International Cycling Trips – Preparation Tips

By Jiri Kaloc

Is your first cycling vacation approaching fast? We have a few tips for you to make your preparations easier. Let’s go over a checklist of things you should definitely not forget.

Get in cycling-holiday shape

Before you start worrying about how to prepare your bike and what to put into your luggage, you need to make sure your own body is prepared! Going cycling a few times a week can feel a lot different from back-to-back long cycling days, which is what cycling holidays often look like. If you are planning to ride every day on your holiday, you should consider extending your weekend rides in the lead up to your vacation or even doing two rides in one day. This will help your body and your mind get used to long hours in the saddle.

Cap de Formentor, Mallorca. A demanding and beautiful terrain for your cycling holiday. © Profimedia

But always be realistic about what type of cyclist you are. Your cycling vacation should be suitable to your ability level so you can enjoy it. There’s no rule telling you how many kilometres you have to ride. A leisurely cycling vacation can still be very rewarding. You can do a few harder days and very easy rides for the rest. And don’t forget to discuss expectations with everyone who is going with you. You need to be on the same page.

Get to know the destination country

It’s always a good idea to do a bit of research into the country you’re going to visit. If you know someone who has already gone for a cycling holiday there, definitely ask them for tips. If you don’t have that opportunity, here are a few things you should look up.

  • Check visa requirements for the country
  • Look up the quality of roads and trails in the area
  • Read about road rules in your destination country
  • See what kind of food will be available
  • Check internet access and your data plan for the country
  • Get appropriate travel insurance

Prepare for cold

When it comes to cycling clothes, you don’t want to take too much but you should always be ready for cold weather. Even if your vacation is planned for summer, cycling in the Alps, Pyrenees or Dolomites always poses a risk, you want to be ready for cold wind and rain.

  • Thin waterproof rain jacket
  • Warm waterproof jacket
  • Warm waterproof gloves
  • A hat under the helmet
  • Something to cover your neck, knees, arms, and shoes

You will find that most of these things come in handy even if you’re going to a tropical climate. Also, no matter where you’re going, always bring enough sunscreen.

Pack a few bike parts

Bikes have become less standardized and there are chances that even if you find a bike shop during your vacation, they might not have the brand-specific part you need. And being stuck on a cycling vacation with a non-functional bike is a real nightmare. That’s why you should bring some spare gear, even if you are travelling to a big city. The most important parts to consider are a derailleur hanger, cleats, brake pads, and even a seat post or binder bolt if these are proprietary on your bike. And it goes without saying that you should always bring a modern multitool to be able to do the necessary fixes on your bike yourself.

These are all the basics you will need when preparing for your vacation, except one – your bike! Next time, we will look at everything you need to prepare the most important item for travel.