Travel Tips from Tweed Bike Boxes
We are lucky to live in the cycling haven that is the Scottish Borders. The Tweed Valley is world renowned for it's mountain biking, and road cycling is well served with many excellent routes and popular events. Increasing investment in cycle paths and infrastructure is seeing more and more people taking to life on two wheels and enjoying the wonderful scenery we have on our doorstep. Many people are also choosing to broaden their cycling horizons by taking cycling holidays and taking part in events abroad where you can also take advantage of the warm weather and brilliant, smooth roads. So if the Tour de France has inspired you check out our top tips!!
· Do some training. If you're training for an event you will know this already, but if you're planning a holiday some specific training is a good idea to prepare yourself physically, allowing you to enjoy your trip more. It is a holiday after all – no one wants to be exhausted and in pain for days! Consider the type of riding you'll be doing and try where possible to replicate this in your normal routes. The Borders has every type of terrain, so you should be able to replicate at least some of the routes you will be riding on holiday.
· Check your bike and practice common maintenance tasks. An absolute essential. Make sure you book your bike in for a service with a good local bike shop before travelling. Parts may be more difficult or expensive to get abroad and you don't want to have your enjoyment curtailed by a broken bike. You should also practice common maintenance tasks such as repairing a puncture or changing an inner tube. Even a little knowledge can save much frustration!
· Plan your routes. Before you leave, research good routes that suit your experience. There are many excellent resources on the internet – particularly platforms like Strava or Trailforks where you can see routes and avoid the 'where shall we go today' scenario. Make sure you plan a selection of easy days and hard days and consider taking it slowly to start with, especially if you are at altitude or in hot temperatures.
· Nutrition is important. As you will likely be doing a lot more exercise than usual, proper nutrition to prepare and recover is essential. Make sure you eat well on the bike – drinking and eating frequently along the way makes sure you keep the energy reserves topped up. If you use specially formulated bars and gels then make sure you practice using them in advance to make sure they agree with you, and take a supply with you as they may not be available at your destination.
· Pack appropriately. While you will be hoping for good weather, that may not always be the case so make sure you have clothing to cover all conditions. As a guide, for a week's cycling consider taking the following items. If you are taking your bike with you, you should be able to pack a lot of the extra gear with your bike and save space and weight in the case.
1. Two pairs of padded cycling shorts
2. One long-sleeved and one short-sleeved cycling jersey
4. Bike shoes
5. Cycling gloves
6. Windproof gilet and a lightweight windproof and waterproof jacket
7. Several pairs of socks
9. Water bottles
10. Puncture repair kit, spare inner tubes and bike pump and multi-tool
11. High-factor sun cream
12. Chamois cream
Above all, enjoy it. Cycling abroad is an amazing experience and makes for a great holiday. Follow the above tips and it will be sure to go smoothly and maximise your enjoyment.