Biking Long-Distance? Prepare Like a Pro

This week I have a returning guest author posting that will encourage some thinking for the new year as we look forward when we can safely travel during pandemic times.

Photo via Pixabay

You’ve come a long way since breaking out of your training wheels when you were a kid. You want to go on a real adult adventure on a pro bike, and you have the friends to enjoy your journey with, if you want to go accompanied.

Not sure whether you should travel solo or as part of a small group? Of course, when you have limited time and budget, you want to make the most of these two precious assets. The David Cross Travel Blog shares what to consider before your trip, whether you end up natural trail biking, long-distance cycling, or mountain biking to your end destination:

1. Where to Go?

The world is a big, big place and with every friend who tells you what a great destination so-and-so place is, you fill your head with the question of whether you should go to that very same destination. But will you be happy there?

Use that noggin of yours to meet together with that friend who has gone long-distance biking before, and present a good case and rationale for why that was the best route for her at the time. Take into account her age, level of maturity, socio-economic situation, and other factors so that you can compare them with yours. The idea is to evaluate whether you are facing her same issues and can see yourself going down her path and finding the same level of enjoyment. Did she have a successful emotional conclusion to her trip? That’s a very good sign if she did.  There’s every possibility that you will have a better time than she did–or a worse one, for that matter–but at least you will have some data against which to evaluate your cycling adventure.

2. Getting Your Gear, and Mind, Ready for the Trip

Plenty of information exists on the Internet that tells you what gear to take, how to pack, what’s affordable, and what’s not. We advise you to only take stock of information proposed by seasoned long-distance biking pros — straight from the horse’s mouth — in biking magazines, forums, community sites and the like.  Of course, you can grill your biking friends and acquaintances as to what gear works best, using the Internet to plug any gaps in your information. One good option is to call the park rangers at the natural site you plan to explore so they can fill you in on the details regarding terrain and relevant features along the route..

As for readying your mind for the long-distance ordeal, a little emotional relaxation can help a lot. Stepping back from the high-intense mind energy of putting your trip together through yoga or meditation can do a lot to calm your mind while also fortifying it. Taking internal pauses like this will give you perspective and can soothe all mind chatter connected to the trip.

3. Secure your home and valuables

After you’ve grilled your biking friends and acquaintances on where to go and what to bring, then it’s time to take some safety precautions.

Create a plan for how to protect your valuables on your trip. Pick up an anti-theft backpack so thieves will have a tougher time stealing your cash and credit/debit cards. For instance, the Pacsafe Metrosafe backpack is made from slash-resistant material and features hidden pockets and lockable zippers.

Despite your best efforts, at some point your valuables may be stolen, so you’ll need to have a plan in place if you need family to send you cash, especially if you’re traveling internationally. Whether you’re biking in Mexico, Austria, or France, there are low-fee money transfer services you can utilize. For example, if you need funds sent to Mexico, you can use a service like Remitly which will only charge $3.99 to send money (and no fee if you’re receiving $500 or more).

Take stock of your home and make sure it’s secure. Taking measures such as checking your alarm system a week before heading out the airport, asking a neighbor to keep a sharp eye out for strangers loitering near your property, and leaving your rinky-dink radio on, on full power — to ward off thieves — are all solid measures to adopt.  You may also need to find someone to help key an eye on your home for other reasons, such as checking the mail or taking care of pets while you are gone. 

A Final Thought

The answer to the question of whether you should travel solo, with friends, or with strangers can never be found on the Internet. It requires checking in with your internal guidance system, your intuition.  You have to make sure you are emotionally and physically prepared for the trip and have made arrangements to keep things running smoothly back before leaving.  Only once you’ve addressed these issues can you focus on the fun and exercise of your long-distance cycling adventure.

Good luck on your biking journey. 

 By Jesse Clark from

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