How do I train for a cycling holiday? All you have to do is incorporate some rides in your daily routine, a couple of times a week could be enough
We often think bicycle touring is much more difficult than it really is.
The truth is that it all depends on your goals.
A demanding route with a lot of elevation changes will require more training than a trip on a bike route along a canal.
Table of Contents
- 1 How do I train for a cycling holiday? Introduction
- 2 Trip duration
- 3 Training steps for a bike trip
- 4 Adapt your course to your level of physical preparation
- 5 How do I train for a cycling holiday? Conclusion
How do I train for a cycling holiday? Introduction
There are many ways to approach a cycling holiday.
It can be a one-week vacation on bicycle routes or a long-distance trip with no set return date.
It may be a very physically demanding adventure with very specific objectives and milestones.
Cycling vacations of a few days or weeks
It will probably take more physical training for a cycling vacation than for a round-the-world cycling trip.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but hear us out.
A long-distance traveler will have plenty of time to perfect his or her training on the road, unlike someone who is on a short trip.
A limited vacation can quickly become problematic if you’re not physically prepared.
You’re high risk for an injury if you’re going on a biking trip without training.
And it will probably be the knees (the most common injury among cyclists)!
The intensity of this new exercise may be stressful for your body and thus painful.
Even more so since you will have weight to carry and your legs will be more stressed.
How do I train for a cycling holiday? The long journey
The body adapts and evolves over the miles. Of course, the beginning can be really painful.
And it can be avoided with training.
But it’s certain that you could do it anyway, trained or not.
You’re on the road and that, is quite simply, training.
Training steps for a bike trip
Prepare yourself physically in a progressive way
If your bike trip is limited in time, it is better to be physically prepared at the very least.
If you are already a daily cyclist, it’s not an issue. The journey by bike is slow and the physical prep is already there.
All you have to do is let go of the clock and accept to go slower.
However, if you don’t ride a bike yet, it’s time to get started.
The idea is simply to avoid painful episodes and become accustomed to riding.
If you can, why not start cycling as a first step?
Take the bike out at the slightest opportunity, such as running errands, visiting friends, etc.
Cycling to work often provides a minimal workout.
And if you live in a big city, you will usually save time when compared to public transport or the car.
If cycling is not an option, then start by doing one or two rides per week.
They don’t have to be very long, but they will allow you to know your position on your bike.
You can adjust what doesn’t suit you, and train your body to ride.
You will extend the duration of the outing as you go along and it will happen quite naturally.
Take a training bike trip before departure
Ideally you would take all your equipment with you and leave for a few days to get to know yourself well.
It can be as simple as 2 days, a weekend, or even a long day.
The idea is to see how your body reacts to the weight you are carrying and to be able to adjust where necessary.
You’ll have the opportunity to test everything beforehand, to adapt, change the transmission or lighten the weight of your panniers.
You may even decide to change your bike seat if you’re too uncomfortable after one of your longer training rides, find the most comfortable bike seat for overweight riders here.
You should always do a few short outings before you leave even if it’s not your first time.
There is always something to optimize or leave at home, even with the experience you may already have!
You also ought to think about your safety on the road and prepare accordingly, we’ve prepared a set of tips on this very topic, find them here: Bike safety tips for a bicycle vacation: 8 Best tips
Let go of preparation
We tend to be so used to a model of society that constantly evokes performance, surpassing oneself, timing, challenge that we sometimes forget to let go.
The beauty of traveling by bike is living from day to day, to be autonomous all the time.
If you don’t know where you’ll sleep that night, there is no goal.
And without this goal to reach, our body is the only guide, the only one able to tell us if we should stop or if we can continue.
It’s true that with a deadline, a return train ticket, a plane to catch, etc., it’s less possible to let go so easily. even if they are less pleasant, etc.
Listen to this: if you’re afraid of lacking physical preparation for bike touring just let go.
Adapt your trip to your abilities and what your body is telling you and don’t hold back.
Take something to camp and live from day to day. It may seem scary at first but it will get better!
Tip: For camping tips while on a cycling trip, read this: Bicycle camping trip tips for beginners
Adapt your course to your level of physical preparation
If this is your first cycling trip and you have never cycled before, you’re not going for g old.
There is a whole network of bike routes in the United States that are very affordable, even if you have never ridden a bike before.
They give you peace of mind and are well documented as to the level required at each stage.
Many of the routes are well-practiced and are mostly family-friendly.
However, if you prefer more strenuous riding, you will have to consider the route slowly and gently at the beginning.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get through, all that matters is getting there.
Be careful though, every hill is different. A small hill can even be more brutal than one with 3 times more elevation.
It is better to go gradually and take regular breaks.
If you are just starting out, I also advise you to start on the first hills with doable grades.
The grade is an essential piece of information to check depending on the weight you are carrying on the bike.
Some slopes can be really steep and dangerous for the knees.
How do I train for a cycling holiday? Conclusion
It doesn’t have to be too intimidating. Make sure to get a few practice rides in depending on the type of trip you’re undertaking.
It depends on the type of trip: hilly, long distance, or just a few days.
Listen to your body and let go, just revel in the freedom this trip will bring you!