How to Plan a Bicycle Road Trip
Bicycling tours are becoming popular among young people as a kind of backpacker travel. They’re not only active, cost-saving, good for health but also bring unique experiences to participants. A bicycle road trip can range from a day to several days, weeks, months, or even years.
A distinctive characteristic of this kind of travel is that it uses human power to move ahead; as a result, it could take thousands of cycling calories per mile. If you don’t prepare enough all the essential items and knowledge, it could be a tremendous problem. That’s why this article is created to help you have a good plan for a bicycle road trip. Hope you enjoy it!
Types of Bikes
Bicycles come in a variety of types, and the selection is based on what style of your road trip. A mountain trip is, of course, more advantageous than an urban or a rural trip.
Therefore, bikes for these two styles are obviously different. In general, most bicycle tourists select one of the three bike types as the list below.
A mountain bike is the best choice for traveling on steep, rugged and rocky roads. Since it diminishes the probability of tire deflating, you don’t need to worry when running through full macadam paths.
However, because of the relatively heavy weight as well as quite big wheels, it takes you lots of energy and effort along the way. Another disadvantage of mountain bikes is that they’re not such bikes of speed, and you’ll get difficult to move at high speed.
In contrast to mountain bikes, road bikes give you the advantage of speed, but in return, you cannot go too fast on bumpy roads. Since their tires and inner tubes are thin, they’re easy to get broken when encountering obstacles.
From my own experience, if you pick up this type of vehicle, it's best to bring an additional tire including an inner tube, of course. Other points that you should note when using road bikes is to be very careful when traveling under the rain or any wet road.
That’s because the bike is very easy to slip due to fool tread patterns and the weak grip.
Touring bikes are designed for nomad tourist purposes, so they’re lighter than mountain bikes, but not as skinny as road bikes. Handlebars, brakes, wheels, chains, and other parts are high-quality.
Handlebars can be adjusted in height and allow you to change your posture as well as reduce the wind resistance. Steel frames are not only very rigid and enduring but also long enough to eliminating the load obstruction.
Strong rims together with a small number of spokes (about 36) also diminish the possibility of spoke breaking and wheel bending.
Clothes are, of course, indispensable in every trip whether a regular tourist tour or a road trip. In the case of a long bicycling trip, cycling-specific clothes are even more essential since they’re able to protect your health.
There are tons of cycling-specific clothes available on the market out there. The list below will show you some of them.
This should be the top consideration when it comes to a road trip. Not only helmets protect your head from collisions, but they’re also the best hats to prevent you from the sunlight. In some countries, wearing helmets when driving bicycle is compulsory by traffic law.
If you don’t want to be sunburnt, then a coat is necessary. When purchasing jacket, don’t buy only one, instead, buy two or three. It could be better if your jackets are covered with a waterproof outer layer.
Cycling Shorts and Tights
For males, shorts with a pad around the crotch are ideal choices since they help to improve the comfort and cut down the rubbing. For females, special tights for cycling are also necessary due to the fact that they’re highly elastic and moisture absorbent.
Bicycling shoes are different from athletic ones. In generally, they have stiffer soles which provide the greater force to transfer during pedaling. Besides, shoes should be compatible with the pedal of your bike to keep your feet securely.
Pressure on hands is quite significant during a long bicycle trip. Gloves come to solve this problem. For hot weather, use cut-off style. For cool days, the full-finger style will be better.
Never underestimate the importance of eye protectors. UV light doesn’t spare anyone, so you should prepare at least one items to protect your eye.
Sunglasses are excellent choices. Goggles with detachable lenses are even better since they can vary the colors you see to fit different conditions.
Food and Drinks
An hour of cycling can consume hundreds or even thousands of cycling calories per mile. It’ll be terrible when you feel of exhaustion and muscle cramping all over the body.
Your leg will be as hard as lead, and all the motivation disappear on the fly. To avoid hypoglycemia or energy shortages, I recommend you to bring healthy and energy-rich food.
Fast food, such as pretzels, chips, dry provisions, and peanut, are also very suitable for a long journey. Fruits, like bananas, apples or avocado, is recommended to provide vitamins and minerals.
Holding water for your body is even more crucial than energy loading during the trip. If your body is dehydrated, the blood becomes thicker, heart rate increases, and gradually, your trip becomes terrible.
Thus, you should regularly drink water to avoid these symptoms. If you’re not as tired as rapid breathing, about 30 minutes between each time is enough. In short, to save the water, just drink when your body reminds you.
Other Important Items
- Personal papers: Put into a plastic bags.
- Money: Put into a waterproof wallet.
- Printed map: combine with Google Map.
- Face mask: Prevent dust, dirt, gases, etc.
- Personal hygiene belonging: Towels, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, lotion, face wash, perfume, etc.
- Bike repair kit
- Camping gear
- Phone: Strong signal, high-capacity battery, supports GPS.
- Camera: Small size and high megapixel.
- Backup battery: for both the phone and camera.
Any game has the fundamentals to comply. Once you grasp the basic principles, you’ll have more exciting experience and minimize the risks for the trip.
For examples, before using your bikes, make sure to pre-check all the parts, and if there is any problem, you need to repair immediately. I hope my guideline is what you’re desiring. Thanks for reading!