Tips for your first road cycling tour
Cycling is enjoying a boom time and many more riders are keen to take their bikes on holiday with them. A cycle touring holiday offers all kinds of benefits. Read our 9 reasons to book a cycling tour blog
. But if it’s your first road cycling tour you might be wondering where to go, how to train and whether you are ready for your holiday.
Choosing the right cycling holiday
Think about the type of cyclist that you are. The best advice is to be realistic! Do you prefer shorter days in the saddle and lots of opportunities to visit attractions? Are you someone who likes to push hard and go far every day? Do you like to tick off classic hill climbs and routes? Or do you prefer more leisurely cycling on the flat?
It’s important to be honest with yourself because a week or two weeks of cycling day after day might end up feeling like a chore if you choose the wrong trip. The aim is to enjoy the cycling and have a fantastic holiday!
Also think about who you will be holidaying with. There is no point in hoping that your friend or partner will suddenly turn into a Tour de France style racer if, in reality, they much prefer a shorter outing at their own easy-going speed. If you want to ride more miles each day, choose the right person to book your trip with or go solo and join a group of other keen riders.
The weather will make a difference to your cycling holiday. Some cyclists enjoy lots of sunshine while others will struggle to ride in the heat. If you will be in the saddle for many hours each day it is much more pleasant to ride in fair-weather but in places and seasons when there is far less chance of rain.
If in doubt about any of the above, why not have a chat with one of the Macs Bikes team? They have a lot of on-the-ground details about what each cycling tour is like. And while they can’t predict the weather, they can guide you to the right locations.
How to train for a cycling holiday
The training depends on the holiday you have booked. Think about the daily mileage and the terrain. The aim is to build up to being able to ride the daily distances. Take your time in training to build up because if you go out and ride too fast, too soon you’ll end up with sore muscles and feeling so exhausted that you might never want to get on your bike again.
The best advice is to start with a ride you can easily manage. Each week, add up to 10% more mileage. Do these rides on a day when you have more time. You can then build up to being able to ride a longer distance on two consecutive days. Also add in a shorter, harder bike ride each week, for example on an evening.
If you are training through the winter or the weather isn’t too good, think about attending a weekly spin session or doing some sessions on a turbo trainer indoors.
You want to be confident of comfortably ride the daily distances of your holiday tour and day after day.
The right kit for your holiday
Like your fitness, it’s all about tried-and-tested. Never pack clothing you have not worn before because it might end up being uncomfortable.
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As a minimum for a week of a sunny cycling holiday you’ll want two pairs of cycling shorts (most people wear padded), two short-sleeved cycling jerseys, gloves, arm warmers or a long-sleeved cycling jersey, helmet, sunglasses, two water bottles, puncture repair kit, spare inner tubes and bike pump (if you are hiring a bike you will be provided with these) and high-factor sun cream.
Useful extras include a windproof gilet, lightweight windproof/waterproof jacket, leg warmers, a buff or neckwear and energy gels or snacks. A bike gadget that tells you speed, distance and location is also worth taking with you.
Further cycling holiday reading: