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Useful Information


Recommended Equipment for your Long-Distance Cycling Holiday

Before you set off on a long distance cycling holiday, there is a lot to consider. Being strategic in your planning will not just save you time, it will save you money - and a few dehydration-induced headaches!

Here you'll find our essential guide for packing smartly and training before your holiday.

What to Wear

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Helmet

Particularly important off-road, your helmet should be in good condition and fastened securely. The more lightweight the better, to reduce strain on your neck while you’re riding.


Padded cycling shorts

With their in-built padding, these are the most comfortable option for a week-long ride by far.


Gloves

We recommend full-finger gloves to reduce wind chill and protect your fingertips in case of a crash, but a good-quality palm is even more important. It’ll stop your hands chafing and even blistering against your grips.


Waterproofs

The British weather can be changeable even in summer, especially if your route takes you up into the hills or across open moors. Be sure to bring a waterproof jacket even if you doubt you’ll need to use it.


Warm layers

Although in most weather you’ll be more than warm enough while pedalling, we do recommend you carry warm layers for emergencies and to put on when you take a break.


Hat

It may seem counter-intuitive to bring a hat when you’re spending most of your time wearing a helmet, but again this is for when you stop. A vast amount of your body heat escapes through your head, and a hat is the best way to catch it.


What to Ride

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For road holidays

Any road bicycle or hybrid will suit the majority of our holidays. If your particular route has off-road sections that you intend to tackle (all routes have a fully on-road alternative) you may want to consider a treaded tyre, but even these should be primarily intended for road-riding. Mountain bike tyres will slow you down immensely!


For off-road holidays

The lighter the mountain bike, the more easily you’ll tackle the steepest up-hill sections. Full suspension is brilliant for our most technical trails in particular, but remember that a hardtail is by far the best option if you opt not to book luggage transfers along the route. Be sure to read our route description closely to make sure you match your bicycle to the terrain.



What to Eat

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Drinks

When cycling, you lose fluids through sweating and breathing. It’s important to drink regularly, before you feel thirsty, to stay well ahead of dehydration. For long-distance rides, favour drinks that contain electrolytes. These will rehydrate and energise you, and replace the salts you sweat out over distance.


Food

Carbohydrates are a brilliant source of food for working muscles because they are by far the most digestible, transforming efficiently into usable glucose. Be sure to carry plenty of snacks while out on the trail to keep your energy levels topped up.


What to Take

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Your holiday pack includes a full list of recommended kit. Here are some of the essentials:

  • Repair kit
  • Lightweight lock cable
  • First aid kit
  • Lights for your bicycle
  • GPS unit with spare batteries
  • Sunblock
  • Compass
  • Whistle and torch
  • Water bottle or hydration pack
  • Chain-link
  • Puncture repair kit or inner tubes
  • Lightweight pump
  • Multi-tool

For more complex problems, we provide emergency numbers in your holiday pack.


If you have any questions, please contact our friendly office and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Preparation


Training for your long-distance cycling holiday

We take our time and choose our routes carefully to help create enjoyable itineraries so that anyone who is reasonably healthy can complete them.

Before you tackle a long-distance ride, however, there are a number of steps we recommend you take to make your efforts worthwhile.

Basic Training

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To get the maximum enjoyment out of your cycling holiday, you should be in good shape and accustomed to cycling the distances described in the route details on the holiday you have chosen. The best and most pleasurable way to ensure this is to go for a few rides in the weeks leading up to your holiday.

You have to set up a training plan and be ready to commit to it. Design a plan around your lifestyle and goals. Your main objective is to work up to riding several, long consecutive days. Start slowly and go at your own pace.

Start your training at a comfortable distance and try not to push yourself too hard. Whether it is two miles or 20 miles, start gently and work your way up. It is important to spend about 10 minutes warming up before any exercise. Try to ride at least four days a week, and add one day as an easy riding day. Increase the weekly distance as slowly as possible and be careful not to increase it too fast or you may strain your body or injure yourself. Remember to always stretch and hydrate before, during and after your rides to maintain flexibility and to avoid injuries.

If you are new to cycling, use this basic guide to get yourself fit, in shape and ready for an unforgettable journey.

Week 1 - 2

Monday Rest day
Tuesday 20 minutes cycling
Wednesday Rest day / easy riding
Thursday 20 minutes cycling
Friday Rest day
Saturday 1 hour cycling
Sunday 1 hour cycling

Week 3 - 4

Monday Rest day
Tuesday 40 minutes (8-10 miles) cycling
Wednesday Rest day / easy riding
Thursday 40 minutes (8-10 miles) cycling
Friday Rest day
Saturday 2 hours (20-25 miles) cycling
Sunday 2 hours (20-25 miles) cycling

Week 5 - 6

Monday Rest day
Tuesday 1 hour (10-13 miles) cycling
Wednesday Rest day / easy riding
Thursday 1 hour (10-13 miles) cycling
Friday Rest day
Saturday 3 hours (25-30 miles) cycling
Sunday 3 hours (25-30 miles) cycling

Rest Day

You should avoid over training. If your muscles are aching, you experience a lack of appetite, you have trouble sleeping, or your usual training rides feel more difficult than normal, you are over training. It's time to take some time off for rest and relaxation. Remember, there has to be a balance between training and resting. Otherwise, all that work will go to waste and it can slow down your progress.

If you are feeling ill and miss a training day, do not try to make up for it on the next day. Rest and recovery are just as important parts of the training. Make sure you add an easy riding day into your training plan. Once every week, schedule an easy riding day to give your body and mind a break.

Benefits of cycling

There are many health benefits that are associated with cycling. It is good to know, so let's look at a few of the major benefits:

  • Builds stamina
  • Improves coordination
  • Improves heart health
  • Increases muscle tone
  • Builds strength
  • Reduces stress

Visit NHS Health & Fitness for more detail on the health benefits of cycling.

Further Information