Things to Consider if You Want to Cycle Abroad

If you are a keen cyclist or even an enthusiastic beginner, you may have considered taking your bike abroad and enjoying a week or two of cycling through different scenery and seeing a new country from two wheels.  It can be a great way to travel as you can take things in at your own leisure, stop and take photos when you want to, and stumble across some gorgeous restaurants that you may not have found from the car.  Many countries are very friendly towards cyclists, so you may even find it easier to cycle abroad than at home.  However, here are some things you might want to consider before you go.

Location

There are so many lovely locations to cycle through that you will be spoilt for choice.  Have you always wanted to cycle through the Swiss alps or see Thailand on two wheels? You may already have your dream location in mind, but if you haven’t done some research before deciding where to go, now’s the time.  Think about how fit you might need to be to cycle in different locations and whether you will need to take different things depending on your location, as well as what the weather might be like at the time of year you are traveling.

Training

Once you have decided where to go, you will need to do some training so that you are fit enough to enjoy your vacation.  Consider the type of terrain you are going to be cycling on and train with this in mind.  For example, are you likely to be going off-road or uphill a lot, or is your destination reasonably flat? Find some great cycling routes local to you that will help you prepare physically for the journey ahead and start training early.  Give yourself a few months to get to the top of your athletic ability and don’t try to wing it by cycling for a couple of hours the week before you go. This will lead to injury and an increased desire to catch the train everywhere, which will spoil your vacation, especially if you are traveling as part of a group.

Bike

There is always the option of leaving your bike at home and hiring one when you reach your destination.  However, if you have done a lot of training on your bike, you may prefer to take it with you.  It is perfectly possible to take your bike abroad, but you need to know the protocols.

It’s possible to take your bike on the plane, although it’s handy to read up on flying tips with bicycle first. This blog post from Velosurance has lots of useful flying tips with bicycle. Make sure you are insured before you travel – a reputable company such as Velosurance can cover your bike for all eventualities when you are traveling with it. They’ll also cover medical costs if needed.  Without insurance, your holiday could be ruined before it has even started.

Bear in mind that any airline will want you to either box or bag your bike in order to travel with it.

Remove the pedals, seat post, and saddle and carry these with you in your hand luggage.

Remove the wheels and pack these with the bike.  Deflate the tires slightly as they will be traveling in the hold and could explode if they are overinflated.

Remove the rear derailleur and place it in a lot of bubble wrap to avoid damage.

Always check your bike for damage or loss before you clear customs, otherwise, the airline may not accept liability. Get written confirmation of any damage that has been caused by the baggage handlers before you start your onward journey too so that you can provide this to the airline on request.

Toolkit

Make sure you pack an adequate tool kit for your journey, and you know how to use it.  If your bike repair skills are not as good as they could be then it is best to prepare for your trip by watching some videos and learning how to take care of your bike maintenance.  Remember, you are traveling to a country where you may not speak the language and you could be miles away from a repair shop so don’t expect anyone else to maintain your bike for you. Nomad Frontiers is a great place to buy all kind of cycling accessories and toolkit that you may need for your cycling trip.

Plan Your Route

Plan your route so that you have a good idea of where you will be able to stop every night.  Book your accommodation or campsites well in advance of travel to make sure they are available.  You will not enjoy turning up at a location after a long ride, only to find that they are fully booked, and you will have nowhere to spend the night.

Make sure you download a map of the area you are going to be cycling around to your phone before you travel.  This way you can always figure out where you are if you are lost, and you will know what direction to take.

Follow these guidelines and you will have a truly amazing cycling trip abroad.  Who knows, it may even be the first of many.