by Helen Young
Cycle Touring Vacation
For any cycle touring vacation planned we are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world. The sheer scale of the USA means that the landscapes and terrains vary dramatically from state to state making it a bicyclist’s dream. Whether you’re looking for rocky terrains, dusty dessert tracks, or bumpy forest trails, you’ll find all of this and more without ever having to leave the country. Preparing to set off on your first cycle tour is exciting, but with a wealth of information available to you, both on and offline, it can also be massively overwhelming. With that in mind, here are some top tips for planning your first cycle touring vacation:
Take it Easy on a Cycle Touring Vacation
Bicycle cycle touring is much more labor intensive than simply heading out for an afternoon bike ride. It’s both physically and mentally exhausting. Because cycling is the focus of your vacation, it can be tempting to push yourself a little harder – cycling 100km each day until you are completely burnt out. Too much cycling each day could ruin your vacation and leave you feeling saddle-sore and unhappy. Instead, set realistic daily targets and take it easy. Remember that the destination isn’t necessarily what’s important. Take the time to enjoy your surroundings and the ride as you get there.
Maintain Your Bike
Taking care of your bike is vital: a good bike is key to having a great vacation. Simple maintenance such as cleaning and oiling the chain when needed can go a long way to ensuring your bike is ready to go the distance. Keep your bike clean and pack basic tools and a repair kit to keep you on the road. You may also wish to carry basic tools and a puncture repair kit. If you carry panniers on your bike, a repair kit for those may well be useful too. For a longer journey, you may wish to consider cycle insurance. This insurance can be helpful in case your bike sustains an injury that you are unable to repair by yourself on the road.
Consider Credit Card Touring
If you want minimalist low key touring then credit card touring could be the right option: just you, your credit card, and the open road. With this type of touring all you have to carry with you is your basic cycling gear and clothing (which should fit in your panniers or inside a small backpack). Then, you simply carry a bank card or your allocated travel money to pay for food, accommodation, and other supplies as you go along. This is the most low hassle and unencumbered way to travel, although it does take a certain degree of bravery to travel so lightly and without a formulated plan.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
Skin cancer is a very real threat. There are over 5.4 million cases of melanoma skin cancer being diagnosed in the USA each year. Therefore, no matter how light you’re packing, it’s important to protect your skin as you travel. Pack a high SPF factor sun lotion and ensure you wear a lightweight long sleeve shirt to protect your arms as you cycle. Nothing hampers a great cycling tour like the discomfort of sun burn.
Carry enough water bottles and refill them often. Dehydration can come on quickly and leave you feeling sore, sluggish, and with a terrible headache. Running out of water in the middle of nowhere whilst enjoying a difficult trail can leave you feeling panicked. It can ruin an otherwise great day. Keep hydrated and drink plenty of water whenever you have the opportunity. Your water bottle is one of the most important things you will carry with you on your ride.
A Cycle Touring Vacation is a Time to Explore!
Finally, don’t be afraid to explore and make the most of your adventure! Get off the beaten track, leave the main road, and head onwards into the middle of nowhere. Don’t worry about what other people think about your decision to take a cycle touring vacation. What should you do instead? Just enjoy it. With your bike for company, this could well be the best and most exciting vacation you’ll ever have. So take time to explore and make the most of your next bike adventure!