Traveling on the saddle of your bike is one of the best and most realistic ways to experience the world. You have nothing but the clothes on your back, your meager pack, and your two wheels to shelter you against the elements. You also have nothing much to distract you from truly witnessing the wonders of the earth and trying things you’ve never done before.
Of course, just because you want to go on a bike doesn’t mean you should hop on your bike immediately and leave everything behind. Plan and prepare first before embarking on your grand adventure, and keep these tips in mind.
Start Saving Now
You need money to travel, even on your bike. The money you bring won’t be for fancy hotels or transportation (although you’ll need money for tickets if you’re traveling abroad). It’s for your basic necessities, like food, water, and shelter (when it’s not possible to camp outside). Some destinations, especially popular tourist spots, may also require travelers to pay a fee.
Money can also help you in times of emergency. If you get injured, you may have to visit a clinic or hospital that doesn’t use insurance. Paying cash upfront will help you get treated much faster. That said, start saving your bucks now, and make sure you have enough of it to fund the tour you planned, no matter how long it may be.
Here’s a great guide to give you an idea of how to plan financially for your bike tour.
Plan Your Route and Destinations
It may be more fun and exciting to be spontaneous, but you should avoid being too spontaneous. Since it’s your first time going on a bike tour, it’s best to plan your destination and routes you will take. You must know where you can stop to replenish your essentials and seek shelter and help when you need them.
Too many people have made the mistake of diving right into a tour without proper preparation. Plenty of them have survived with scars and tales to tell (some funny, some not so much), and all of them will probably not want a repeat of that. Others are not as lucky.
Get the Right Gear
Your gear will be your first defense against the wrath of Mother Nature, and your tools and equipment will save you from trouble. That is why you should have high-quality gear that will withstand all the use and abuse it’s going to go through.
Going on a bike is also a perfect opportunity to train your skills and improve your riding. You may want to bring your training gadgets, like your power meter, heart-rate monitor, and bike computer, to keep track of your stats throughout your journey.
Pack Wisely and Lightly
There’s no room for a massive suitcase when you’re traveling on two wheels, so you need to pack wisely and lightly. Take only the things you will need for travel, and leave anything that will weigh you down but won’t have much use.
Your pack should include the basics, like food, water, a GPS navigator, a good old compass, a first aid kit, and elastic tape for muscle injuries, among other things.
For a complete list of bike tour essentials, check out this helpful guide.
Brush Up on Your Survival Skills
Much of your journey will be spent outdoors. There won’t be hotels with room service or most of the convenience of traveling the traditional way, so you need to learn all the essential skills for surviving outdoors. Setting up camp, building a fire, identifying edible wild plants, and cooking are all skills you need to master before leaving on a bike tour.
Knowing how to navigate with a compass and treating injuries may also come in handy in emergency situations. In the great outdoors on your bike, you can rely on only yourself for survival. It’s one the scariest and greatest things about traveling this way.