It’s no question: biking is booming. From the increase of bike sharing programs in urban areas to the rising popularity of biking during the pandemic, people are two-wheeling more than they have since the 1970s. If you and your family are a part of the growing number of people biking and considering taking it to the next level by going on a big bike excursion, here are a few tips:
1. Develop a training schedule
Training for your big bike trip requires more than time on the road. In order to prepare your muscles for the task at hand, you’ll need to combine strength training with your cardiovascular work. If the weather is bad on one of your training days, spend some time on an indoor bike. Spin classes can help you train at different resistance levels while changing up your routine.
Of course, nothing can fully replace outdoor training. Once a week ride a route the same distance you’ll be doing on the big day. Another practice you may want to incorporate into your regimen is yoga. You’ll gain flexibility and release tension in your muscles; but you’ll also learn more about the mind/body connection and how mental preparedness can help you with the challenge ahead.
A brief caveat for families: You’ll, of course, want to choose a bike path that is safe and manageable for the age level of your children. Based on where you’ll all be headed and how much you’ll be riding each day, you can adjust the family’s training schedule as needed.
2. Optimize your diet
When you train for a bike excursion, you’re going to need to be properly fueled to perform at maximum capacity. After strength training, eat plenty of lean protein to build muscle. If you’re planning on doing some long distance aerobic training, consume plenty of complex carbohydrates the night before so you can go the distance.
3. Map your course.
As you approach your excursion, familiarize yourself with the trail and obstacles you’ll be facing (This is especially important for parents traveling with children!). When you know the course, you will know what different types of riding you’ll use and how many miles to plan for each day.
4. Add necessary safety measures.
Safety is paramount no matter what kind of course you plan on facing. A cycling safety course can help you prepare for the inevitable things to go wrong. Practice patching up tires and fixing a broken chain. You’ll also want to stock up on first aid essentials specifically for road rash.
Non-adhering wound dressing
General use surgical sponges
Stretch net gauze for burns
Prefered pain reliever
If you’re leaving your home for an extended amount of time for your trip, you’ll also want to make sure your house is safe. If you don’t have a security system, hiring a trusted housekeeper is the next best thing. Make sure all extraneous doors and windows are secured and all your smoke alarms have fresh batteries and work. If you don’t have a housesitter, have a neighbor pick up your mail and park their car in your driveway so burglars don’t know your house is unoccupied.
5. Make proper arrangements at work
Get everything squared away at work before you leave. If you run a business, simple actions like designating an agent for service of process can increase efficiency and help you avoid problems while you’re gone. You should also be sure to set up your out-of-office message. This way you’re covered if anything serious pops up while you’re away. If you’re an employee, complete any projects you’re working on and let your manager/boss and coworkers know who’ll cover your job while you’re on your trip.
Your first big bike trip is something to celebrate, but you won’t make it if you don’t prepare. Develop a training schedule that keeps your muscles guessing while building endurance. Start eating properly so you have enough fuel. Plan your course and run through simulations so you’re ready for whatever the road can throw at you. Finally, cover your bases when it comes to safety both on the road and at home.