Preparing for your Cycling Adventure
2021 is looking like the year for adventure! Humankind has been rocked to the core with the affects of Covid-19. But we’re a hardy breed and as things improve we are seeing more and more people wanting to grab life by the Short and Curlies and make 2021 a year that really counts.
So if you’re heading off on a cycling adventure, it’s easy to let the excitement take over, burst out of the blocks on arrival and return home exhausted! Try these tips to ensure you are prepared for your dream cycling holiday.
Build up the miles
By building up the miles in your legs you’ll enjoy your trip more and be able to get a greater benefit from your days in the saddle. Most of us are too busy (or not motivated enough!) to be generally cycling back to back, long days. But do what you can. Fit things around your work day or whatever you normally get up to. Simply extending your weekend rides in the lead up will help your body in its readiness for what’s coming and psychologically you’ll feel more prepared. If you can set aside a little extra saddle time for one or two double-days it’ll put you in great shape. Remember it’s a holiday and not a race. Wild Atlantic Cycle tours are generally laid back. There is no pressure to cycle quickly (Have a look at who we are and what makes our company tick for reassurance!), but the distances may be more than what you’re used to. Feeling in shape will make the whole experience more enjoyable! And if it’s our Ireland End-to-End, you’ll want to save some energy for the demanding après cycle Guinness.
Prepare your Bike
Some people love tinkering. If you’re like me you just want to ride your bike! However, neglecting that noisy pedal or not trusting your tyres or brakes isn’t the best idea! Your bike is going to see more wear on your days away than normal. The demands of long climbs and descents mean that you really want your gears and brakes to be in good working order – so replacing brake pads and cables before you leave is a good idea.
Long days make it important to have a seat that you know is bum friendly over endurance rides (make sure you test it in advance). Good quality cycling shorts are a necessity and a great use of your budget. Don't skimp on these. Many people swear by chamois cream too.
Take kit for assorted weathers
Whether you’re on one of our Spain tours, in the Highlands of Scotland or cycling the Ireland End-to-End along the Wild Atlantic Way, conditions may vary. Your core temperature will fluctuate on the climbs versus on the descents. Important items to consider, then, are removable layers – arm warmers, leg warmers, packable jackets, gilets and a base layer that can wick sweat away on the climb so it doesn’t cool on your skin on descents. Our Seville to Valencia tour includes some short tunnel sections so we recommend a decent set of lights for your comfort and safety. A good idea for wet or misty days as well.
Perhaps our top tip – on longer rides you need to fuel correctly! Keep the tanks topped up by drinking and eating along the way. Don’t wait for coffee or lunch stop. If you usually use energy drink, bars, gels or recovery drinks, then take these with you, or replenish your stock on the way. The hotels we use on our tours provide great breakfasts and most have lovely cozy restaurants and bars where you can relax and refuel at the end of the day. I mean that’s half the fun isn’t it? Try to avoid getting carried away and eating foods that you know won’t make for better bike riding the next day. On our West Ireland tours and Northern Ireland Revolution tour we suggest you consume no more than 10 pints of Guinness in each 24 hour period (that's a joke by-the-way!). If you’re on our North Coast 500 tour in Scotland, don’t let the famously smooth Scotch Whiskey become your Achilles' heel!
Most of all .... enjoy your preparation! The fun is in the journey.