Bike trips can be some of the most adventurous trips and ultimate holidays. They may also seem a little daunting and challenging, especially if you’re planning your first bike trip. But if you take that bike trips are a great way to travel sustainably, and to be active during your travels – why not give it a try then?
If you’re planning your first bike trip, there are some things you should be aware of. That’s why we decided to make an ultimate guide to planning your first bike trip and help you and encourage you to go bike touring around the world.
The first and most important part of your bike trip is having a good bike. If you want to have a successful first bike trip, you’ll need to get a long-distance bike. To get a bike that fits all your traveling needs, you probably need to know different types of bikes used for these kinds of trips and all their pros and cons.
Let’s start with a mountain bike. Mountain bikes as their name suggests are designed for off-road cycling. Their rugged and durable design is ideal for mountain trails, single track trails, gravel and fire roads, city streets, and pretty much any other paved/unpaved surfaces.
That said, mountain bikes are not the easiest bikes to ride for long distances but people choose them because they want to be prepared for different conditions they may encounter on their trips. These kinds of bikes are ideal for short trips or off-road adventures.
Road bikes, on the other hand, are designed strictly for paved surfaces. Their design is lightweight and aerodynamic, ideal for speed and efficiency rather than durability. These cool-looking road bikes are ideal for day rides around the city streets, and even week-long rides are possible with road bikes but when it comes to long-distance bike trips, they simply aren’t suitable enough.
Folding or commuter bikes are bikes made for long-distance trips. Over the last couple of years, these bikes became incredibly popular which is mostly thanks to their very convenient folding design. You can easily fold and pack your bike in a suitcase and carry it with you wherever you go. This is one of the main reasons why this bike is ideal for long-distance trips.
If you’re looking for a bike that is strictly made for long-distance touring, then touring bikes are for you. Touring bikes are similar to road bikes but their design differs greatly as they are made to provide a comfortable and stable ride and to support more weight. Most touring bikes can even handle off-road rides.
Some of the most important clothing pieces when preparing for a bike trip include a helmet and bib shorts. Helmet for obvious safety reasons and bib shorts because they are the most comfortable piece of clothing designed especially for long bike rides.
Bib shorts are form-fitting and they mustn’t be loose, also wearing underwear with these shorts is not recommended. However, you can wear something over the bib shorts – baggier shorts or leggings. As for the upper parts of the body, a cycling jersey or a form-fitting t-shirt paired with a sweatshirt or lightweight jacket for colder weather.
Cycling generates a lot of heat, so this is the reason why you should dress lightly. Feeling comfortable in cycling clothes should also be a priority.
As for the rest of the cycling equipment, you should always carry a correct size spare inner tube, tire levers, and a small pump. Lights are essential, both front and rear – however, try to avoid night rides if this is your first bike trip.
Having a multi-tool can be handy so, that’s something to consider as well. Some sort of navigation gadget, your phone, or a small compass, just in case. A bike lock is also a must.
Choosing the right destination for a first-time bike trip is not easy since there are many things to consider. For example, you need to take into consideration your experience. How much do you know about long-distance bike touring? Are you in good enough shape? How long can you spend cycling? And many more similar questions.
In addition to experience, when picking the bike trip destination, you need to think about the season, time, and traveling style. The weather is an important factor in deciding your cycling destination. Would you enjoy a bike trip during the winter in northern Canada in freezing temperatures? Probably not.
Before setting off on a bike trip, consider how much time you can spend on a bike. Riding to and from work every day doesn’t count. To improve your time on a bike, spend a couple of weekends touring around your area or country first and then consider long-distance bike tours in different countries.
Every cyclist has a certain cycling style. When choosing a destination, try to pick one that fits your style. Also, consider what you want to get out of it – what sights do you want to see, and if you’re ok with traveling to remote parts.
Our best recommendation is to start with short trips and slowly increase them over time. Before hopping onto your bike and riding wherever try to plan your route – somewhere with little traffic and less challenging terrain. You can use apps to help you plan your next bike route.
Regardless of whether you’re planning a long or short distance trip, before setting off, make sure your bike is safe for riding. You can do this yourself or you can take it to a bike shop.
Your tires should be properly pumped up, your saddle should be positioned properly – at a height where you can pedal freely. Check the gears, breaks, pedals – everything should be checked before the trip.
Also, we already mentioned that you should have a spare inner tube with you, a small pump – just in case. You can also bring a bike chain oil, multi-tool, and if anything else comes up to your mind bring it too.
Don’t forget to have a healthy breakfast before the trip. Eat carbs for breakfast but don’t overdo it – oatmeal or toast with jam is fine. Wait at least an hour after breakfast before setting off.
The most crucial thing on a bike trip is water. Have a bottle of water ready in your bottle cage and try to sip every 20 minutes even when you’re not thirsty. Staying hydrated is key during trips like this. As for food during the ride, having a banana or energy bar is a good idea.
Take breaks every hour or so to rest, and don’t forget to listen to your body. When you feel like your body needs to rest, make a pit stop, don’t force yourself.
Bike trips, no matter how adventurous and great, can also be exhausting. That’s why it’s important to be thoroughly prepared before hopping onto the first bike you find and riding off into the sunset.
When planning your first bike trip everything matters – from the kind of bike you choose to the route you decide on. Not to mention your physical readiness. Make sure you are completely equipped and ready before going bike touring.