The best year to go out on your first cross-country tour is the one you’ve got now. Don’t let anything hold you back, especially time.
What you don’t want to become is one of those people who are tied to the hip with the routines they’ve built up for themselves over the years. Suddenly the decade is gone, and soon enough, you’ll be giving out spiels like “How did I get here so fast and so old when just yesterday I was only 21?” You want to be the kind of person who has lived out his or her days in full and meaningful speed.
When you’re out in the open road, your mind automatically frees itself up from your calendars, from your boss, from your obligations—a careful but deliberate breaking bad from your daily routine. Paddling away on a bike makes every passing second a waking moment.
If it is your first time to brave the country, try to remember that it is about having fun and being alive. It’s not meant to be a sufferfest all throughout despite the physical challenges that come with touring.
To survive your first, you want to make it as comfortable as possible. To do that, you need to have the right stuff to be comfortable with. Here are the basics and equally essential for every type of cyclist on tour.
Must-Have Clothing and Gear
It’s more of a personal decision on what can make you feel comfy and fresh. You’ll be riding about eight to nine or even more hours a day while on tour, so you have to really map out what’s important to you.
While most make a lot of fuss on the toiletries to stuff in the bag or the pairs of changing clothes to take with them, try to focus on keeping your baggage light as light as possible. When you’ve nailed that down, these are the stuff you shouldn’t leave without:
Bike Sandals with SPDs
There’s no escape from tan lines if you’re a cyclist, even all the way down to your feet. If you want to keep it simple and ventilated, you may want to invest in bike sandals.
Those with a deep appreciation for the open-toed lifestyle, bike sandals that come with Shimano Pedalling Dynamics (SPD) are the next best thing after peanut butter sandwich on a cadence drills day.
They give you better foot positioning, stability on not-so-friendly terrains, and short bursts of pedal kick power when needed. You won’t be needing socks for them as they are much airier compared to compact bike shoes. The best thing is you don’t need to pack a pair of socks. Your feet will be stink-free all the way.
And while you’re at it, track and compare your race power over time using a power meter to see how your pedal power has improved on tour. It’s a way to test if the bike sandals help increase your average cycling speed.
Speaking of stink, cyclists have a habit of wearing Merinos all day and night while on tour because of the added benefits they do to the skin.
Merinos keep away the moisture, which is usually the cause for chafing and blisters. Because of the unique synthetic materials the clothing line uses, they regulate temperature both hot and cold weather. They are designed to be nonirritating to any skin type even under extreme weather conditions. But the real bonus is that they’re odor-resistant.
After a long day of you riding, smelling great may be hard to come by, but with Merinos, you won’t have to stink so much.
Sitting on a bike saddle for an extended period is not at all an easy feat, no matter how much padding you put on it. Riding on padded cycling shorts will make your life on the road so much better.
They’re designed to keep the friction and sores between your thighs or butt and the bike seat to a minimum. Cyclists usually refer to it as chamois. They’ve been around way before diapers have been. And they will continue to save you from varying butting-in and butting-out situations for more years to come.
Arm Sleeves and Buff Headwear
Sunscreens are great, but during summer, nothing can fully protect you from the scorching heat of the sun.
Having an arm sleeve on will give you that added protection. You want to do the same for your neck, the second part of your body that will get the brunt of the sunny force. When the heat gets worse, take off the arm sleeves, and dab them with a bit of water. Wear them back on, and you’ll get that extra cool and fresh breeze blowing on your arms and head as you speed away.
Massage Sticks and Muscle Reliever Tapes
You can’t take away the soreness in biking. But taking a lightweight massage stick with you can help soothe and ease your troubled muscles away temporarily. These handheld sticks give you enough relief to get you through the tour. Roll them over those tight calves and stretch them as much as you can before you call it a night, and they’ll feel brand-new on the next day.
But in case it feels like more than just nagging soreness when there’s pain involved, you need something that packs a punch. A kinesiology tape has worked wonders for those who are literally on their feet all the time. Imagine a Band-Aid but on steroids—the KT tape decompresses worn-out muscles or tissues and helps circulate white blood. These tapes are made of synthetic fabric you can stretch out to cover and soothe the injured areas as much as possible.
Part 2 of 2 to the butt business earlier—an inflatable mattress should be your weightless throne in the great outdoors. You need to relax and recover as much as possible. Sitting on a puffed-up, compressed air mattress will loosen up the tightness and make you feel like a king in the game of pedals in no time.
Photo URL: https://www.pexels.com/photo/bicyclist-passing-the-road-near-the-river-163407/