Cycling for hours in a group of like-minded people is an amazing experience that’s hard to compare to anything else. Enjoying the beautiful sceneries around you and all thanks to the power of your own body is truly rewarding. However, long distance cycling is no easy feat. No matter how much you’ve been working out at the gym, if you just mount a bicycle and expect to be able to ride for continuous hours you will be sorely disappointed.
What is the exact definition of long distance cycling? Well, there isn’t one because distance length is relative to each cyclist. For a professional Tour de France participant, a distance of around 20 miles is nothing but it will feel completely different for an amateur cyclist. For most people who cycle as a hobby, a trip of around 4-5 hours of continuous cycling is considered a long distance.
Long term cycling should only be done by cyclists who already cycle short distances regularly. Even if you have the stamina needed for the trip, not being used to the bicycle seat and to using that much leg power will surely not allow you to reach your goal. And that can make you discouraged from further attempts which would be a shame. But with enough preparations, anyone can challenge the long distance with success.
Preparing for a long distance trip includes purchasing the necessary equipment.
Your best bet is to wear comfortable cycling clothes, preferably ones that you have worn before and know that they don’t cause any chafing. Also, get a pair of sunglasses to keep your visibility good even if the sun is right in front of you. Be prepared for windy conditions, especially if you are planning to drive in flat and open spaces, and get a windproof jacket and a neckwarmer to cover yourself with.
It goes without saying but you should always have your phone with you whenever you are cycling, long distance or not, so that you can call for help should anything happen. If you are going on a trip with a group, consider purchasing a walkie talkie for everyone so that you can communicate even if there is no signal and some people want to stray from the main path. The best two way radio on the market can realistically keep you all connected when you stay in around 20 miles of one another. You should also have some kind of navigation aid with you. You could use your smartphone but that would quickly drain its battery and as we said, you won’t always have a signal. check the best handheld gps here.
You never know what can go wrong with your bicycle and it is better to be prepared rather than having to spend time searching for the nearest bicycle repair shop. Make sure that at least one of you carries such tools as tire levers, pumps, and spare chains. Also, get some spare inner tubes and patches.