Expect the Unexpected

For anyone interested in completing a long distance bicycle tour, it is important to be ready to accept whatever obstacles the road tries to put in your way. Whether it is road construction, severe weather, mechanical breakdown, or something that you could never expect such as a charging buck intent on crossing the road directly in your path , having the right gear and the right attitude will go a long way in helping you make it to your ultimate destination.  The key is being prepared and being willing to search out help that is appropriate for each unique situation.  Of course you can’t pack everything you might ever need on your bicycle, although I have seen a few unfortunates that have tried. Instead, study your route, the types of roads you will encounter and be diligent in watching the weather. If you are aware of your terrain and weather, you will know best when deciding what to bring and what to leave behind.  Talking with people that have ridden the route previously is another way to gather ideas of what will or will not be useful. If that is not possible, “Google it!” The internet is a great way to gather information about your route.  Your research will dictate what to bring and what to expect. If riders on a particular route speak about all of the thorns and resulting flats they encountered along the way, read up on puncture resistant tubes and tires. If you find out that there are few services along the way, carry extra water and food.  Carry a portable charging station for your telephone. Be prepared for rain and possible cold weather.  If a hurricane is about to hit in the area, don’t go!  And…don’t forget your first-aid kit. Just be smart when planning for your tour.img_4214

Of course, if you are going on a supported tour, much of this planning will de done by your support team.  They will know about the road conditions and weather forecasts.  They should also be able to tell you about services and points of interest along the route. If they are doing their job, they will warn you of possible problems you might encounter. On a supported tour, riders should be able to rely on their support team to keep them from running out of water and snacks along the route.

Whether it is a supported or self-supported tour, make the most of your time in the saddle.  Before the tour begins, gather as much information about the terrain, the weather and potential problems as you can. Knowledge is power and it goes a long way in helping a rider successfully and enjoyably arrive at their destination.