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.
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&B’s, 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 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 pedalling, 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 wont 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 thru 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.
A great agency for self guided bike travel is Provence Cycling Holidays. Read more about it here »