The good folks at Bike Tour Buzz, an independent resource that provides Travel Reviews, recommendations and other resources on cycling vacations, lent us this great guide to toning up for your first bike tour.
When you’re preparing for your first bike tour, it’s important to start slow. Ease yourself into training so you’ll stick with the routine and build your fitness levels steadily. And remember, when you Travel with VBT, our support van is always there if you need to rest your legs.
Before You Begin:
Make sure your frame, handlebars, saddle, and pedals are all correctly fitted. Your personal measurements and riding style (in this case, long distance cycling) will determine how it needs to be fitted, so talk to an expert about adjusting your bike. Our suggestion is to go to your local bike shop.
During your first week, you’ll want to cycle a comfortable distance. Once you’ve achieved a base level of fitness that allows you to cycle without muscle soreness or fatigue, start incorporating resistance to your rides once or twice a week by increasing your distance by no more than 10% each week or incorporating hillier, more difficult terrain. As always, consult your doctor before you begin if you have any health problems or are not accustomed to exercise, and remember to enjoy yourself!
As you build up, make sure you do recovery ride after big rides. These help clear waste products from your legs. For a recovery ride, we recommend 30-45 minutes with low resistance, 90 to 100 RPMs, and staying about 50 – 70% of your threshold.
When you’re comfortable again, add one or two long endurance rides a week. Remember not to over train, and give your body a rest when it needs it. Research the specifics of your bike tour so you’ll know how long you’ll be riding on average each day; the best indicator that you’re ready for your tour will be when you can comfortably ride two-thirds of your expected daily tour mileage over similar terrain.
Another suggestion is to do some indoor cycling, which really helps to build your interval capacity and strengthen out your legs. It’s a bit different from riding outside, but similar enough so that you will see significant benefits from a steady spin schedule. Indoor cycling coaches are also an excellent source of advice.
For more on toning up, check out Bike Tour Buzz.