Our cycling holidays vary from very leisurely, to the more arduous road bike tours, which means there are different fitness requirements for your trip of choice. General tips are that you should have spent at least a few hours on a bike – similar to the one you will be riding – before setting off on your cycling holiday. This makes sense because cycling requires you to utilise specific muscles and sees you set in pretty much the same position for at least a couple of hours at a time.
Time on a bike saddle will also prepare your nether regions for the hours of cycling while on holiday! While padded shorts and/or comfortable saddles will ease any potential pain, it’s a good idea to ease your body into a cycling holiday by doing a little cycle training before you set off.
On the subject of padded shorts, you won’t need to be wearing Lycra from head-to-toe to be comfy on your holiday, but a few well-chosen items can keep your body comfortable, cool and dry. Padded shorts are a must, and come in a variety of styles, including a leisurely cargo pant style so you don’t have to show off every contour! A waterproof and breathable top or jacket is also an essential, as is sun-cream, sunglasses, gloves and cycling shoes if you have them. This may also sound obvious, but ensure to also have plenty of fluids on board and a variety of snacks to keep your body hydrated and fuelled.
Fitness tips for easy to moderate graded leisurely cycling holidays
Cycling trips such as the easy Discover Tuscany from Pisa to Florence tour or the easy to moderate Munich Lakes tour will normally be on flatter routes and with distances of around 30-60 km each day. There might be rest days as well, so you will not be spending every day in the saddle.
Fitness is still important on the these most leisurely of tours for holiday enjoyment, so make sure you have been out on your bike at least a couple of times a week in the two months leading up to your holiday. If you are starting from scratch, try to build up your mileage gradually (increase by about 10% each week) to the longest distance in the holiday itinerary. Also if there are hills to navigate on the tour, try to take on a couple during your training rides to build up the necessary power and strength in your legs.
If poor weather hampers your outdoors training, try spin classes at the local gym or use a turbo (this is a gadget that turns your bike into a stationary bike indoors).
Fitness tips for moderate to challenging graded leisurely cycling holidays
Cycling holidays graded from moderate to challenging will include longer days in the saddle and/or hills. These are the holidays where a little more training beforehand will make a greater difference to your enjoyment levels. For example, the challenging Burgundy History tour, demands 50-65km to be covered each day and does include the odd hilly section.
To be fit enough to enjoy (rather than endure) these holidays a training plan of at least a few months leading up to the trip is recommended. Start with shorter rides, including a few hills, and build up over the weeks to rides of around 60km or more. The riding does not need to be fast but you do need to feel comfortable on a road bike for 2-3 hours at a time.
Fitness tips for our Road Bike tours
These tours are aimed at those who ride on a regular basis and are comfortable climbing hills for a few hours at a time. Ideally you would be riding 2/3 times, and covering 150km or more, per week for a couple of months before your trip. The Venice Lands Road Bike tour for example will ask you to ride 80-120km per day with a total daily climb of up to 2,500 meters.
You should also be completely comfortable using clipless pedals as all riders and bikes supplied on the tour will use them. Not only do they give you more stability and control on the bike, but they also apparently improve overall cycling performance by as much as 30%!
Many people find that riding with other people, or joining a bike club, helps with training because it’s more fun to ride with likeminded people than solo. Also, as mentioned before, if the weather goes against you, include spin fit classes at the local gym and turbo training sessions indoors into your weekly programme.
Remember that to enjoy a cycling holiday you can choose the grade to suit your fitness. And if you go for the higher grades, you do not need to be as fit as the Tour pros. It just makes sense to have some cycling miles in your legs so that you can truly enjoy your trip.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]