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How to Prepare for Your Long-Distance Bike Ride

We have created a list to help you prepare for that breathtaking journey you’ve always wanted.

Excitement, thrill, and adrenaline rush – are you ready for a long-distance bike ride?

It is rewarding and fulfilling just to think about that upcoming trip you have in mind. But, it’s also normal to feel anxious especially when it’s your first time. But fear not because we got your back! We have created a list to help you prepare for that breathtaking journey you’ve always wanted.

1. Determine how long you’ll be away.

The things that you’ll need will depend upon the duration of your travel. Fewer provisions and gears are needed when you’re away for three days compared to two weeks. You wouldn’t want to be out of food during your bike ride, right? So go grab a calendar and set your own timetable. Create a vision. This will allow you to create realistic expectations about the journey. Just remember that the longer the duration, the more you have to carry.

2. Plan your route.

Have you decided on where to go? Then go get a map and decide the route to get there. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”

Fulfillment doesn’t come when you reach your destination. Instead, it’s along those rocky roads you’ll encounter along the way. Check on alternate routes and pick the one that excites you. Also, think ahead about the possible stops in towns, rest stops, and camping locations along the way. Carry a map, a standalone GPS, or your smartphone with a tracking application to keep track of your location.

long distance biking

3. Begin with shorter distances.

Whether you are a first-timer or not, it is still wise to ease yourself a bit. Start with shorter trips that are closer to home. Then gradually, bike your way up to longer distances. This will help you gain more endurance. These short trips prior to that big day also give a road test to your biking gears.

4. Dress appropriately.

Dress for success is also applicable to long-distance biking. So, make sure that you are comfortably dressed to reach success – your destination. Listed below are some suggestions that you might want to consider.

Use padded cycling shorts. These shorts are specially designed to be stretchy so that you can pedal comfortably. Plus, its extra fabric and pad provides cushion to your groin and eliminates friction on your thighs.

Wear a breathable cycling jersey. A short-sleeve jersey is ideal most especially on a warm day. Consider wearing one with pockets for extra storage and easy access to your belongings.

Put on sunglasses. This is to keep the sun’s rays out of your eyes while cycling.

Consider wearing gloves. It protects your hands from the friction of the handlebars and the cold bites of the wind. Make sure it fits you well!

Wear a helmet.

Take into consideration the weather when planning for the things you need to wear.Make sure to pack extra clothes in case you want to roam while being off the saddle. Or in case it rains.

long distance bike ride preparation

5. Plan out how to carry your things.

The “things” specified here largely depends on the duration and the distance of your travel. If you’ll only be away for a day, then a backpack will do. If you are taking a longer trip, buying or making panniers is a great idea to carry your things at the back of your bike. If it’s a very long trip, you might want to build or buy a small trailer or caddie to pull behind. There are lots of options to choose from. However, you should also consider your own comfort while carrying these things.

6. Just carry what’s necessary.

It’s tempting to carry more during an exciting journey. However, a long-distance bike ride is a different scenario. Carrying it along the way can be burdensome. That is why the fewer things, the better.

You might ask, “how can I carry only a few items when I need more?” Take note, not all the things you think you need are necessary. So, check your plans again and create realistic expectations. Consider foregoing heavyweight things to lightweight stuff that can serve the same purpose.

If the weather is nice and fair, sleeping bags are way better than tents. You can also wear clothes repeatedly instead of packing more for change.

Here are some items that you can bring. (PS. These are just suggestions. You don’t have to carry all of them.)

  • Food Bag
  • Bicycle Accessories
  • Camping GearExtra cycling clothes
  • Town clothes
  • Documents (i.e. Driver’s License, Passport, ATM/Debit Card)
  • Personal Items (i.e. watch, sunglasses, sunscreen)
  • Gadgets (i.e. smartphone, camera, GPS, LED headlamp, batteries)
  • Toiletries
  • Survival Items (i.e. lighter, whistle)

7. Bring an emergency kit.

Emergencies are inevitable, so better be safe than sorry. Include a basic tool kit, a tire patch kit, or a small portable tire pump in case you’ll encounter problems with your bike. Pack an Allen wrench or a tire lever  in your kit as well. Make sure you know how to use them. If not, practice beforehand! Your future traveling self will be thankful for such an act.

Don’t forget to carry a first-aid kit!  Antiseptic wipes, ibuprofen, and few band-aids can will be handy in case you might need them.

how to prepare for your long distance bike ride

8. Pack high-energy foods and lots of water.

It is important to keep a maximum energy level so make sure to bring high-energy foods and fruits for your nutrition. Hydrate yourself.Also, remember not to take energy drinks as these will only dehydrate you and set you up for a sugar crash.

9. Relax.

Don’t stress yourself too much with the preparations. Rather, enjoy every single moment until the day of your long distance bike ride finally comes.

“If you are prepared, you shall not fear.”

Are you ready to hit the road? Follow these tips and surely, you’re gonna have a memorable bike ride across the country.

Happy trip!

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Written by Adam Fouts

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