A bike road trip is every biker’s dream! Who can’t say no to experiencing new places, exploring new trails, and enjoying an ice-cold beer around a campfire with your best buddies?
A successful bike road trip depends on how well you’ve prepared for it. In this article, you are going to learn about the 6 common mistakes bikers make when going on a road trip and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Covering All the Trails at Once
Creating a very ambitious schedule can do you more harm than good. Yes, covering ALL trails in one bike road trip is an achievement but not at the expense of leisure or quality time with your buddies.
With too much driving and too many stops in your itinerary, you might end up missing a nice cold beer or a late-night campfire chat with your crew. Of course, riding is the best part of any bike road trip…but let’s admit it, a 6 am wakeup call so you can get to stop #12 can be too much to ask at times.
What to do:
Build in some leisure time when planning your bike road trip. There’s no rush to completing all the trails at once. Instead, plan to swim in a local lake, visit nearby towns, or enjoy the beautiful sunset. Build camaraderie around the campfire or explore unexpected trails. There are so many things to do on a bike road trip aside from biking.
Remember, it’s all about the journey!
2. Not Being Prepared to Deal with Mechanical Issues
A lot can go wrong on a bike road trip. A flat tire, a broken shifter cable, etc. Add in more people to the trip and the risks of something going wrong shoots up by ten folds! What’s worse is when a specific component of your bike, like a derailleur hanger, gives up ending your bike road trip prematurely.
What to do:
Always be prepared for emergencies during a bike road trip. You should know how to fix a flat tire and other minor hiccups that you may experience. Also, bringing some spare parts with you can save you a lot of money and time:
- one or two spare tires and a bike pump
- a shifter cable
- a chain
- a spare derailleur hanger that’s compatible with your bike
3. Using Outdated Maps
I know, you are very excited about your bike road trip. But that is not a reason to take for granted a very important tool for every explorer — an updated map! Could you imagine going halfway through a mountain ride only to discover that a recent forest fire had wiped away the other half of your trail?
Or how about missing out on new, awesome trails that everybody in your forum is talking about because you don’t have an updated map? A bummer, isn’t it?
How to avoid:
Aside from planning your route ahead of time, taking advantage of websites like the MTB Project can help you get up to date information on your biking trail. The MTB Project also has a free Android or iOS app that works even without internet service.
Another solution is to hang around local bike shops or joining biking groups where you can get reliable, first-hand information from fellow bikers who have covered your trail in their previous trips.
4. Ignoring the Weather
Do you want to have a successful bike road trip? Ask veteran bikers and they’ll say the same thing: “It’s all about preparation and the timing.” You can’t control the weather so it’s always a good bet to listen to and follow weather forecasts. There’s nothing more disappointing than missing bountiful trails because you picked the wrong time.
How to avoid:
It all goes back to the drawing board. When planning your itinerary, always remember to factor in the weather. Check out the monthly climate averages of the area you’re planning to visit using the MTB Project website or other reliable sources. Also, it helps to have a backup plan in place in case Plan A is a no-go.
5. Overestimating You or Your Crew’s Fitness
You only live once (YOLO) so you try to cover as many trails as possible. Ride the bountiful prairie on Day 1, then climb the rugged mountain trails on Day 2. And as if that’s not enough, you decided to hit Mag 7 on Day 3.
Remember that a bike road trip is all about the journey. What’s the point in covering all trails when at the end of the day, you and your buddies feel miserable?
How to avoid:
When planning your bike road trip, take into account your fitness level as well as your friends’. If your crew’s fitness level is not up to par with a 5-day road trip, then just plan for 3. You can also opt to ride around bike parks instead of elite-level trails. Sometimes, all you need is, to be honest with yourself. If you can’t do the trail, then don’t.
6. Running Out of Food and Water
Not having enough water and food for your bike road trip is a surefire way to spoil your squad’s enthusiasm. Yes, you could fuel your entire trip with chocolate bars and chicken nuggets but isn’t it a lot better if there’s a healthy treat waiting at the end of the day? Or perhaps a pack of ice-cold beer?
How to avoid:
Before your road trip, spend a few hours prepping your food and water and put in your bag. Bring easy to make snacks like burritos, rice cakes, or baked potatoes. Also, pack at least 5 gallons of emergency water in your car. Bringing a good water filter is also a great idea.
Don’t spoil the moment. A bike road trip can easily become one of the most memorable experiences in your life. With the right preparation and avoiding the 6 common mistakes we’ve discussed in this article, you and your crew are in for a ride of the lifetime.