For many vacationers, travel begins and ends with the classic trio of planes, trains, and automobiles. However, there is another way to see the world: a bicycle tour. Whether one is interested in a weekend jaunt to a popular destination or a tour spanning the continent, bicycles are a great vehicle for the adventurous traveler looking to enjoy the world. While some might find the prospect of spending days or weeks on end atop a bike saddle imposing, anyone can enjoy a bike tour through preparation and the right attitude.
Naturally, the first step on the path to a bicycle-centered vacation involves becoming a competent bicyclist. Making bikes an everyday part of your life, whether it’s through a daily commute or a consistent workout, is key to developing the endurance necessary for long days on the road. Set a goal, and train to reach it. If you’re interested in a longer bike tour, you should eventually be able to handle 70 miles per day. However, don’t be afraid to start slow and work up to a higher mileage. Unless you plan on only biking with touring organizations, it will also be important for you to learn how to maintain a bike. Ideally, you should at least be able to replace tubes and patch holes, adjust the brakes, and fix bike chains.
After extensive training and learning, you will be more than ready for a bike tour. Many experts recommend spending your first trip with a tour operator. Organized tours are available for cyclists at every skill and fitness level. Self-guided tours require considerably more preparation. While some people enjoy touring with little more than a credit card and a cell phone, anyone who expects to spend a significant amount of time away from urban areas would do well to prepare plenty of gear and equipment. For this reason, beginners would do well to stick close to civilization until they have the confidence and skill necessary to strike out on their own into the wilderness.