Adventure cycling is among one of the most popular non-conformist ways of spending a holiday. Some people go for a hike, some others choose tracking, mountain climbing or lying on a sunny beach, but how many do you really think will actually spend dozens of hours in the saddle, carrying all their gear on the bike? It is my personal, FAVORITE way to travel!
Adventure cycling is more than an afternoon bike ride in a natural reserve for instance, where you possibly camp and make a nice picnic or a barbecue. For anyone interested in seeing new places, and feel adventurous at the same time, cycling may just be the solution.
Bicycle touring puts you close to the road, to the people and places you are passing through.
It doesn’t take too much money, but it definitely requires some planning, and though many people will insist that you don’t have to be super fit, adventure cycling requires a basic level of good physical shape. However, there is NO way to truly train to be on the road every day riding 60-120 miles, other than being on the road every day — riding!
Besides the great freedom such tours give, they are also great opportunities of getting the local feeling, as you come to know a place by the immediate and direct contact with the local people and their life style. No one can complain about not experiencing the unexpected since it is everywhere: not knowing what to expect from the journey is definitely a thrill.
Adventure cycling will burn down lots of calories and help you get into perfect physical shape! When we would ride with our kids, touring…. our chant was — “Why do we ride?” “ICE CREAM!!” You can pretty much eat as much as you like, and you will still lose some weight.
During the period of intense effort you should actually have foods with a high caloric level since they ensure the energy necessary for pedaling. Always, always carry food in your bags. Keep protein bars and powdered drinks to give you energy.
The worst feeling is hitting the proverbial WALL. I’ve done it. I’ve done it with kids on the back, in the woods with no one around…. and it is NOT recommended.
Moreover, besides the health benefits you get to feel by taking part to cycling tours, you also have the chance of making a statement on the pollution level and the environmental advantages that come together with an ecological kind of trip.
Sometimes, people feel a bit hesitant about starting a cycling adventure,. The most common reasons that stop one from such an experience include age, health and confidence.
“I’m too old to start a cycling adventure”
“I am not at all fit for pedaling miles or kilometers on end”
“I’ve got too many things to do at work to take a vacation”
“I have never done something like that in my life”
and the list could go on…
What people actually fail to realize from the beginning is that such statements are merely excuses that should not stop you from doing what you want. Your head is in your way!
Decide if an adventure cycling tour is what you want and go for it. Have fun on the journey! And always remember — it is about the journey not the destination!!
Thrilled to do a quick bike tour with my daughter and a friend. Even a short trip takes the same amount of gear and lots of planning. And then of course, those plans get changed on the road.
I absolutely LOVE my bike when it has all of the gear. And it was a total challenge to ride it fully loaded on the hills of the Hudson Valley. My legs felt the burn of climbing and the thrill of the downhill.
The days were HOT and challenging. We ended up starting a day late and in the hills rather than the valley. So we rode more uphill than I initially had planned. Staying close to the Hudson was the plan, and rivers can definitely help to smooth out a ride. But because we were later, we ended up starting miles from the river in the hills….
The first day out was both Sadie and Katie’s first time riding with gear on their bikes. A totally new feel to the bike and more challenging in the hills. But as always, the best way to train for bike touring is to ride on a quick bike tour.
The pile of gear didn’t really seem to be any less than my cross country tour. You still need your camping gear, your sleeping gear, your cooking gear (although we didn’t carry a full kitchen set up). It all added up. And we carried two tents. Bikes were heavy.
We made it out of the mountains and then changed our route to get off of the bigger roads and travel on the back roads to Bard College at Annandale-On-Hudson. On my bucket list this summer, was sitting on the rock in the pond at Bard College. Google maps took us onto a bike trail but not a trail made for bikes with gear. We ended up on BIG gravel trails pushing our loaded bikes uphill….. with bugs and heat. Miserable. But we emerged onto the campus after four miles on the trail.
The campus, beautiful. The rock, magical. AND no good pictures of it!!
Food stops were scarce and that was totally unexpected. As were water stops. Outside of Rhinebeck we happened upon a fruit stand that had bottled water and we bought eight bottles. Still not really enough to get us all the way into town.
Katie and Sadie saved a turtle on the road. I didn’t even see it and usually I see these things. But I was focused on the road ahead, I guess.
Rhinebeck finally appeared and lunch in a nice tavern with lots of air conditioning revived us all.
Our campsite for the night was with a #Warmshowers host just outside of town. We have hosted many, many cyclists from around the world through Warmshowers.org but this was our first Warmshowers stay. It just never worked on to our routes before. The family was wonderful. Generous in letting us take a swim, shower and cooked delicious food. It is always fun to meet local people when you tour. You learn more about where you are!!
