Preparing for Your Biking/Cycling Trip
The ever-popular exercise bike is a great training tool that will help you get into shape and prepare you for the amount of cycling you may do. It shouldn’t be the only training though if you plan on heading into the mountains. If you plan on climbing, or peddling the bike uphill, expect particular strain on your calves, maybe more than you have ever felt in your life. Practice going uphill wherever and whenever you can. A stair stepper is a great machine to help prepare. For downhill rides the best experience is hands on. Perhaps start at a small hill and work your way up in altitude until you get the hang of handling a bike around curves and dodging traffic. If you plan on cycling in an area of high altitude it is wise to spend a day or two just doing easy cycling or walking to acclimatize. Otherwise a day into your trip you might start feeling the effects of altitude sickness, which can abruptly cut your vacation short.
The more you train and prepare the easier your trip will be and the more you will enjoy it. You want to be able to have fun on your vacation, not experience dire pain. The more you prepare the more time and energy you will have observing the world you ventured so far to see.
If biking is popular in the area where you will be going, chances are it is because there is a local bike shop there with standard or top of the line bikes including rentals. If you’re after a particular brand the only guarantee is to bring the bike yourself, which is quite easy to do on most airlines. Check their requirements beforehand but most will have you take off a wheel and box up the rest. Many bike shops will even do it for you for a small fee. Remember also if you need a hard to find item, chances are the bike shop in South America or Asia won’t have it there waiting, so bring all extra parts and tools with you.
For multiple day trips where you will be carrying your own luggage, small attachments are recommended that will save you the awkwardness and discomfort of cycling with a backpack. The proper safety equipment is important always. Hospitals and doctors are not always up to the standards of where you’re from and you don’t want to find out how. Helmets are recommended wherever you go. Everything from bad drivers to faulty equipment to a banana peel is all it takes to have a life long head injury if you don’t wear a helmet. Reflective gear is especially important if you plan on doing most of your cycling in cities or major roads. Bringing your own tools is recommended if going into isolated locations. In some places if your bike falls apart you have little choice but to carry it or leave it where it is.