“Sometimes if you stop in life, you can go further. Long days can leave you prone to errors.” Sounds like an inspirational quote from Confucious, but it’s not.
The simple travel tips collected by round the world rider Julia Sanders could make the difference between finishing a trip safely or looking back on what should have been a dream trip with dread.
Julia, one half of the GlobeBusters team, said: “Being bike fit is about more than physical fitness. It’s about getting accustomed to long days in the saddle. Having said that, the fitter you are, the better.”
1. Stay fit If you do, it will help with endurance and recovery time after tough days. In a nutshell, fitness reduces fatigue.
2. Stretch yourself When you’re riding any kind of distance, you’re using different muscles from ‘normal’ life. Learn some stretching exercises, especially for the neck, knees and legs.
3. Mental fitness. This is crucial. You need to concentrate harder in unfamiliar conditions which is tiring and stressful. Getting used to long days of riding helps you relax and use less mental energy. If you’re in a ‘state of alert’ you expend a lot of mental energy and can become exhausted fast.
4. Heed the warnings If you’re riding off-road on dirt or gravel you’ll tire quickly and your arms will ache from hanging on to the bars.
5. Experience riding in the rain. If you don’t you’ll tense up and use lots of energy.
6. Stop to go further. Give yourself a break, to recover. Definitely don’t try to ride through a difficult patch to get it over with as quickly as possible. If you do, you’ll make a mistake that could be costly.
7. Plan your day. Allow extra time for unforeseen delays and plan for breaks too. That way you won’t feel under pressure.
8. Prepare your kit properly and choose gear that will prevent you getting hot, cold or wet. Riding regularly in the run-up to a trip will help you assess riding kit.
9. Self-assess Are you tired after a big night? Are the conditions going to be tough because of flooding, snow, ice or sand? Are you stressed because you can’t find your phone? If yes, take a step back and don’t set off when you’re feeling ready for the challenge that lies ahead.