How to go on a bike trip: The very short version

Get a bike. Ride it around the block. If anything hurts, take it to a local bike nerd and ask them to make it stop hurting.

Ride a mile away, then a mile back. If anything hurts, repeat the above step. Keep repeating it until nothing hurts. (Sore is okay. Hurts is bad.)

Go to the bike touring section of Wikiloc and pick a route that’s close to your home. There’s a smartphone app you can use to follow the route, and if you’ve got a GPS, you can load the route onto it.

Don’t let your physical shape hold you back. You will get in shape as you go! Stay within these guidelines when you’re starting out, and you’ll be fine:

  • An elevation change of 1000 feet in less than three miles is the border between ridable and not ridable.
  • Budget for about 30 miles a day. So, if you end up riding 45 miles for two days, your budget will let you hang around town and be a tourist on the third day. (Ignore all those people who talk about 50, 70, 100 mile days. The key word here is “budget”!)
  • On flat ground, count on about nine miles per hour. (This factors in all kinds of possible degradations – wind, potholes, rest breaks, photo stops.)
  • If you’re riding “fully loaded”, i.e. with camping supplies, and there’s two of you, budget for about 50 bucks a day per person. (That figure is for journeys in the western states of the US though, and will be different elsewhere.) With that budget you can afford to feed yourselves well, stay in the occasional hotel, and indulge in some touristy things, like museum tours and ferry rides.

Take a picture of something along the way, and post it online, with the comment, “SAW THIS ON MY BIKE RIDE!” That will get the conversation going.


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