On the way to Nova Bystrice | Els van Veelen
Preparing & training for a bike tour
Do you prefer a handle bar bag and a gel seat?
Speaking from personal experience, it can be a little unnerving when you’ve just clicked and confirmed your first cycling holiday ever. One of our staff in the office found themselves in this position earlier this year and in the months ahead of the bike trip, a whole new world opened up. In this article, we asked them to share their thoughts, lessons learned and experiences in the hope that it may help you prepare ahead of yourcycling holiday and give ideas to train for a bike tour.
Wardrobe for Cycling
Checking my wardrobe a few months ahead of the trip, I realised there were some essential items missing to make my cycling trip more comfortable. Obviously, there were the sports t-shirts, vests, shorts and sweaters, and I decided that bringing a variety of both long and short sleeved t-shirts was a good idea. I also packed a light rain jacket (there are ones especially designed for cycling with a slightly longer back) that easily fitted in my handle bar bag. Sneakers or trainers were going to be useful for sightseeing or on the steep or muddy parts when pushing the bike would be the only option.
Each cyclist has their own preference in regards to their outfit
World of Padded Shorts
By speaking to friends and colleagues, I learned that if I wanted to avoid saddle sores, the main essential to bring were padded cycling shorts. Going online and visiting several bike shops, opened up a whole new world for me. Who ever knew the terms engineered
could apply to outdoor gear? Would padded Lycra, baggy or bib shorts
be best for me, or even skorts or padded underwear? And should I opt for a long, short or 3/4 version? There are many options to choose from and we would advise to try ahead of your trip to test what gear you personally prefer. Perhaps you can borrow a piece from friends or family to test during your training before actually purchasing an item. It’s also wise to consider at what time of year you are travelling and what the general weather forecast is for your destination.
As I went in early summer, I opted for simple padded shorts. Probably bringing two or three pieces for a one-week cycling tour will prove sufficient. This amount is enough as you can rinse the shorts at the end of the day to allow enough time for drying overnight.
How Will I Include Training in My Busy Schedule?
Having solved the issue of gear, I had to start training for my bike tour. Living within 30 minutes cycling from my workplace, I decided at least 3 months before my trip to swap public transport for a daily cycling commute.
Your training schedule furthermore should depend on the type of cycling trip you are going to undertake. Will you tour undulating or hilly terrain? Or will your trip include long and flat sections? Make sure you have this information available ahead of your trip so that you can mimic a day of your trip in the months ahead of your holiday. This will help you get used to the cycling circumstances on your trip and will make your tour much more enjoyable. For exact training advice, you can always contact our team of travel experts
around the world.
Panniers, e-bikes, skorts, helmets, gloves - choices to make
There may be a choice of extras to add on to your inclusions of the bike tour and the explanation below can help you decide whether you like to add these.
- Panniers | either on one or both sides of your rear wheel if you bring a bigger jacket or packed lunch besides essentials like a wallet, some fruit, and a camera/phone
- Map holder | sometimes included in a handle bar bag, often with a rain cover to protect your map or route notes from getting wet
- Cycling gloves | these are perfect to add extra grip on a long day of cycling and at the same time protect against the elements and dirt & dust
- Handle bar bag | useful if you have little to keep with you while cycling (eg. on guided trips)
- Bike computer | you may bring your own and sometimes these are included on self guided cycling holidays with a navigation option, during training a bike computer may come in handy too
- Helmet | in most European countries, wearing a helmet is required by law and on a trip with UTracks it is compulsory to wear one – helmets these days are very light and you’ll quickly get used to wearing one
- Gel seat | some people live by them, others don’t find them practical at all – make sure in which category you’re in when you’re training for your trip. We believe they can be a great aide to help prevent saddle sores
- E-bike | an increasingly popular upgrade for cycling holidays as they allow cyclists of different levels to enjoy a trip together.
What’s for Breakfast?
A good start is important and beginning a full day of cycling with a proper breakfast is certainly advisable. Make sure you have enough time in the morning to enjoy a hearty breakfast, which are always included on a UTracks trip. It’s good to have your breakfast about 2 hours before you start cycling if possible and a good breakfast is rich in carbohydrates such as oats, chocolate milk, whole grain bread, yoghurt, and fruit like apples, banana, mango and blueberries.
Maps & Map Reading
If you booked a self guided cycling holiday, it is wise to make yourself familiar with map reading and paying attention to route notes while cycling. Usually roads are numbered and there are recognisable landmarks to help find the right way. If on a guided trip and you are unsure of the direction to take, just wait for the leader or people behind you.
Contact our teams of travel experts if you like help with preparing for your bike tour
Even as an inexperienced holidaymaker by bicycle, I had a fantastic trip. More bicycle-savvy friends, the worldwide web and of course colleagues in the office helped me prepare accordingly for my first cycling adventure. If you have any questions ahead of your trip, please feel free to contact our team of travel experts
and they will be more than happy to help with your queries.
Cycling holidays with UTracks
Well maintained bicycles, built for comfort, not speed, are included in the tour cost of all UTracks cycling trips. Men’s & ladies’ bikes are commonly available and vary between 7-24 speed with handbrakes. Certain trips offer electric bike hire and many trips have children’s bikes, trail-a-bikes, and trailers for smaller children. In general, you can expect bikes to include panniers, a water bottle holder, lock, repair kit, map holder, and the option to get a helmet.
:: See the overview of all self guided cycling holidays in Europe
:: See the overview of all guided cycling holidays in Europe
:: See the overview of all bike & boat and cycle & sail holidays in Europe
:: See the overview of all e bike holidays in Europe