Bike Tour Tips & Tricks: Training for Peak Fun
Getting ready for a cycling vacation can seem a little daunting at first — there are travel logistics to figure out, gear to buy, and plants that need to be watered while you’re gone. And then there’s the bike riding part! How should you train for a multi-day bike tour?
In this article, we’ve got a few pointers on how to train so you can get the most out of your trip. With the right preparation and a little bit of patience, you’ll be riding strong and having a great time on your vacation!
Why train for a bike tour?
A Wilderness Voyageurs bike tour is fully supported, which means you have lots of options to make your ride shorter or take a break if you’re feeling tired. But don’t use that as an excuse not to train before your ride!
Shortly after you sign up for a bike tour, we’ll email you a detailed itinerary, along with a training plan for the tour you’ve selected. This plan is made with your best interest in mind. The fitter you are in advance of your tour, the more fun you’ll be able to have on your vacation.
Here are just a few things that can happen when you’re in good shape for a bike tour:
- You’ll be able to ride further and enjoy the entire planned routes.
- You’ll be more comfortable on your bike and less likely to sustain an injury.
- You won’t be sore at the end of the day.
- You’ll be able to enjoy the scenery and camaraderie of your fellow riders.
- You’ll be healthier and happier in general!
As long as you follow this training plan (for the most part), you’ll be prepared for your chosen tour. Even if you need to take a rest during the trip, the support vehicle is never far away!
How to train for a bike tour
The best way to get better at riding your bike is (you guessed it!) to ride your bike more. This is one of the simplest things you can do, with the best return on your efforts.
If you follow along with our training plan, you’ll start with a few short rides per week and gradually build mileage. This slow increase in distance will help your body adapt to riding further. As long as you build up in small amounts, you’ll be able to ride further without risking injury.
Try to do these rides on similar surfaces to where you’ll be riding on tour. If your bike tour is in a hilly area, try to incorporate as many hills as possible. If you’re doing a rail-trail tour, try getting out on your local bike path. If you’re doing a gravel tour, ride on gravel as much as possible. That way, you’ll be prepared to ride when your tour comes along!
The key is to ride your bike consistently. Here are two ways to make sure your training happens:
- Be smart with your time. Essentially, you want to plan well ahead and commit to spending time on your bike. The better you are at managing your time, the more likely you’ll be to do the rides you have planned.
- When you can’t go long, go fast. Long, easygoing rides are great for building fitness. But if you’re crunched on time, a short, hard ride will be better than nothing. If you’re super short on time, just riding hard for 10 minutes can help keep you on track!
A few weeks before your tour begins, try to string together a series of rides similar in volume and intensity to your tour. This will help you get used to the multi-day aspect of a bike tour. Again, if you can’t fit in longer rides, focus instead on nailing a few short, high intensity rides in a row.
About one week from your departure date, scale back to give yourself some time to rest and recover. You’ll arrive on the first day of your tour feeling refreshed and ready to ride!
Along with riding more, there are a few other things you can do to improve your fitness and overall health.
- Clean up your diet. Your body is like a fancy car — it runs best on quality fuel. Instead of focusing on calories or specific vitamins, try to focus on the big picture. Make sure you’re drinking lots of water, eating some protein and getting lots of fruits and veggies in your diet on a regular basis.
- Add some yoga into your weekly routine. Starting a regular stretching routine can do wonders for your body. All cyclists can benefit from doing some basic yoga stretches to improve flexibility, feel less resistance and avoid soft-tissue injuries. The biggest step is stretching regularly, so it becomes a healthy habit you do after every ride. Check out our previous article on yoga for cyclists.
- Get more sleep. A recent study showed those who slept under 5 hours a night were over 4 times more likely to catch a cold than those sleeping more than 7 hours a night. If you expect to be healthy enough to stay on the bike, start by getting more sleep!
Enjoy the ride!
To sum up, training in advance is essential to having a good time on your bike tour. But you’ll get the most out of your efforts if you eat well, sleep well and reduce stress with some research in advance. Also, remember to look up and appreciate your surroundings, your riding partners and the overall experience. The more pleasure you take in cycling, the easier it will be to conquer the challenge of training!
Give our helpful reservation staff a call to plan your next adventure vacation. (800) 272 – 4141