Day two, took us towards Val-Kil National Historic Site.… We biked back into Rhinebeck for breakfast and a toothbrush (I forgot mine). And then headed along the river to visit historic sites and make it to the next campground.
Short days — we made it to the campsite by 11 AM and decided we didn’t like the look of it. So, we all decided to head back to the campground where the car was. It was ambitious as we had biked 15 miles and this would mean a 40 mile day. Since it was a first tour, I had planned 25 mile days. And this campground was 15 and then we were going to ride into Hyde Park and visit the National Parks. But we turned around and headed back into the hills.
We had to decide flatter road with lots of traffic and a good shoulder to ride. OR, hillier roads with less traffic and less shoulder. We opted for the latter…. and there were hills!! One after another.
We again, found few places to fill water bottles and with the heat we were going through bottles quickly. Lesson learned — CARRY EXTRA WATER!
Every year, I think I write this article. And here I am again. Just after a ride with our kids, having cars behave badly.
It is simple.
We do everything that we can to stay safe. We ride inside the white line, whenever there is room. We ride straight. We work to communicate what we are going to do.
Cars — need to give us room! 3-4 feet. The car doesn’t have to cross the double yellow line just hug it. The key is that the car needs to WAIT until it is safe to pass. This is the biggest challenge that we see with cars. They DO NOT wait! Sit behind us. Don’t pass us on a hill or a curve or whenever it would be UNSAFE. Sit behind us! Wait. it is not worth killing us so that you can get wherever it is you need to get to.
When I first got back into cycling, I had NO idea how to fix a flat! I went out with a bike club and sure enough, I had a flat. A few of the cyclists, helped me fix the flat, even providing a tube for me.
Right then and there I knew, I had to learn — how to fix a flat. Biking across the country from Maine to Oregon, I had a total of 9 flats. Actually, not too bad.
Biking the GAP trail in Pennsylvania, we ended up abandoning the ride after our 9th flat in 9 days. We were riding tandems with our kids, pulling a trailer. Of course, the flat was on the tandem with the trailer and of course, it was the rear tire. It meant, every time, we had to fully unload the rack and unhitch the trailer and repair the flat.
My husband and I have a system if we are riding together. One of us fixes the flat, putting in a new tube, while the other person patches the tube with a hole. That way, once we are back on the road or the trail we have another tube, ready for the next flat.
But this was baffling. We checked the rim, we searched for the cause, and we just could not find it. We used old tricks like adding dollar bills to inside of the rim to protect the tube. Nothing worked. Ken, took the train back to the car and arrived back at the campsite the next morning. And, there it was — ANOTHER flat! We headed home.
If we hadn’t known how to fix a flat we would have been stranded on the trail, miles from any assistance at times.
Driving home from dropping the kids off at school, I came upon a cyclist on the side of the road broken down. I stopped and asked if he needed help. HE had a flat. I offered him a ride, and gave him a ride back home. He was about 10 miles from home and he was wearing cleats that made walking impossible. I offered to stop at our house and fix his flat, but he declined and said his mechanic would fix it. Obviously he had NO idea how to fix his flat.
My favorite pump on the road is the Topeak Road Morph. It literally converts or morphs to a standing pump, similar to the one we all have in the garage. It makes it so much easier.
I had a traditional frame pump years ago. I was out with a group on a long ride. I got a flat not far from the end of the ride. I was alone. Everyone ahead of me.
I changed the tube, no problem, and then went to pump up my repaired flat. The hand pump was challenging to use. I got it on the stem, started pumping, almost had the tire up to full pressure and suddenly the pump pulled the air out of the tire and I had to start again.
I swear, I pumped that tire up at least three times and it kept getting close to good tire pressure and then whoosh it was zero. I threw the pump across the parking lot and had a few choice words.
A couple of cyclists came back looking for me, and we got it pumped up and finished the ride.
Since, then, I ride with a Topeak Morph. It is easy to use, has a pressure gage built into it and works every single time!!
Bottom line is that you need to know how to fix a flat and you need to have gear that works for you. Of course, you also need to carry it with you when you ride or it does you no good.
For advanced safety and maximum competition results, any biker needs to have a complete cycling equipment, starting from great shoes with carbon soles to the cap and the glasses that protect him or her from too intense sun light. Some more peculiar items of cycling equipment include special frames and even saddle adjustments these technical components are also the most expensive ones you can get given the fact that they actually ensure a change in bike design and structure. The latest frame models have sloping designs and they can be found at more accessible prices on the Internet where suppliers face a tougher competition.
