Prepare for the most memorable journey of your life
Riding a bike across the country is something so many of us dream about. Yet, very few of us actually go ahead and do it. Whether you love riding, travelling, or just want to give it a shot for the experience of it, this is an epic journey which will leave with memories to treasure for the rest of your life. You get to see new places, new people, new sights, new sounds, new flavours, and endless new and fascinating experiences. And it becomes even more special and more fun if you have good friends accompanying you. If this is one of the things you really want to do in your life, you will need to prepare well for it, so as to make one of the best and most memorable journeys ever. A little bit of effort can go a long way into making your dream and your journey a lot more exciting and rewarding.
- Buy a bike of good quality, sturdy and resilient. Borrowing or renting one comes with risks of sudden breakdown, and you might end up spending unnecessarily on repairs. If you have an old one, be prepare to buy one along the way if it breaks down.
- Prepare yourself mentally for hardships on the way – bad weather, dirty clothes, accidents, exhaustion, challenging accommodation, bad food, dwindling cash and so on. Also train yourself physically – ride regularly, run to get fit, and climb hills for a start.
- Plan your ride properly in advance. Map your route along with detours for safety sake and to avoid traffic. Pack enough food, water and emergency medical supplies, as well as distress signals. Get someone to accompany you if possible, to motivate you, share all the ups and downs of the journey, and keep you in good spirits. Check for sleeping options along the way – friends, campgrounds, motels etc. Plan your riding hours and stick to riding in the daylight to be safe. Also, choose a good season to ride, and don’t try braving excessive heat or snow. Also, don’t forget about elevation – steep slopes will drain you more.
- Make sure your bike is legal i.e. safe. Tyres should be pumped, handlebars tightened, lights and reflectors cleaned and packed with new batteries. Don’t forget your helmet.
- Distribute what you’re carrying amongst your backpack and side bags for easier carrying. Pack lots of tinned food, energy bars, fruits, nuts and seeds since you will need a lot of energy. Also carry loads of water. It is always better to have extra food and water, never underestimate how much you might need. Steer clear of fizzy drinks, alcohol and energy drinks. Carry spare lights, reflectors, batteries, cable lock, camping gear and a first aid kit.
- Jeans and tees won’t take you far. Wear padded shorts to protect yourself from injury, and a reflective jacket so cars can see you. Carry good rain gear, like a reflective cycling raincoat. Sweat proof clothes, soft shell jackets, riding gloves and sunglasses are a must.
- Safety is very important. Check-in with friends or family regularly, wear proper clothes, keep emergency contacts on your phone, get enough food and water, and take frequent breaks and get adequate sleep.