If you’re training for a bike tour, there are many things you’re going to need to know before you set out on your two-wheeled excursion.
When training for a bike tour, you’re not only putting specific muscles through the paces, you’re also training things different parts of your body to enable them to run more efficiently.
Before you go on a tour of any kind – no matter how physically fit you are – you need to prepare yourself for a long trip on the seat of a bike.
You must become acquainted with it and how it maneuvers shifts gears, and brakes.
Begin a relationship with your bicycle by riding in a rural area that’s mainly flat for about an hour to an hour and a half (whichever you prefer) at a slower pace every other day.
Be sure to try out different ways to ride the bike.
Drive with your hands at different positions, for example. Once you’ve done that for about a week, you can move onto step two.
Start taking hour-long rides in hilly areas. Be sure to do this on the weekend so that you have time to investigate all aspects of your bike and leave time to stop and look at the view.
Packing a lunch and doing a bike climb up a small mountain is a great Sunday afternoon getaway.
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Bring a map and track the approximate distance you travelled in the time that you biked. This will give you a good idea of what it will feel like during the distance of the tour (for example what you biked today is one-third of the tour).
At least one day per week incorporate speed intervals, or “sprints” into your workout, achieving a heart rate that’s higher than your normal biking rate of perhaps 110 to 125 beats per minute.
Get comfortable riding up and down the hills on your bike.
Once you’ve mastered 10 miles in an hour on the hills, you can kick it up a notch and try doing 15 miles in an hour and a half.
Keep biking as hard as you can in order to build your endurance up to being able to ride for three hours without killing yourself.
Continue going until you can do 30 miles in three hours and continue increasing your distance with 5-6 mile increments. Toss in longer hills – they don’t necessarily have to be taller – just longer.
When you get to a point in your training where you can ride your bike 40 miles in four hours or less, place some weights (5-15lbs) in your panniers, go out for an hour – and then come back.
Keep trying to ride with heavy panniers until you can carry up to 30 lbs for an hour and a half. Do this until you can go at regular speed both while loaded and not.
Once you can go at regular speed while loaded and unloaded, pack up all the gear you anticipate taking with you while you’re on your trip and ride your bike equal to the allotted time you’re planning to spend on your tour day.
In order to make sure that you’re fully prepared, make sure you have this list of things you will need when you go on a bike tour: padded bicycle shorts (these can be found at any sports or bike shop), a helmet, bike pumps, bike tools, a mountain bike, a touring bike, biking gloves, and gel-cushioned bicycle saddles.
If you’re willing to splurge, a hybrid bike, as well as a full-suspension mountain bike, would be a great help.