Shock absorbers are the elements of cycling equipment that can be added on the frames of mountain bikes to reduce the impact on rough terrain. They come in a variety of models including front or full suspension types, and the most advanced are highly sophisticated so as to be used for a wide range of riding purposes. Manufacturers have come up with plenty of protection items for mountain biking, and these elements of cycling equipment vary from simple knee and elbow pads to plates used for arms and the back. An even more popular protection item here is the face helmet that resembles those used in motocross yet it is much lighter and better ventilated as well.
The existence of a rich offer of saddles on the market enables any biker to improve the riding conditions by the use of an advanced item of cycling equipment. Those people who ride the bike for shorter distances usually prefer cushioned saddles that are a lot larger than those used for professional performances. For the latter cases, saddles become the parts of the cycling equipment that need to enable an ample leg movement. This very kind of narrow seat is preferred by race cyclists who usually bend over and distribute their weight more evenly between the saddle and the handlebars.
There are some very common components of the cycling equipment that are often regarded as optional accessories meant for utility bicycles. For instance, commuters who go to work by bike can definitely benefit from the use of chain-guards that prevent clothes staining because of the oil on the chin. Moreover, special baskets mounted at the front of the bike and rear racks as well could prove very useful when carrying goods. And last but not least, though not included in the conventional cycling equipment, a rear-mounted child seat is commonly encountered, just like additional saddles to transport children.
Bikers know how difficult it is to keep the most exposed body parts warm while riding hands and feet are the first to need protection during cold weather and Nike cycling apparel items could be the right choice for you. Winter cycling gloves are an essential for true winter riding.
Nike thermal gloves could make a great choice to help protect your hands from the cold bite yet, when choosing a model, it is good to take into consideration the warmth of your hands first and foremost. A biker with very warm hands is exposed to overheating and sweating, therefore, only choose a Nike cycling gloves model if you think it suits your physical structure. Look at different weight gloves based on your body and your needs.
For people with a more cold-sensitive type of skin, fleece gloves can be a good option. The models also have a reflective pattern that makes them visible at night in case you have to ride after dark. Glove liners could also be used in order to achieve the same level of warmth and protection as you enjoy on the other body parts such as torso, arms and legs. A good point with these cycling items is that they are very often multi-functional, meaning that you’ll be able to use the same gloves on other conditions than when riding.
It’s a combination of warmth and wind protection. Selecting the right glove for you may take some time. Evaluate where you will be riding and the type of weather you will be in. How long will you be out on the road? This can affect the right winter cycling glove selection as well. It seems simple at first and then, once you get into the details it becomes a bit more complicated. But, if you are like me, you don’t want to be cold or risk a cold related injury, so make purchasing good gear for your winter cycling season.
Continental 0100344 SuperSport Plus 700 X 23 Urban Tire is built for mean street. A classic is back – but better than ever. The SuperSport pedigree is long standing in the Continental line-up as a model delivering long mileage and amazing puncture resistance. Borrowing a proven tread pattern from the venerable Grand Prix, the SuperSport Plus now features our Plus Breaker belt guaranteed to provide superior puncture protection. Robust, extra-thick casing rubber provides excellent sidewall durability, while added material in the tread strip defines tread life like no other Conti. Messengers, hardcore commuters and Fixie riders – your tire has arrived. Specs: Weight – 355 grams; Recommended PSI – 110; Maximum PSI – 120; PU – 10.
A week on the road….
It was a week of driving… some weeks are like that.
I drove up to Albany — theoretically a 2 1/2 hour drive each way. Of course, it was longer. It’s always longer than you think it will be.
Well, my first trip up to Albany was solo — to pick up a friend. I spent the three hour ride listening to a training program on funnel building. Always generates new ideas, thoughts, improvements in what I am doing and how I am doing it. There are times when you have to re-energize and listening to podcasts, training etc. can be a great way to do it.
The ride home was filled with catching up and story telling.
On the return trip, we got stuck in two traffic jams. One for over two hours. Not moving at all and watching ambulances, fire trucks etc go by…. helicopters fly in… people walking the highway trying to see what was happening etc. No one got angry, although we were all hot and some of us needed a bathroom, I just hoped that everyone involved in the accident ahead had survived. It sure didn’t look like it from the response. And when we finally drove past it, it didn’t look like it either. BUT, according to a local news article, everyone did survive. We were grateful to be safe sitting on the road and not involved.
