It’s this time of the year, when the days are getting longer, and there is just a bit more of a balance between the sun and rain that I start dreaming of my next cycling adventure. Whether it’s just a day out somewhere new, discovering a city by bicycle or a bike vacation, I love the feeling of freedom and empowerment once you set off.
Here are some tips I learnt the hard way:
1. Give it a test-ride.
There’s that nerve-racking feeling when you get on your bike with all the supplies and realise that you won’t go very far with it at all. Few times of filtering through your panniers to finally have the bare minimum really makes you appreciate how few necessities you really need!
2. Have some energy-boosters handy.
Bananas, jelly beans, sweets are amazing when you’re pedalling. Once on a long ride I suddenly felt such an energy low that I despaired that I was going to be stuck between the hill behind and one ahead, unable to climb out. As I was about to start looking for help, I had a few sweets and the world started coming back to normal and realised that I wasn’t even that tired!
3. Check your route is cycle-able.
There’s been a time or two when I just assumed that I could cycle through somewhere but I definitely couldn’t. Once I accidentally cycled out onto a main road which was definitely not for cyclists. Another time I ended up having to drag my road bike through overgrown hills as I thought there was a path there but there wasn’t. So checking the route is a good idea!
4. A puncture kit is never a bad idea.
I guess this is quite obvious, but I went cycling to Bruges without one. Thankfully I only got a puncture cycling up to the ferry on the way back, otherwise it would have been a bit more of a disruption!
5. Cycle with a buddy.
It just makes it way more fun. Especially after riding all day, when you’re so tired, you can’t figure out your accommodation and dinner plans — that’s when two heads is better than one!
Apart from that, I’d say it’s pretty simple — just get on your bike and ride. It all tends to work out in the end and whatever happens is part of the adventure anyway! So enjoy!