I am currently on my second mountain bike tour ever. There are numerous things I wish I’d known before the outset.
Have you found your dream mountain bike and now want to tackle the first tour?
With the right equipment consisting of clothing, provisions, emergency bags and a route plan, you can ensure long-lasting driving pleasure.
Top Mountain Bike Tips For Your Tour
Tip-1: You can do it
Belief in yourself is the number one thing that will allow you to tour by bike. If you want to do it and you back yourself, you can. You are the Little Engine Who Could “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!”
Tip-2: Travel light
Trust me, you don’t need that extra pair of casual shoes. You don’t need that frying pan or that red belt. You will need one change of clothes you feel human in (meaning don’t just bring crocs and shorts to wear) two sets of cycling clothes and minimal useful-only gear. If you can throw it out, throw it out. We thought we’d packed light, supremely light and yet we’ve already sent home two boxes worth of stuff. If something has a double use, throw out the other thing. Lighter is better.
Tip-3: All about riding with your touring partner or partners
Listen to the advice the more experienced person gives you, they will be right 90% of the time. Tell someone when you’re in pain/upset/tired/want to stop, it is much better than having to spend three weeks holding up the trip because you blew up on the bike. When you get to your destination split up the jobs between you and your traveling buddy/buddies have a roster if need be.
Tip-4: If you can, get a proper set up on your bike
Many bike shops do ‘Bike Fits’ to check everything from the height of your seat post to the length of your stem. This means you will be able to ride with your whole body – riding strongly and remaining comfortable and strong. Of note, any bike can be used for touring (depending on the length and severity of the trip). You need to be comfortable on whichever bike you’re on, that’s the most important part. If you can get a touring bike, they hold the advantages of being much stronger and better balancing the extra weight you’re carrying – making riding a loaded bike more manageable.
Tip-5: Train before you travel
This involves increasing your fitness if you can and more importantly practicing riding in all conditions: on unsurfaced roads, sand and rocky gravel. Try riding along the white line on the side of the road, maintaining your balance as long as possible. Ride in the rain, wind, bright sun and twilight. Allow yourself to adjust.
Tip-6: Choose the right tour
When you tackle your first mountain bike tour, plan a route that you can end or shorten early if necessary.
So that you can enjoy mountain biking for a long time, it is best to choose a distance that you can manage in any case, and pay attention to the elevation profile and the nature of the paths. As with any sport, it is healthier for the body and more attractive for the mind to improve bit by bit.
Tip-7: Set out with a positive attitude every day – this is huge
Smile if you can talk out loud to yourself positive reinforcement goes a long way. If you’re feeling and acting positively, the day will feel shorter, easier and better. It will be easier for your companions too. Think Dory from Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”
Tip-8: Use all of the gears on your bike – that’s what they’re there for!
Please, please use the lighter gears when you’re going up a hill. There is no reason to be a hero and try to reach the top first. There will be another to climb and then another… Spinning your legs faster in a lighter gear is better for your knees and muscles than slowly grinding in a harder gear.
Tip-9: Make realistic goals
Break up the day into manageable chunks, use meals or tourist attractions along the way as designated rest stops. Give yourself enough time – Allow yourself all the time in the day, there’s no hurry. If you are riding to a schedule, try to leave by a relatively early time in the morning instead of pushing on into the night.
Tip-10: Take enough drinks on your bike trip
No matter how long your tour will be, always bring enough drinks with you or plan stops where you can refill your beverage bottles.
On a leisurely tour, there is nothing to be said against an extensive drinking break; for sporty driving it is more advisable to consume about 0.5 to 1 liter per hour in small amounts occasionally. In the summer and when you sweat a lot, you should drink more.
In order to supply the body not only with water, but also with carbohydrates at the same time, juice spritzers are recommended.
Tip-11: Act like a cyclist
This means three things – clothing, nutrition and body care.
Firstly, Wear proper cycling gear – padded lycra shorts ‘Knicks’, lightweight top and breathable socks – you’ll sweat less and feel more comfortable on the bike.
Secondly, keep your thirst quenched and your hunger satisfied – drink more water than you think you need – once you’ve had a good swig, drink that much again. Eat healthy energy-rich snacks such as bananas and Scroggin throughout the day.
Finally, Stretch after every ride – active stretching is the best but any stretching you do will contribute to tomorrow’s ride being more manageable and enjoyable.
Tip-12: OPTIONAL BUT ADVISED. Ride together (when riding separate bikes)
This might seem a bit hard if there is a huge discrepancy between your ability levels, but in my experience, it means both or all parties can take turns riding into the wind, you can talk or sing or stop to pose for a photo, and it makes the trip the both of yours. Of course, there can be a mix of riding at your own speeds for a day here and there if someone wants to extend themselves or live life in the slow lane, but I whole-heartedly recommend riding as a team.
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