Planning a bike tour has become one of my favorite hobbies as a result of research and planning my first tour. some things that i've learned from planning a bike tour is that it takes time, research, investment, and careful planning. i was under the impression that i was going to have more time on this trip but obligations have demanded that i cut my time, so this first trip out will only be a 24 hr overnight trip, yet, i started planning another trip in April because honestly... planning a bike tour is easy and fun! at first i was intimidated doing all the research and planning alone but thanks to so many of you who have shared your experiences and knowledge with me, you have been my guides to making this a success! in return i'm doing the same for many of you out there who have bike touring fever, everyone has it now that spring is here! here is a small guide that will help and inspire you to plan your next d.i.y. bike tour.
Preparations and Planning
For a d.i.y. bike tour, plan your trip to a local state park that offers services to bicycle campers. check out their websites and find if they have camp grounds for cyclists, showers, and bike routes to explore. also, get your bike tuned up to ensure that you'll have less mechanical failures.
Gather information from maps, local bike shops, state parks, bus routes, train routes, or other online services that can help you plan your trip. a great web resource to check out is Adventure Cycling Association. you can also use google maps to plan out your routes as well.
When touring, plan your trip during peak times with warm weather conditions between 60-80 degrees. usually spring and summer are ideal for touring. this allows you to pack less clothing to not have to combat cold weather conditions along with having to carry less water to beat the heat. with daylight savings, you have more light to guide your path.
A set of riding clothes are sufficient for riding under different weather conditions. the key to this is layering a la merino wool that keeps your body temperature regulated, stinky free, and dry. pack a lightweight rain jacket just in case, along with comfortable riding shoes.
Packing and Essentials
Touring panniers are key to caring your cargo, you can find reasonable priced panniers on ebay. when packing, think light! panniers can carry the essentials like a few clothing items, a bowl, insulated mug, fork, spoon, personal care items, travel towel, food (particularly raw dry items), travel stove, and cooking pot if you plan on cooking. on your rack you can load up a sleeping bag, tent, and small traveling pillow held down with bungee cords. bring extra tubes, a small pump, tools, a flashlight, bicycle lights, riding gloves, a camera, phone, guidebook or maps with local bike shops, hotels, bars, or cafe's that can be stored in small handle bar or carry bag. also, a water bottle can be carried on bike too (be sure to refill often). remember, the lighter the better!
Time Is Everything
If your tour is 24hrs or a week long, give your mileage and explorations some buffer time in your schedule, you might want to wander, meet people, fix your bike, or hide out from the rain for a few hours. extra time is always handy under any circumstance.
In planning your route, be sure to end the tour home. this motivates and excites you to finish your goal while eliminating all the other routes by bus or train. you never know, you might be able to discover some neighborhood lucky finds.
Happy bike touring!