Wheels 101: How to Prepare for a Bike Trip

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Ah, the age-old question: how fit do I need to be to do a bike trip? One of our most commonly asked questions, our answer is: you don’t have to be an athlete in any way to complete a B&R bike trip.

We’ve been doing this for over 50 years, and we’re big on everyone marching to the beat of their own drum, so you don’t have to worry about keeping time with anyone but yourself. We believe that you should go at whatever speed suits you: slow, fast or something in between. No matter what speed you plan to go, it’s a good idea to train prior to your trip.

Here are our recommendations for getting ready for your bike trip. We’re covering a few of our activity levels, which are classified according to how far you might want to go each day and how challenging the terrain is.

Topography and real-world biking means that you will encounter a few hills along the way from molehill to mountain, depending on your trip. With new GPS tablets for all our European journeys in 2017, you’ll have all the confidence in the world to go at your own pace with little risk of straying off your route.

Begin to train with spin classes, strength conditioning, stretching (yoga is great, for instance), but most importantly, try to get out on an actual bike for longer rides and hill training on separate days. Spending some time in the saddle before your trip will get you ready to be on a bike for several hours each day. Riding a stationary bike is very different from hopping on a real bike—and feeling comfortable on two wheels is the key to having a great bike vacation. After you get off that bike, remember to stretch to reduce muscle pain, stiffness and fatigue.

Above all, make sure you enjoy the ride. This is the reason B&R was founded—that riding your bike through wonderful places is simply the best way to truly experience a region. See you on the road!

Activity Level: Occasional

“I’m in relatively good shape but I haven’t been on a bike since my last B&R trip.”
The Terrain: 40-50 km (25-30 mi.) a day over relatively flat terrain with a few small hills—all very manageable for people trying their first biking trip.

The Training Plan: Aim for about 6 weeks of training.
Spin Class: 1 class each week
Stretch (i.e. yoga): 1 class each week
Strength Training: 1 session each week
Long Ride: about 1-2 hours on a bike outside, once a week. Try a hilly area on the weekend, going a bit further each week and staying out longer each time.

Activity Level: Recreational

“I ride my bike once or twice a month and am very comfortable on two wheels.”
The Terrain: 40-50 km (25-30 mi.) a day over terrain that’s relatively flat but will include inclines and the occasional climb or two.

The Training Plan: Aim for about 6-8 weeks of training.
Spin Class: 1-2 classes each week
Stretch (i.e. yoga): 1 class each week
Strength Training: 1 session each week
Long Ride: About 2 hours on a bike outside, once a week. Try some hilly areas on the weekend, and aim for about 2 hours of activity.

Activity Level: Enthusiast

“I bike about once a week at home.”
The Terrain: 40-50 km (25-30 mi.) a day in gently rolling countryside, with occasional longer climbs to points that are well worth the effort. Layover days accommodate varying preferences.

The Training Plan:
If you’re already riding once a week at home, ramp up your current level of fitness with a second ride on weekends, and/or extending by an hour or so when you can.

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