothing just in case your clothes get wet and start chafing especially around the seat area. Don’t hesitate to change into new and fresh clothes when things get a little messy.
9. Replace brakes
The brakes cannot fail on you on the road, as that will end the day’s cycling for sure. In fact, it is probably a good idea to replace your brakes before you even get going on the tour. At least this way, you can ensure that you have good brakes to start with.
10. Create a budget
A well-defined budget can put your mind at ease while you are riding. A budget takes care of all the mental hassle and uncertainty that you can face in the planning stage but if you get it out of the way in the beginning, you can simply focus on the ride.