An Adventure Vacation: Fun, Safe Ways to Add Biking to Your Next Trip

If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, you might be feeling the urge to get mobile on your next vacation or camping excursion. Many people love to take their bikes with them, but few know how to prepare to add biking to their trip. From multi-day biking tours to afternoons on the trails, biking is a fantastic way to explore new lands and see new sights.

Making sure you have the right gear and a good plan is crucial to having a great experience. Here’s how to bring it all together.

Used or New: Where to find your new bike

If you need new bikes for your family’s domestic getaway, don’t head to the nearest retailer and drop a stack of cash for something shiny and brand new. Instead, consider looking at second-hand stores or bike shops in your area that may have high-quality used bikes at a fraction of the price. Believe it or not, the second-hand economy has exploded in recent years as more and more people discover the joys — both emotional and financial — of selling their old, unwanted items. Buying used saves you money and allows you to explore a given model or class of bicycles to make sure it is a good fit for your needs.

Bike Touring: Your vacation on wheels

Maybe you’re itching to see the French countryside up close and personal, or take in Rio on two wheels. You may think that two wheels, a good friend, and the open countryside is all you need, but bike touring requires packing and planning and a certain amount of training. You’ll want to have six to eight months of cardio cycling experience under your pedals before you head out, and a good chunk of that time needs to be spent carrying your pack. Since you’ll be on your bike for multiple days, you’ll need to haul food, water, clothes for your hotels, or camping gear for the road with you. A checklist of things you need is a great way to make sure nothing essential is left behind.

FIME_Biking_Trails
Source: Pexels

Mountain Biking: Hitting the trails

Camping in and of itself is an adventure, but adding mountain biking to the list can take the fun to another level. Before you go, have a plan in place. Not all trails allow mountain biking, so double-check that the ones you want to hit up are bike-friendly. Think of your campsite as a mountain biking base. You sleep, you eat, you relax, and then you go. Pick a campground that has mountain biking trails within the vicinity. If the campsites are primitive, which means they lack electricity, flushable toilets, and other modern conveniences, you need to prepare your toiletries and personal items accordingly. You’ll want to set up camp so you have all your creature comforts after a long, hard day on the trail.

Speaking of trails, you’ll likely want to plan your days by distance and altitude. And think ahead — if you’re biking four days straight, can you do 10-20 miles each day, or should you add in a few short treks with some other awesome outdoors fun like hiking or fishing? Will you be climbing in elevation or should you throw in a few flat trails for good measure? You’ll need to answer these questions before you go, and the best way to do that is to research and plan.

Bike Vacations: Safety first and foremost

It’s important not to assume that since you started from a trail you can get back by memory. Take a map with you and a GPS device. That’s the first in a long list of safety considerations you need to take with you as you pedal off into a new adventure.

Know where you’re going before you go; don’t play it too casually. Your worst mistake is underestimating the great outdoors.

Take a first aid kit, snacks and a reusable water bottle.

It’s equally important to know how to dress. When you start out in the crisp morning air, you’ll likely wind up taking a break in the afternoon sun. Make sure you’re prepared for Mother Nature’s weather curve balls.

FIME_Biking_First_Aid_Kit
Source: Pexels

Bring a patch kit and a bike repair kit, especially for those thin road bike tires. Unless you’ve been on this trail or road recently, you won’t know the conditions until you’re there.

Have an emergency plan in case you lose your wallet or passport. Make copies of your passport, and have an idea of how friends or family can send you cash in a pinch. If you’re traveling abroad, say in China, you can easily access funds if your family sends money via a transfer service like Remitly. Fees are relatively low, and they can send cash within minutes.

Remember, you’re not the only one out there. Remember to warn other bikers and walkers that you are passing them by announcing “on your left” (early enough to compensate for people who don’t know their left from their right!). Be aware of your speed so you don’t overrun others on the trail or get run over by someone else. On trails, be sure you know how to handle wildlife encounters. While on the road, make sure you practice safety at all times, and understand the laws where you are.

Home Prep

Being safe on your bike is very important, but so is making sure your home and belongings are safe while you’re gone. Let a neighbor know you’ll be away and what you’ll be doing. This is an adventure vacation, so if something goes wrong and your return trip is delayed, you’ll need a neighbor or friend keeping an eye on things. There are also a few easy techniques you can use to protect your home. For example, a light switch timer like the Honeywell or Leviton can give the illusion that someone is home at night. Stop your mail and remove your hideaway key.

Remember: a fun vacation begins the moment you leave and lasts until the minute you come home, so be sure you are safe at home and on the bike trail.

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Joyce Wilson

Author's Corner

Joyce Wilson is a retired teacher and enjoys sharing lesson plans, resources, and teaching tips on Teacher Spark. Her website is a compilation of practical resources that will inspire student engagement and instill a love for learning. By tapping into a student’s natural creativity and curiosity, Joyce believes that they can take their education to a new level.

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