Equipment and Elevation

Equipment

Just about every type of bicycle has been used on our tours. We’ve seen touring bikes, racing bikes, recumbents, mountain bikes, tandems, trikes, and even triples! For safety and comfort, we strongly recommend higher volume tires for paved-road trips — at least 700c x 28mm if you can fit them. We encourage you to ride the bike you’re comfortable with and to come prepared with the extra tubes and the tools you’ll need to repair a flat tire on your bike. For our dirt-road trips, and trips including a mix of dirt and paved roads, we strongly suggest riding a mountain, hybrid, or cyclocross bike with durable wheels and tires with a wider, more aggressive tread. On dirt trips that include technical terrain, a mountain bike equipped to handle rough ground is necessary. If you have questions about the suitability of your bike for a specific trip, please call us at 1.800.755.2453 x3 or email us at tours@adventurecycling.org.

Trip Elevation

Some of our rides take place at high elevations and others have significant cumulative elevation gains. If you are planning a cycling trip at higher elevations (most people can go to 7,000 feet with little or no negative effect), the best way to prepare is to arrive at the starting point a few days early to acclimatize. The effects of high altitude cannot be predicted by factors such as age or physical condition. However, some key considerations include:

Less Oxygen

At high elevations, it can feel like you are trying to breathe through a straw, speeding up your breathing. The easiest place to breathe is at sea level, which has the most oxygen. Oxygen decreases 3–4% for every 1,000 feet above sea level.

Less Humidity

In addition to a decrease in oxygen, humidity decreases as elevation increases. This has the effect of drawing moisture from your body and, combined with faster breathing due to less oxygen, causes your body to lose moisture more rapidly. To offset low humidity and moisture loss, it is important to consume more liquids than you normally do throughout the day.

Less Protection from Sun

Ultraviolet radiation increases 4–5% for every 1,000 feet above sea level, so sunburn occurs more easily. To help offset the increase in UV rays, use sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and/or protective clothing, as well as sunglasses to protect your eyes.

To ease the transition process to high elevations: eat lightly, drink plenty of fluids, avoid alcohol for the first 48 hours, and get plenty of rest.

To identify trips with high-altitude riding or significant cumulative climbing, please view the “Tour Details” box for elevation alert notations. The Adventure Cycling tours department welcomes your calls if you have questions or concerns regarding trip climbing or elevation. Contact us at 1.800.755.2453 x3 or tours@adventurecycling.org.

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