Do you want to embark on a cycling tour but you don’t know where to begin? Joe, one of our co-founders did a 4 day 500 KM cycling tour in July 2017 across Kiambu, Nakuru, Narok, Bomet and Kerich Counties. Based on his experience, we were able to come up with 11 tips that could probably help you plan your next cycling adventure. It could be 2 days, 4 days, one week or even longer.
1. Get a good bike
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. What counts more is comfort and the willingness to see where your bike will take you. Ensure that your bike is well serviced before you start off. During the tour, simple maintenance such as cleaning and oiling the chain can go a long way in making your cycling tour comfortable. It’s also wise to have basic bike mechanical skills. Carry a repair kit with you. You might need it along the way to repair a puncture, replace broken spokes etc.
2. Learn at least language basics of the country/region you plan to tour.
This will not only enable you to order food and ask for directions but also authentic interactions with locals you will meet along the way.
3. Find the nearest cycling community.
Internet is filled with numerous forums and groups of cyclists that you could benefit from. These groups would be a great way to research routes, ask questions, get advice and connect with bike enthusiasts. For example while in Kenya, Kenya Cycling Facebook group could be very helpful. You might be lucky to find some cyclists who would be happy to be part of your journey.
4. Take Lot’s of Pictures
Pictures and videos are the best ways of reminiscing the wonderful moments you had in your adventure. A good phone or camera would be a great way to capture the experiences you will encounter be it with the locals, stunning views, food, animals etc.
5. Overcome your fears
‘What if someone steals my bike? What if I get attacked while camping? What if I get hit by a truck?’ These aren’t some of the questions your family/friends will ask you – yourself repeatedly before setting off. Don’t be afraid!
Camping saves you quite some money. Look around for areas you could camp. Public campsites along the route you are using could provide a safe haven for you.
7.Take Care of Yourself
Eat well everyday, take a shower [if possible ;-)] treat yourself occasionally to some good food/wine/beer during your tour. Also remember to carry a first aid kit with you.
8. Carry Enough Water Bottles
Water is essential during your cycling tour and so you must ensure you get to carry enough water bottles and refill them any time you get a chance.
9. You don’t need ultra cycling clothes.
Wearing comfortable casual clothes while cycling is okay. It’s also good to consider factors such as weather while deciding what to wear/carry during your tour.
10. Take it Easy.
Don’t try to cycle 100 km a day everyday. Take it slow and easy. It does more good than harm not to strain yourself too much. Enjoy the contours of the country and take each day as it comes. It’s never that serious 😉
I will leave #11 deliberately blank as an acknowledgment that I have not exhausted the preparatory tips for cycling tours. The list is quite long but the most important thing now is making up your mind, grabbing your your bike and touring the amazing places across your region. Just Start!