Preparing for a Cycle Tour

Preparing for a Cycle Tour

It’s a fresh start to another year with so much to achieve and accomplish. If you’ve been pondering new cycling challenges for yourself in 2024, perhaps a cycle tour is on the cards for you. Whether it’s a leisurely tour to take in the sites of our beautiful country or a stage race, like that of the annual Sabie Xperience, days spent cycling the roads of South Africa will need a bit of forethought and preparation.

We explore some tips and tricks to get you saddled up and ready to take on the challenging and beautiful roads we have on offer all over the country.

Training Trips

Take Your Trip Grading into Account

When preparing for a cycling trip, it's important to understand the level of difficulty and terrain you will face. Take the time to read your trip notes in advance so you can prepare yourself and enjoy your journey.  Factors to consider include, whether you have a challenging day of hill climbing, or if the weather will be hot during your trip. Understanding your itinerary and trip grade will help you plan your training sessions. If you're new to cycling, don't worry! It's normal to feel nervous. Remember, you can go at your own pace and enjoy the scenery along the way.

Many tours offer vehicle support and the option to use an e-bike if you need an extra push.

Get Riding!

To get cycle-ready, the most important thing you need to do is to spend as much time as possible on your bike. Don't assume that running or swimming can be a substitute for cycling. While it is beneficial to include a mix of cardio and weight-bearing exercises in your workout routine, it is crucial to incorporate cycling into your weekly routine. Regular cycling will engage different muscle groups and help you adjust to sitting in your saddle for extended periods.

Keep Training

You must keep a consistent and regular exercise routine if you want to get cycle fit. This not only helps with endurance during your tour but also eliminates the chance of getting a serious injury. Your exercise routine needs to pick up in the weeks leading up to your tour, which takes quite a bit of discipline. Set reminders, create a training calendar, prepare your training gear the night before and try to eliminate any barriers that might come in the way of you getting all the training you need before your tour.

Climb those Hills

Any cyclist, even the most advanced and experienced, will tell you that riding up a hill is no fun. The reality, though, is that no country on the planet has a flat terrain for 100s of kilometers. Include hills in your daily rides, to ensure that you can climb the hills that cross your path on your tours. 

Weather the Weather

Anyone in any part of South Africa will tell you, that you are never certain of the weather you’ll have, no matter the season. Make sure that you train in all weather conditions, to prepare yourself for the possibility of a heatwave or wind and rain. Being prepared for any weather conditions also ensures a more relaxed ride, as you won’t be concerned about any delays due to the change in weather.

Get Used to Traffic

Practice driving at different times of the day, not just when there is less traffic. The reality is, that if you are on a cycle tour, you will need to share some roads with vehicles. If you are on an open road, those vehicles may be travelling at high speed. Make sure that you are used to the look, sound and feel of vehicles passing you by, as well as practising road safety for yourself and other road users.

Ride on Different Surfaces

No tour is complete without exploring all areas of the road you’re taking, whether that road be tar or gravel. In your preparation for your tour, make sure you include riding on a variety of surfaces. Even if your route is mainly tar, there may be times that you need to veer off the road and drive along the curb, or you might find yourself needing to take a detour from your planned route.

Training for a tour can be as exciting as the actual tour, as you prepare yourself in the months and weeks leading up to it. Make sure to pop into Action Cycles for expert advice on training, nutrition and gear that you’ll need for your upcoming cycle tour.

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