Whenever we think about a long trip on the bike, the first question which comes in mind is that “What necessary things and precautions should I take?”
Well, I am a cycling enthusiast and being into cycling for the last 20 years and cycled more than 50,000 KM in 36 countries around the world. It was the first question that hits my mind when I started planning for the first countryside tour, so I started researching on the internet and got a lot of information from different blogs.
Though it was not a very good experience because the outdoor industry only wants to sell whether you need it or not but there is a saying which always makes me comfortable after betrayals is that “The only true source of knowledge is experience.”
After being on the road continuously for 5 years and have seen everything one can buy, I decided to help and guide my fellow cyclists to protect them from the outdoor marketing industry fraudsters.
The first and the most important thing which everyone should have throughout the tour is Passion. Yes, the Passion. In my opinion, one would plan a long ride for the following reasons:
- They do it for fun and to take a break from this nasty world for mental health.
- People travel to explore nature, find their inner soul, and to learn the things which no one has published.
But unfortunately, it is not possible if you don’t have Passion. It’s not necessary that all the roads you ride through are paved and the weather remains sunny. You have to ride through paved and unpaved surfaces, uphill and downhill, strong winds, and different weather conditions.
You will come through good days, bad days, hard days, days where you want to throw down everything and go back to normal life. At that time, the only thing which can help you to continue what you started is “Passion.”
I also faced a lot of hurdles during my ride. Sick on the street without any insurance, frame bent over after a horrible accident, and pain in the shoulder that I cannot sit on the bike. But the only thing which helped me to ride continuously for 5 years is Passion and patience.
Precautions may differ depending on the purpose of a long ride, but here I will mention common precautions.
- Before going for a long ride, you should understand the bike very well. A few test rides before going for the tour are suggested if you have newly purchased the bike or visit some good bike mechanic for testing.
- Bike fitness has to be given extreme importance. Bike fitness includes wheels balancing, tubes and tires condition, well-fitted spokes, chain oil, derailleurs, brakes, and shifters.
- Another important factor is to be mentally prepared and physical fitness of the rider’s body because it is not something you will leave in the middle.
- Don’t try to make the records and focus on reaching the destination comfortably and safely. If you planned to take a break after 50 miles, it doesn’t mean that you should not take rest after 20 miles. So, whenever you feel tired and exhausted, take a rest for body relaxation.
- Spend some time to understand the travel map of your tour. Check whether your route prone to wild animal and bandit threats.
- Make sure you are not carrying any valuable items while traveling.
- Prefer to cover maximum distance during daylight rather than night.
Important Things to Bring
Many cyclists carry a lot of stuff at the start of their trip, and after a few days into their ride, they realize how little they actually need and how heavy their extra stuff is. In the end, they have to throw away that extra stuff unwillingly because the less weight you have, the more enjoyable it is to ride.
Here is the list of everything which you should have while going for a long ride:
1. A reliable bike
A reliable bike is essential for a long ride, and there are so many options to choose from the best bike for long rides, but the main thing which you should keep in mind is bike material, and geometry because these are the things which are difficult to replace during the long ride so choose the best touring bike wisely.
Choose clothes that are packable, lightweight, and appropriate for every possible weather condition. Some of the essential items from the list of clothing are winter gloves, Long-Sleeve jersey made up of synthetic or wool, waterproof raincoat, waterproof socks, and boots
3. Bike tools and accessories
You can expect anything during the long ride, so you should have the necessary bike tools and accessories. First of all, you should have a seat bag under your seat, which includes all of your necessary tools such as spare tubes (prefer tubeless tires), puncture repair kit, and bike repair tools kit.
While cycling the weight is less concern as compare to hiking because you have a vehicle to carry it, so tent which is bit heavier is good to go but choose the best cycling tour tent which is comfortable in all type of weather conditions, easy to set up in windy conditions, waterproof, and durable.
5. First Aid and Vaccine
It is hard to say, but accidents can happen during the ride, so for that first aid kit is necessary. It will not probably save your life in case of a major emergency, but it will help you to find medical assistance. Secondly, no one can predict the weather change, especially in the mountainous area, and your body may not bear all types of weather conditions, so it is necessary to have a vaccine for all possible conditions.
Security and safety is another common question by newcomers to cycling tour, especially when you’re on a long trip. It is a real concern for you and your family. So keep yourself and your things safe. You should have a couple of bike locks, use a red rear blinker, wear the helmet, and don’t carry unnecessary expensive stuff.
When you are going for a long trip, it is a common sense thing that your body is your fuel, and for this reason, it is essential to plan your fueling strategy. Some of the natural energy booster foods which I like to eat during my tour are dates, bananas, oats, and peanut butter. You can also bring your cooking kit along with you if you can manage and cook and eat whatever and whenever you want. Always keep a water bottle along with you to prevent dehydration before you start your ride. You should also have snacks like Organic Waffle Honey, Skratch Labs Anytime Bars.
In the end, I would like to suggest you to read some books by people who already did it, and it will definitely boost up your Passion and enthusiasm for cycling. I have listed the names of some of those books here for you.
- Through sand and snow, On roads that echo – Both by Charlie Walker
- The longest road – Ben Cunningham
- A great bicycle experiment – Aaron Sheppard
- Where the pavement ends – Erica Warmbrunn
- Every inch of the way – Tom Bruce
I hope so my efforts to guide you regarding necessary things and precautions while going for a bike tour will help you a lot during long rides.