Training for a bike tour
The majority of the tours we offer have rider levels of Leisure (1) or Recreational (2) and require little more than average conditioning and a good attitude. Still, the more you ride before your bicycle tour, the more you’ll enjoy it! (And if you’re looking at an Active (3) or Enthusiast (4) tour, you probably already have your own training program!)
Nothing prepares you for a bike tour like “time in the saddle.” Even if you excel at other sports and consider yourself a strong athlete, you owe it to yourself to get a lot of riding in before your tour — you use a lot of different muscles riding a bike.
Also, when we’re out on tours, we hear more people groaning about sore butts than sore muscles! Bottom line (sorry): ride more, and your butt will thank you later!
Even if you’re accustomed to long distances, remember that you’re going to be riding at a leisurely explorer’s pace. This means you’ll be on your bike longer than you expect, and certainly longer than weekend rides at home.
It’s not at all uncommon for people who ride at 12- or even 18- mile-per-hour paces at home to average less than 8 miles per hour on a bike tour. There’s so much to see!
Here’s a rough guide to help you prepare for being ready for your tour. Don’t wait until two weeks before your bike tour – the earlier you start your conditioning program, the better shape you’ll be in.
We recommend that you work up to riding at least your tour’s average daily distance (ADD) at least once a week by 12 weeks before your tour. Don’t worry about speed. Just relax, be comfortable and enjoy—just like you will during your tour.
- By 8 weeks before, ride the ADD at least twice a week.
- By 6 weeks before, ride the ADD at least three times a week, with two rides on consecutive days.
- By 4 weeks before, add at least one shorter ride to your training week.
- By 2 weeks before, ride the ADD at least three times during the week with at least one shorter ride.
- During your final week, just focus on keeping your legs loose with a couple of shorter rides.
If you don’t have enough time to do several rides a week, it’s OK to merge daily distances. For example: If the average daily distance is 30, and your training week calls for three rides a week, you can do two rides of 45 rather than two of 30.
Note: If the tour’s terrain is hillier than you’re able to ride at home, it’s wise to increase your ride distances a bit.