We ended up meeting not in Albany but in Saugerties and they had painted sailboats all through town! Really cute town and fun painted boats.
There were so many and actually, I thought I took more pictures, but this was it.
I loved that everyone in the traffic jam was patient and concerned. That we didn’t see frustrated angry lot of people. Everyone just went with the flow…. (metaphor here, I think;)
We explored new roads and took out time even though we were on the road WAY too long! I love new roads, new adventures. Possible new routes for our upcoming bike trip.
And then there was the conversations. Always interesting and thoughtful.
Bikes are out on the road again! Its spring and the roads are beautiful. Cyclists have pumped up their tires and dusted off their helmets and taken to the roads. For drivers it means more to watch out for on the roads.
The reality is that both drivers and cyclists have an important part to play in keeping each other safe! As a driver and a cyclist I see challenges and responsibilities on both sides!
We ride as a family, with kids on the back of our tandems. We have had great experiences with our kids, touring. We ride defensively, always looking at what other vehicles are doing and trying to anticipate what they might do to keep us safe. We use hand signals, talk to each other and try to be predictable. We all wear helmets because head injuries happen to adults just like kids.
As a cyclist I believe in riding predictably, communicating my intentions as clearly as possible. I ride inside the white line whenever possible! But on the narrow country roads of New Jersey, it is not always possible. Not all roads here have shoulders that can accommodate a bike. It means that cars have to pass with caution. As a driver, it’s important to wait for the right time to pass a cyclist. Wait until you have a clear view of oncoming traffic and give the cyclist room. Legally in many states cyclists can ride two abreast, but when there is traffic on back country roads it puts the car in danger and the cyclist when riders refuse to move to single file. I know that I have been frustrated with side by side riders on curvy back country roads. I get frustrated that other cyclists ride stupidly and end up putting us all in danger.
Cyclists need to be clear what they are doing using hand signals and riding predictably.
At the same time, I have been out riding and as I approached a street I have had drivers look at me and then cut me off. Bikes follow the same rules of the road that cars do and that means that cars have to yield the right of way to a bike just as they would a car. Cars making left turns do not typically cut oncoming traffic off. This remains true if the oncoming traffic is a bike.
I know as both a driver and a cyclist I want to be safe. I want my children safe in either situation. I also know that the lifelong impact of hitting a cyclist will be devastating.
After cycling across the country from Maine to Oregon, I got home and was driving on the highway. I became frustrated when I got stuck behind a truck doing 50 instead of 65. In my frustration, I remembered that I had just spent 90 days traveling an average of 15 miles per hour, and that there really wasn’t any where I had to be quickly. That lesson stays with me. It is more important to arrive safely than to rush and not arrive!
Are you looking for a way to lose weight and get in shape? Consider riding your bike. Bicycling is a great way to raise the heart rate and see the world from another level.
Whether you choose an actual bicycle or a stationary one, cycling works the entire body. And, best of all, cycling is fun. You can do it any time of the day all year round. You’ll change your clothing for comfort but bicycles are durable and can withstand being out in both cold and hot weather.
Lets get down to the nitty-gritty. When you choose an exercise to perform, you want to know if it will actually help you. There’s nothing worse than spending your time and sweat with zero results.
1. Riding a bicycle is easy to stick with. When it comes to regular exercise, you want an activity that you can get behind for the long haul. Cycling does that. You can ride your bike around the neighborhood with family or in the park alone. If you work close to where you live, ride your bike to work in good weather. Because bike riding is versatile, riding one increases the amount of exercise you do on a daily or weekly basis.
2. Cycling builds leg muscle. We all have been told that muscle burns more calories than fat. Biking up a hill or choosing a harder gear on flat ground puts most of the work of moving the bike on your quadriceps and hamstring muscles. You will also feel a burn in the calf (gastrocnemius) muscles. That burning will be hard to handle at first but as you get into cycling, your muscles will adjust.
3. Cycling works the abdominal muscles. For exercise, any piece of equipment that has the potential to lead to a flat tummy is a jewel. Riding a bike is about balance. You realized that the first time you hopped on one. Maintaining your balance requires you to hold your stomach muscles tight. Also, bikes are designed with posture and alignment in mind. The longer you ride the stronger you will get.
4. It is a family activity. Obesity has become an epidemic in youth. Kids are notorious for starting and stopping something when they get bored. Bike riding can even stop their boredom. Take a ride after dinner or on the weekends. You can bike and talk at the same time to have a lively conversation while you burn calories.
Like walking, bike riding is another exercise that can be done alone or with a group. It is easy to begin and fun to stick with.