Are you dreaming of the perfect cycling trip? If so, you may have already discovered our guide to planning your dream cycling getaway. In this article, instead of focusing on the 'what to dos', we will focus on the 'what not to dos'. Here are the pitfalls when planning a cycling trip.
Cycling trips and training camps are a marathon – not a sprint. This is more on a rider-by-rider basis, but if you're trying to do too much too soon, you risk over-exerting yourself, getting injured, or simply not enjoying the trip.
By all means, set goals and targets – but don't do a mammoth exhausting ride every day. Remember that not everyone in your club or group of friends will be at the same level on a day-by-day basis. To keep everyone together, aim to ride at the pace of the slowest rider, or break off into set pace groups each day. There is no fun in riding on your own and chasing the wheels all week, so make sure everyone has someone to ride with.
With so much thought going into your kit and bike, it's easy to forget about the importance of nutrition. Always keep your bottles topped up with water and electrolytes so that you replenish the fluids lost during the day. When it comes to food, eat little and often throughout the day and make sure to pack or buy these crucial energy topping foodstuffs before each ride. Keeping your energy and hydration levels up means that you will always be heading in the right direction and not hitting a wall or, worse, losing a day of your hard-earned vacation. You will want to be making the most out of your time on the bike with your friends in an exciting destination, not forever chasing that next sugar rush.
Managing expectations is a huge part of the planning stage to a group trip or training camp. Have a Zoom call or in-person meet-up with your fellow club members and decide on a balance between 'work and play'. Is this going to be a training camp in every sense of the word where you and your buddies will be focused only on becoming better cyclists, or are you going for more of a holiday vibe with some cycling thrown in? Iron out these details beforehand so that no one is left feeling that their expectations have not been met.
Judge your ride and the kit you might need to take by the weather you will be facing and always err on the side of caution. Even if it is the height of summer and you've been in a t-shirt for months, take time out to plan ahead. Are you packing a lot of climbing into your camp? No matter what time of year, it's going to be chilly on the descents so pack accordingly. Are you heading to a rainy climate? Don't just pack an extra coat, make sure to think about those all-important extremities and take overshoes and gloves with you. Conversely, if you're heading somewhere dry and hot with plenty of sun, don't forget the sunscreen. For more on dressing for different conditions, make sure to read our article Cycling Clothes – How To Dress For The Bike.
A post-ride beer on a training camp with your friends after a long day in the mountains is what makes these trips so great – a chance to analyze the day's riding, plan the upcoming routes, and bond as a group over a couple of pints or a good meal.
That being said, it's pretty obvious that getting hammered before bed will have a detrimental effect for the rest of the trip. This point certainly co-exists with the pre-trip group expectation management.
Sometimes, the most memorable bits of an adventure are the bits we don't plan and leave up to chance. Remember to have fun and not be too concerned about sticking to the route or time schedule. Plan off-the-bike activities for you and your ride buddies, too. This way, you can keep the group harmoniously working together and all having a good time. Take time to hop off the bike for a while, explore that area, meet the people who call it home, and taste the local delicacies. These are the experiences that will stay with you long after you forget the ride.
One way to avoid these pitfalls when planning a cycling trip is to check out our NOMAD shop and blog pages. We offer a large range of trip-specific bags, accessories, and cycling clothes for men and women that will make your experience a whole lot better. Don't make the same mistakes! Avoid these pitfalls when planning a cycling trip. We hope an epic adventure awaits you.