DAILY CYCLING ROUTINE
One of the advantages of traveling by bicycle is its portability. You can easily transport it by plane, boat, train or car, so you can plan your trip anywhere in the world.
PLANNING YOUR ROUTE
If you are a relative novice, it’s wise to choose reasonably flat, well-maintained terrain rather than challenging hills. Beware of absolutely flat countryside, however, as yu will have no shelter from the wind and pedaling will be hard if it is against you.
On- or off-road cycling allows you to explore and discover countryside you might never otherwise see. Because you travel so much more slowly than in a car, you have time to take in your surroundings, but because cycling is faster than walking, you can cover more ground. As your fitness develops you’ll be amazed at the distances and hills you can tackle.
When planning your day’s route, it is worth remembering that you will be able to cover a far greater distance than your walking counterpart. You should reckon on about four times the distance of a walker: about 80-100km/50-62 miles a day. This makes it feasible to plan detours to particular places of interest: an extra 16km/10 miles in a day’s cycling may be worthwhile to get the most from the trip, unless the route involves particularly strenuous ascents and descents.
If you are planning to take your bike cross-country, there are now guide books available to show trails and tracks in popular cycling areas. These trails are often graded according to their level of difficulty, and this will be useful if it is an area you are unfamiliar with. Bear in mind that a bike with 9-13kg/20-30lb of extra weight on it will be much less maneuverable that an unladen bike.
While on your trip, your daily routine should include checking your cycle at the beginning and end of each day. Use a gauge to make sure that the types are inflated to the recommended pressure. Inspecting the treads for embedded stones and other sharp objects may save you the trouble of repairing a puncture later on. Check that the chain and gears are all working and well-oiled. Check the brakes: inspect the brake pads and adjust the tension in hte brake cables if neccessary. If the cables are too loose you won’t be able to stop.
Check the height of the saddle periodically as weight and vibration may lead it to sink slightly over time. If you have marked the correct position on the post it is easy to restore. Check that the lights are working and do not need adjustment.
When you’ve finished your ride for the day, don’t forget to clean and lubricate your bike (this applies especially to mountain bikers). If you leave the mud and grime on it will be harder to shift later, and it can cause damage to mechanisms such as gears and brakes, as well as causing rust to develop. Keeping the chain clean and free of grit will give you a smoother rice and lengthen the life of the chain and cogs. It should be lubricated each time it’s cleaned.
STOPS AND BREAKS
If you’re cycling in a group, agree on a schedule for regular rest stops, with time for a snack and a chance to consult the map for the next stage. If the group varies widely in fitness and skill, some members may set a considerably faster pace. Agreeing in advance on stopping places will give everyone a chance to catch up. At the end of the day, the fastest cyclists can be persuaded to start setting up camp if they arrive at your destination early.
In hot weather, it may be preferable to have a really early start so that you’re riding in the coolest part of the day. You can then take an extended break while the sun is at its hottest. Vary the pace of the trip by building in some easy days and rest days.
Thank you for reading, I hope this has been of help to you. Written by Randy Cromar