One question I often hear from people who want to go cycling touring is “will I need to train before I leave?”
The answer like many things is it depends! It really depends on two key factors that you need to ask yourself: what is your current fitness and what trip and intensity are you planning on?
Unless you are new to cycling or doing a crazy trip like round the world in 80 days, most people will be fine without much training before. I find that within a couple of days, you get used to the riding (and the saddle!), slowly building up your endurance. It is also important to note, that when you are on a cycle tour you will most likely have all day to ride, unless it gets too hot! This means that you might actually be able to cycle further distances then you have before or planned to do.
However, if you are looking on doing a more demanding tour, with long back to back days, then some training beforehand could be useful. But don’t be put off, this could be going on little weekend adventures with all of your kit to check everything out, or ride two sportive back to back. Testing out your bike and kit on a practice run is also very important if this is going to be your first cycling trip. I only found out that my spokes were loose on my rear wheel once on my tour down Europe in 2016, and had it mended at least five times!
When I cycled down Europe, although I had been racing before, the type of riding was very different. I had been training, but this consisted of lots of short, high intensity interval efforts. Cycling touring is much more relaxed and steady, I would normally go less than half the speed than I would when on my racing bike! Cycle touring is normally slow and steady speeds, and about endurance. As said earlier, you will normally get used to this within the first few days!
I’ll be adding another post soon about how you can train and get in shape for a cycle tour, for those who want some more practical advice.
Keep pedalling, Ceri