Tips on Preparing for Your First Cycling Tour
Joining a cycling tour is always a fun and rewarding experience for cyclists. However, it can also be challenging, especially for beginners. Even though you’ve been doing leisure cycling or cycling to work for years, you may still find tours difficult.
This blog is for you if you plan to join a cycling tour this year. We’ve talked to numerous cycling tour participants and listed their top 7 tips on preparing for your first cycling tour.
1. Do your research
The first thing you have to do is to research your tour. This includes knowing the locations covered, the kinds of terrains, the length of the trail, the number of participants, and more. This information would allow you to train and prepare accordingly.
Aside from this, you should also ensure that you know the tour requirements. Some tours require a specific mountain bike, cycling accessories, riding clothes, license points, and more. Failure to fulfill these requirements might deter you from joining your first tour.
Of course, it also goes without saying that you should ensure that your bicycle is optimal during your cycling tour.
2. Prepare your accessories
As mentioned earlier, some tours require specific bike accessories. This may either be per the location of the cycling tour or for safety measures.
Most cycling tours require a high-quality helmet, specific cycling clothes, and a good pair of bike lights. It’s best to secure a front light with at least 600 lumens and a rear light of at least 100 lumens.
If it’s your first cycling tour, experts recommend getting a suitable GPS device that tracks your riding distance and shares your location. This way, you can quickly notify people should you get off-track. It would also be very fulfilling to see the distance you’ve covered at the end of your tour.
3. Master your bicycle
You should know your gears by heart. Even if you have a premium bicycle, it significantly affects your riding techniques if you don’t know how to use it properly.
Most beginners need help to switch from one gear to another. This could affect your riding experience when going uphill and downhill as it determines the friction in your tires. Aside from this, you should also master basic riding skills such as maneuvering, pedaling, and straddling.
It’s best also to learn basic bicycle repair procedures such as fixing a flat tire, reattaching a slipped chain, changing brake pads, and fixing handlebars. Even though some tours have maintenance quarters per specific distance, knowing these basic repair procedures ensures your safety and convenience on your tour.
4. Practice riding in a heavy traffic
Most cycling tours would require you to ride in heavy traffic; this includes cycling beside larger vehicles rather than just your fellow cyclists. So, it’s best to practice maneuvering your bicycle and positioning yourself on a busy road.
When riding with larger vehicles, the most common problem of cyclists that results in road crashes is the lack of visibility. To prevent this, it’s best to secure a brake light with an advanced accelerometer that helps you notify other road users of your movement before coming to a full stop. Aside from this, you should also get a brake light with total internal reflection lenses used by high-end automobiles to ensure optimal light projection.
5. Train properly
Your body should have enough endurance and power when you get into a cycling tour. Your endurance will determine if you can finish the tour without overexerting yourself, which may result in extreme exhaustion and injuries. On the other hand, your power would decide if you can go through uphill and downhill roads with ease.
To do this, it’s best to have consistent cardio training months before your cycling tour. This includes a combination of aerobic, endurance, and slow-tension rides. You can also do cross-training, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises when not cycling.
When training yourself for your tour, it’s best to get a smartphone cycling app that automatically records your riding activity. This will determine if you’re under-training or overexerting yourself. This will ensure that you’re in optimal health before your tour.
6. Practice your uphill and downhill ride
Most cycling tours combine uphill and downhill trails, so it’s best to prepare yourself. The key to riding smoothly on roads like this is your gear. Switch to higher gears when going into a downhill trail, as it gives you better control through increased friction. On the other hand, you should switch to lower gears when going into an uphill ride as it allows you to maximize your pedaling power.
It also helps to know how to position yourself within your cycling group, as it prevents you from getting front wind that may affect your uphill ride. This is why it’s best to have a cycling group on tour, as they can truly make or break your tour experience. You can even secure bike lights with a group synchronization feature for your cycling friends, allowing you to automatically set your bike light setting and flashing pattern with them.
7. Manage your expectations
Lastly, manage your expectations when going into your first cycling tour. It’s best to go there for the experience and not for the victory. While winning the tour could be really fulfilling, doing this on your first try may force you to overtrain yourself for your next tour.
Let yourself enjoy the tour and the location on your first try. Go for it for the experience. After that, you can train yourself to win on your next tour!
Cycling tours are fun, enjoyable, and highly fulfilling.
Joining at least one cycling tour is a must for all cyclists. Nothing beats going into a new country and enjoying scenic views with people who share the same passion as you do. Regular cycling tour participants say that joining tours can be really addictive–once you join one, you can’t help but join more. Just remember to prepare yourself and your gear for your tour, and you’ll have an extremely fulfilling experience.