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Traveling abroad with your Bicycle

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Considering your accommodation is vital when booking a cycling trip. When travelling with a bike it pays to be well prepared in all areas: including having a firm idea in advance of where to stay.

Accommodation Considerations for Cycling Trips
Why? For starters, cycle trips offer less flexibility in terms of accommodation, as it can be difficult to find places on the spur of the moment. Knowing you are booked in a particular place can also work as an incentive to ride those last few miles!

When deciding on the perfect spot, there’s more to consider than the nearest bed. Think about what you want to get out of your trip, and what you need. Some riders may want a place of tranquillity, somewhere with cycle-specific facilities, or a place to meet fellow cyclists.

Whatever your individual preferences, considering the below should help you map your perfect on-the-road pit stops.

Access
You don’t want to book your hotel then find it’s in the centre of a busy roundabout! Cycling rest stops should be easily accessible by bike, and should not add any issues to the start or end of a long day of cycling.

Choosing somewhere that caters to cyclists specifically should ensure that two-wheeled access is no problem. It also means there will be better facilities; such as areas to lock up and maintain your bike.

Security
Security is a major consideration for any holiday accommodation, and should be no different for cycling holidays.

Regardless of accommodation, there are some basic ways to ensure possessions are protected during cycling holidays. It is wise to follow them as problems can occur, even in cycle friendly accommodation.

Key security measures include using a quality lock when leaving your bike unattended, and using detachable panniers. Locks mean your bike can’t be stolen, and panniers allow you to carry your possessions when you are away from the saddle.

Thinking about these things in advance means you can concentrate on having fun when away.

Bring Your Own
Why not bring your own accommodation with you?
Be it a tent, a camper or a caravan, attaching a bike to your vehicle and hitting the open road is worth consideration. Campsites are commonly found and can add a level of freedom not normally experienced in a tour set up.

This is a great option for those who wanted a relaxed cycling holiday. You can decide where to go and how long to spend in each destination as you go. Hotel unpacking is not an issue, and you can truly take things at your own pace.
What’s more, staying on a campsite means you may enjoy other onsite facilities; particularly handy if children come along for the ride.

Bike and a Boat
For a cycling holiday with a difference, why not try a bike and a boat?
Typically this involves staying on board a boat at night, and cycling in the local area by day. This quirky option allows cyclists to explore a new place in a new way, and unwind by a tranquil waterside.

There are plenty of options for this type of trip. Popular European routes for example include Amsterdam to Brussels, or for those who enjoy spectacular coastal scenery Croatia’s stunning Adriatic coast may appeal.

Tour Operators
If you don’t want to plan stops yourself, try a tour operator. If you book with a tour operator all of your accommodation needs will normally be taken care of.

Providers will be expecting groups of tired cyclists looking for somewhere to stay. This means you’ll have somewhere secure to lock up in the evenings, and won’t have to worry about your bike going missing! Tour groups with similar interests should also have more information about cycling in the area, such as routes or repair facilities. Well-regarded companies such as Backroads are a great place to start your research, particularly if Europe is your likely destination.

 

For many, adverse weather conditions can be enough to put off even the most hardened of cyclists.

Cycling in adverse weather conditions
However, sometimes the unpredictability of the weather can mean you don’t have much choice. Tough riding conditions may be non-negotiable, particularly if you are on a particular schedule or time frame. To help you out in less than perfect conditions, here are some essential safety tips for cycling in bad weather.

Ice
Frost or black ice can catch cyclists unawares, particularly on crisp winter days after clear nights. As many cyclists enjoy early rides this also means there is an increased risk of hitting an icy patch, hidden by the early morning shadows on the road that may cause wheels to lose their grip.

If you are riding in these conditions then pick the roads you use carefully: try to keep on roads that have been treated with grit or salt, and that you know will have been travelled by other road users.

If you do realise you are about to hit an icy patch on the road then the best advice is not to try and turn the bike suddenly or brake hard.

Rain
Whilst lots of people find riding in the rain great fun you need to make sure you are aware of the changes the wet weather can have on your bike.

Like driving, it will take you longer to stop when you break on wet roads due to the build-up of water between the break blocks and braking surface. Road markings, drain and manhole covers can also become much more slippery when wet so avoid these if possible and anticipate your turns to make sure you don’t slip.

Wind
A strong wind can turn a flat road into a relentless climb for the unsuspecting cyclist. The increased wind resistance makes it harder to pedal but can also be good for developing your resistance in tough conditions, particularly if you are in an area with few hills.

The best way to beat the wind though is to ride in a group. Riding one behind each other will mean you use much less energy fighting against the wind. If you’re cycling alone then try to avoid the wind by using hedged lanes. If you are unable to avoid the wind then try to reduce your body’s surface area by rounding your shoulders and bending close to the bar, reducing your wind resistance.

Auther
Andy Cresco

Andy Cresco

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