If you’re training for a bike tour, there are many things you’ll 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, but you’re also training things in 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 a bike seat.
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 on to step two.
Start taking hour-long rides in hilly areas. Be sure to do this on the weekend, so 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.
Bring a map and track the approximate distance you traveled in the time that you biked. This will give you a good idea of what it will feel like during the tour distance (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 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 possible to build your endurance up to ride for three hours without killing yourself.
Continue going until you can do 30 miles in three hours and increase 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 on your trip and ride your bike equal to the allotted time you’re planning to spend on your tour day.
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 and a full-suspension mountain bike would greatly help.
More Tips On Training For a Bike Tour
Before planning your bike tour, start training a couple of months before the trip. This will give you plenty of time to get used to being on a bicycle and to build up your strength, endurance, and comfort level. You’ll be amazed at how good you feel on a bike once you begin training.
But before starting any training, check with your doctor to ensure you don’t have any health issues or lingering injuries that might prevent you from cycling.
Planks help prevent back and neck aches.
The practice of planks can be extremely useful in training your core muscles. While planks can be tough on the forearms and elbows, they are excellent ways to build strength in these areas. While performing planks, be aware that a common mistake is to look up, which can result in a shortening of the muscles in the neck and shoulders.
The most important thing to do when performing planks is to keep the front of the chest open and relax your hip flexors.
Planks target many major muscle groups in the body and can be performed with just your body weight. Not only do they help prevent back and aches, but they can also help you improve your balance and posture. This exercise can also be an excellent cardiovascular workout. And if you’re training for a bike tour, you can use this simple exercise to stay in top form for longer and prevent injury.
Lifting weights helps build strength for a bike tour.
Cycling is an endurance sport, so building your upper body strength will help you climb hills faster. Using heavier, stronger gear will help you build strength and speed for the bike tour. The best way to increase strength is to lift weights. These exercises do not require any complicated equipment or a fancy gym. You can start with light weights for two to five sets.
Reduce weights to one to two sets in the riding season, but use relatively high weights. Lifting weights should take approximately 30 minutes and use one exercise from each of these four groups:
One of the most popular lifts for cyclists is the back squat, which targets the quads, hamstring, and glutes. During this exercise, engage your lats while pulling the bar into your back. Take small steps backward, keeping your core tight and bending your knees. Then, drive upwards through the middle of the foot to return to the starting position.
Eating enough to train.
You will need plenty of carbohydrates to fuel your bike ride, but what is the right amount? This is not an easy question to answer as it depends on your own needs and level of intensity. Some experts suggest eating around 0.5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per hour. However, you should not exceed one gram per kilogram of body weight as it will lead to gastrointestinal distress. To avoid this problem, you should adapt your diet to your body weight and cycling activities.
You must also make sure you eat before a ride. Annie Simpson, a nutritionist, specializing in performance sports nutrition, advises cyclists to consume a breakfast of porridge and milk. These contain both slow-release carbohydrates and protein. Other foods to consider include eggs and bagels. To ensure that you have the proper fuel to ride long distances, you must eat enough food to prevent stomach upset.
Taking time to think about a bike tour
Planning a bike tour requires thorough preparation. Preparing for a bike tour involves conditioning your muscles and soft tissue and hydration and nutrition. This is especially important after hibernation. It also requires preparing yourself for different terrains. Before leaving on your bike tour, you should consider which type of food you’ll eat and how long the ride will last.
Plan your journey according to your capabilities. Considering factors like previous biking experience, amount of luggage, and moderate intensity will help you prepare for the journey. As the engine of the expedition, be realistic about your fitness levels and equipment.
Cycling more than 100 miles a day could interrupt your trip unexpectedly. When training for a bike tour, taking time to think about a bike tour will help you avoid injury and maximize your enjoyment.
Consider your budget. You don’t have to buy a new bike to go bicycle touring, but you need a bike with rack fitment points, decent gears, and a comfortable saddle. A cheap bike may be fine for short trips, but a more expensive bike will be hard on your body when you ride long distances on difficult terrain. If you’re training for a bike tour that will take you across multiple countries, it’s worth investing in a more expensive bike.