More and more of my clients are attending cycling bike events (one day sportives, stage events over several days) – there’s no doubt that it is a fantastic way to combine sightseeing and pursue one of their interests with friends and family. There’s usually a double ‘whammy’ of a sense of accomplishment from the bike ride as well as enjoyment from your surroundings. Whether you are taking on an overseas or domestic ride, there are some considerations that you should make before you leave. Preparation is key to avoid unwanted dramas. Here is a ‘smart’ list of checks and considerations that I have seen people request. Happy adventures!
– Bike Service: Have your bike serviced so your well earned vacation is not spent trying to sort out standard mechanical bugs.
– Worn parts need replacing: Check that the bicycle is functioning properly and safely and that expendable parts are not close to complete wear.
– Comfort: There are some items that you may wish to change just for additional comfort e.g. bartape
– Terrain considerations: You might need lower gearing if you intend to take on some bigger climbs. Note – this may require a ‘long cage’ rear mech for compatibility which in turn will need a new chain if you have been using a standard rear mech cage. Likewise if road terrain is likely to change do you have suitable tyres/grip?
– Compatibility: If you intend to change a complete groupset will it be compatible with your wheelset? Modern groupsets are 11 speed whilst wheels of a certain age are 10 speed compatible only.
– Spares: Carry sufficient spares – inner tubes, tyres, chain, cables, brake pads, spokes, cleats and tools. If you do not have support then this must be a consideration.
– Self-sufficiency: If you are travelling to a remote area you may want to consider in investing in bicycle maintenance training.
– Technology: The latest componentry is becoming more sophisticated – electronic shifting, hydraulic disc brakes. Have a plan in case of an emergency.
– Safety: Take precautions in the event of an emergency. Do you know the local language? Do you know the local sytems in terms of networks of support? (Hospitals/police/contact home).
– Nutrition: Both on and off the bike considerations are relevant. If you are used to a particular ‘ride’ meal or specific nutrition then remember to plan for the change in circumstances so you are not unduly inconvenienced.
– A good bike box or bag. Finding a balance between keeping your equipment safely stored during travel and having a package that you can effectively manage is what you are trying to achieve. Weight considerations of a super sturdy bike box when flying may mean that you discard certain options. Many bike bags these days have inflatable compartments to provide extra protection so work just as well without being too heavy.