1.) First of all, you have to know your limits. If you love cycling but don’t do it regularly, you might consider choosing a destination which is great for bikers but is also appropriate for beginners.
- If this is your first time adding a bike into travelling equation, renting a bike at your final destination might just be the thing you fancy. In Europe, there are a lot of superb bike trails, that you can explore every or every other day, but in the evening you can still head back and lounge at your hotel you have rented for a week or two.
- If you consider your bike a soul mate that brings you happiness and can’t imagine a sunny day without it, you’re definitely ready for classic bike travelling – with long hours on the road, with ascetically light travel bags and every night approaching new horizon.
2.) Be prepared. No matter if you are going to stay at a hotel and explore the area on two wheels or you’re going to ride the whole bike tour, you have to be prepared. Explore your options before the trip. Think, how much junk do you need, decide between saddle bags and trailers that allows you to pack the tent, sleeping bags, and camp cooking equipment.
3.) Be realistic. How is your cycling endurance? How good are you climbing hills? Take your capabilities into the account, since there won’t be a way out anymore when there’s going to be only you and the road. Make your itinerary, don’t stretch yourself with too long trails, check the road conditions, book hotels and mark all the potential stops – gas pumps, diners, B&Bs, camps, bike hotels, hospitals, pharmacies, tourist info offices, bars and so on.
4.) Find your ideal stretching patterns. With long hours of cycling every day eventually your muscles are going to get hard and tough, some pain in groin and lower back are going to appear, cramps in legs are a possibility. But a lot of this can go away if you do some stretching in the morning and yoga in the evening. If you travel with a bike trailer or you are traveling by car and just adding some recreational cycling into the mix, pack your foam roller, since it can save you a lot of pain.
5.) Travel light but not too light. Sure, every additional kilogram becomes additional effort when you start pedaling, but you don’t want to hop on your saddle unprepared. Gloves, helmet, glasses and extra shorts, light jacket and appropriate underwear and shirts, which you can wash and dry in the same day, bike tools if something goes wrong, maps and geo navigation so you won't get lost, money and personal documents so you can be prepared, and moist tissues and essential cosmetics (airplane size), so you can take care of your self. These things are a must. Don’t let us start on appropriate storage, camp stuff and luxuries like books and your favourite energy bars ...
6.) Allow yourself some rest. There is no point in overriding yourself. If this is your first time cycling through vacation, plan yourself a free-ride day or two – every three days for example. You can book a hotel and a car and enjoy a day of rest, but still explore your surroundings and enjoy the ride.
Top Europe destinations for bicyclist
Cycle across Italy:
- Fano, Italy –Porto Santo Stefano, Italy
- Kranjska Gora, Slovenia – Udine, Italy – Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
- Tolmin, Slovenia – Udine, Italy – Conegliano, Italy – Treviso, Italy – Lignano Sabbiadorro – Monfalcone – Gorica, Slovenia – Tolmin, Slovenia
Provence bike trails:
- Cycling Tour of Mont Ventoux (advanced)Starting & final point: Villes-sur-Auzon, France
- Nice, France – Avignon, France – Nice, France
A great agency for self guided bike travel is Provence Cycling Holidays. Read more about it here »
- Andalucía trailMalaga, Spain – Seville, Spain
- Cordoba, Spain – Seville, Spain – Beja, Portugal – Badajoz, Spain – Cordoba, Spain
Croatia on a saddle:
- Island hopping trailSplit, Croatia – Hvar, Croatia – Korčula, Croatia – Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Zadar, Croatia – Šibenik, Croatia – Murter,Croatia – Zadar, Croatia