If you have never put yourself to the test by hitting the trails or roads on a bike, consider this your impetus. Whether mountain biking or cycling, exercise is only secondary when it comes to the benefits of rolling on two wheels. Sightseeing, a strong sense of accomplishment, and heavy dose of adrenaline are some of the other perks of biking. If these sound like things you might be interested in, consider what it takes to plan and prepare for a biking expedition.
Secure Your Mental
As a matter of their mental makeup, experienced bikers are a tough bunch. First-time bikers cannot necessarily be expected to keep up, but they should look to the experts for advice on how to prepare themselves mentally and physically for a biking trip.
Danelle Kabush is mental performance consultant as well as a triathlete, which makes him uniquely suited to give advice on the mental side of biking. He has put together a manual for mental preparation in the time leading up to a serious biking trek. He recommends knowing beforehand what your nutrition will look like, detailing the route you will take, and embracing the suck that may come with fatigue.
Tom Allen is a man who has done his fair share of bike riding, spending days and weeks on long-distance bike tours. Like Kabush, Allen reinforces that mental preparation is even more important than physical training. He suggests an all-encompassing approach to training. Hanging out with other cyclers, drastically reducing tech and social media usage, and learning how to cook in a way that will be useful on the trails are just three suggestions. Even if you are not planning a long-distance ride, much of his advice is very useful.
Even though mental prep may be most important, physical training must be given appropriate time and attention if your trip is to be a success.
Get Your Body Right
The Adventure Cycling Association put together a video that first-time and even experienced bikers should watch. Cardiovascular training is the most important form of pre-expedition training, and knowing the elevation and terrain you will be taking on is a good way to gauge the difficulty you will need to prepare for. You will also need to consider the weight of your gear and bike, as you may find yourself carrying all of it if something goes haywire. This worst-case scenario means that you should spend some time working with weights in addition to the cardio training.
Preparing Your Gear and Home
Most resources which outline the necessary gear for biking are aimed at those who are interested in a biking tour. These tours are multi-day excursions. If you are only hitting the trails are doing a day-long triathlon, consider that you may only need to bring what you deem necessary.
Bicycle Touring Pro lists all that you will need to be as safe and comfy as possible while biking. Cycling clothes should be prepared for all possible weather. Storage for food is also necessary, while a Camel-Bak type hydration device is essential. Of course, you don’t want to forget ample safety gear, either.
Before heading out, make sure that you double-check that your home is secured. Close and lock all doors and windows and turn off lights and unnecessary devices to save on your energy bill. This will allow you peace of mind as you ride away into temporary freedom.
Bikers are addicted to the routine of hitting the road or trail for good reason. It is much-needed exercise, but it is also extremely enjoyable. Biking can afford unparalleled sightseeing, a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and some much needed me-time. If you pack and prepare right, a biking excursion could be one of the best trips of your life.
Jason Lewis is a personal trainer and caregiver to his elderly mom. He enjoys sharing his fitness knowledge on his website and is passionate about writing articles for StrongWell. His mission is to help seniors stay healthy and injury-free.