Want to go on a bike tour but aren’t sure where to start? Don’t worry. If you follow a few simple steps you’ll be off the couch and out on the road in no time! Looking for more bicycle touring content? Go to our content page
Step 1: Pick a Place
The first step of planning your bicycle tour is to decide where you want to ride! We always recommend anchoring a bike tour to a few destinations or activities. Have a friend in San Francisco and an uncle in LA? Great! Ride the Pacific Coast and visit them both.
Step 2: Pick Important Stops
Now that you’ve picked the general area that you want to tour, its time to nail down your anchors. Pick the sights, monuments, parks, or other places that you want to see both. You will design your touring days around these locations. It helps to mark these on a map or use an app. We love the ridewithgps application. It has different map types and allows an easy way to chart your course. Bonus: you can download the map to your phone in case you lose service.
Step Three: Sketch out the Route
Time to sketch out your route. Pick an average mileage you want to ride. This may vary day to day, but it will give you a basis for planning purposes. Look for accommodation at those intervals. Depending on the type of tour you want to do, this might be camping, cabins, or hotels. We love to use ride with gps for our mapping. It can be downloaded to your phone and used when you don’t have service.
Step 4: Check the Route
Safety should be a #1 priority for your bicycle tour. We highly recommend checking the roads you want to travel on. This might be using google maps street view, asking around on reddit or other forums, or maybe reaching out to talk to someone who has ridden there before. Whatever your choice, make sure you are riding a safe route.
Step 5: Resupply
If your bike trip is more than a few days, you’re going to need supplies. Make sure to plan out where to get more food, water, or other things you’ll need. It is also good to mark out a few bike shops if you are in populated areas. That way if something goes wrong, you have a plan on how to get it fixed. Other favorites are coffee shops, breweries, and anywhere that sells pancakes. Its not a bicycle tour without coffee and pancakes.
Step 6: Training
It isn’t a race, but you will have much more fun on your bike trip if you have prepared yourself for the mileage. We recommend being able to ride the distance of your longest day comfortably, and practicing riding 75% of the duration of the average day at least 3 times before your trip. For more detail, read our article on how to train for a bike tour.
Step 7: Packing
Packing is an important part of any trip. Using a checklist is a great way to make sure you don’t forget anything. Our comprehensive checklist should cover everything you need. Remember, you won’t need every item for every trip. Don’t over-pack!
Step 8: Get out there!
You’ve planned, you’ve booked, you’ve packed! Now its time to hit the road and get out on the bike trip. Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Not sure about going it alone? Jump on over to our guided tours page and join us for a trip. All of the fun with none of the stress.