So, you’re all booked and ready to scratch a big one off your bucket list: Go on a bike tour of your favourite European country. Congratulations! There’s something so exciting about a first-time adventure. Our guess is that this won’t be your last cycling tour.
You’ve got everything you need: passport, coordinated cycling gear (just for the record, you don’t really need to be coordinated at all, but if that’s your thing, then, hey; no judgment here), a tour booked (we can’t wait to meet you!) and your bike. You’re ready to roll!
Just one thing to remember: Are you ready to ride? You don’t need to be ready for the Tour de France, but it’s important to be honest with yourself when it comes to assessing your fitness and preparing for your trip. We want you to have the time of your life, so, depending on the itinerary, this might include up to 50–150 km of cycling in a day. Are you comfortable riding for moderately long distances? Better yet, do you enjoy it?
If you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry: You can prepare for your trip, which will help you build your endurance and get your body used to your bike (For some of us, the first couple of full days on a bike had us thinking we’d never be able to sit down again, but don’t worry, that was very short lived). That way, you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery on your ride, instead of wondering how far it is to the next stop.
Sure, riding a bike is like, well, riding a bike, but remember, if you haven’t been doing it regularly, your body will take a little conditioning to get back into the swing of things.
Here are some tips to help get you European-bike-tour ready:
- Make sure your bike fits you properly (this is key to keeping you safe while you train and ride). Your local bike pro can help you with this.
- Get out there and ride! You don’t need to ride for hours every day, but do try to be consistent and get out there on your bike, even for short rides, nearly every day.
- Build up to it. Plan a training schedule (talk to us if you’d like tips) and work up to your goals. This article about training for a tour suggests training for time on your bike, as opposed to mileage.
- Don’t avoid those hills! You’ll thank yourself on your tour if you’ve been including the hilly routes on your training!
- Remember your core! It’s easy to forget to train the rest of your body when you’re focused on the cycling, but a cross-trained body will make your riding so much easier on your tour.
Cycling relies on your core strength, but doesn’t effectively build it and it’s key to making the rest of your muscles work efficiently. Check out the best exercises to improve your most important cycling muscles or talk to a physical trainer.
Remember to keep it fun! You’re more likely to be consistent and, after all, you’re getting ready to do something you’ve dreamed of doing.