April 13, 2012
We get a lot of questions about what kind of training is needed for a bicycle tour, which is a super broad question.
How you train for a tour depends on the difficulty and length of the tour, your experience as a rider, your body type, and health conditions to name just a few factors. Regardless, here's some general advice that can be applied to almost any training regiment.
Don't neglect core and upper body.
It's intuitive to focus on your legs when training for a tour, but your core and upper body should be given good consideration as well. Your upper body works harder than you might think in supporting yourself on the bike. Workouts as simple as sit-ups and push-ups can go a long way.
Slowly work your way into longer miles.
If you're just picking up the bike after a long off-season, don't all of a sudden start putting in big miles out of the gate. Ideally, you have enough time to spend a couple of weeks putting in short easy rides, then bumping mileage up slowly over the next month or so before your tour. If your tour is coming up really fast, see if you can schedule it out so you put in the shortest days early, and longer days near the end of the tour. Too many miles too soon can lead to all sorts of ailments, not to mention fatigue.
Save the high power, low reps for the weight room.
When you're on a bike, you don't want to be mashing a big gear at a low cadence. This can wreak havoc on your knees, and will wear you out quicker. At the same time, don't be spinning like a mad man. Think smooth, fluid, and controlled.
Don't forget hydration and nutrition.
Even when training, it's important to stay hydrated and fueled up to get the most out of the time you put in.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.We get a lot of questions about what kind of training is needed for a bicycle tour, which is a super broad question.