• nick

How to plan a cycle adventure

Updated: Mar 26

There’s a great sense of anticipation and excitement that builds as an adventure brews. Each element of the planning has its own little pleasures. Perhaps it's the satisfaction of creating a perfect route stopping by all your bucket list places, or maybe it's the thought of an evening meal in a cosy pub just round the corner from your campsite. What ever it is, there's nothing that quite beats planning your very own adventure.

This particular blog is probably more suited to the kind of person that’s read an adventure article on line or watched something inspirational on TV and wished they could make it happen for themselves. Contrary to the Famous Five, "falling into adventure" doesn’t really happen. It takes a little bit of planning and some prior preparation, but it’s easy enough for anyone to do, and pretty much guarantees an epic and memorable time away.

When to go. I find the best months for really enjoying a cycle adventure are April to October. The weather is generally better which certainly alleviates the requirement for more expensive specialist winter riding gear, the days are longer and generally more accommodation is open.

Where to go. Rolling hills, coastal routes overlooking the sea, quiet country back roads, national parks, old cities, you can pretty much cycle the whole of the UK. Personally, I avoid anything too mountainous, leaving that for walking and scrambling adventures, and stick to routes I know I can get up and down with a bike loaded with equipment.

Who to go with. I’ve travelled solo and with groups of friends. No party size is better than the other, it’s just a different riding dynamic. If this is going to be your first trip then I would suggest going with at least one other person. It’s handy for sharing gear, having a friend to talk to and if you get into trouble, having two of you to sort out a problem is better than struggling on your own.

How long to go for. Again, if this is your first time then how about a short ride and an overnight at a B&B? If you like it then go for a longer trip or try camping. People have cycled around the world so there really isn’t any maximum duration. If you can cycle for a week then you can probably cycle for a month. If you are planning a longer trip then do remember to plan for rest days. Your legs will thank you for them!



Planning an adventure

This is the list I use to give me the best possible chance of having an awesome adventure.


1. Establish a goal

2. Plan a route

3. Book accommodation

4. Plan a menu

5. Select kit and equipment

6. Double check the itinerary


1. Establish a goal

Having a goal gives my adventure a sense of purpose and gives me a great sense of satisfaction and enjoyment particularly when I look back and reflect on the trip. The goal doesn’t need to be anything life changing or dramatic, it may be that I just want to get away and de-stress, or perhaps there’s a new cycle trail I've heard about or a cliff top campsite overlooking the sea I fancy staying at. Whatever it may be, it helps me shape the route and influences where I stay and what I eat.

2. Plan a route

I prefer to start planning my routes using a paper map. There’s nothing quite like sitting round the kitchen table, with a cup of tea in hand and an Ordnance Survey map spread out in front of me. Every map holds countless adventures and it is easier to see good routes through the surrounding landscape when it’s all laid out on one big map. Where exactly can I cycle?

Cycles are not allowed on public footpaths, so I look for a combination of public bridleways, public by-ways, dedicated cycling trails and quiet B or C roads.

I prefer to use an Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 scale "Landranger" map for cycle adventure planning as I find it covers a sufficient cycling distance on one map and the cycling specific map symbols are a little easier to follow. Understanding the terrain is important on a cycle ride. On a road bike, routes around quiet B and C roads would be more comfortable. A mountain bike will be better if you’re looking to venture solely off road on rugged terrain. National Cycle Network routes cover mixed terrain and a hybrid type bike is a great all round choice. There is a UK wide National Cycle Network looked after by the charity Sustrans. The network covers approximately 15,000 miles (21,000km) of signed cycle routes. The criteria for a National Cycle Trail is that 50% of the miles should be off road and all sections should be suitable for an unsupervised 12 year old. These cycle trails can form the basis of a really great adventure. Routes like the Tarka Trail https://www.tarkatrail.org.uk/ inspired by the route travelled by Tarka the Otter, is a 180 mile figure of eight loop joining the North Devon coast to Dartmoor. The southern loop incorporates the longest, continuous off-road cycle path in the UK.


Resources

Although I like to start from scratch and plan my own journey, there are plenty of resources that offer ideas for routes. Sustrans, as well as offering access to the National Cycle Network, also have a 'Find a route' function on their website allowing you to select a location, ideal distance/length of ride, and route type. For the latter you can select: "all road", "traffic free" or anywhere in between. The routes are printable but they also offer digital and paper cycle route maps, plus a whole host of other useful cycling information. https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ However you go about planning, it’s advisable to be a little flexible at first so you can tailor the route to encompass the best views, stopping points and accommodation. It’s not uncommon for me to tweak the route a couple of times before it finally fits the bill.

How far should I make my route? For me, this is dependent on two factors: the terrain and how many hours I want to ride in one day. In terms of terrain, a rough trail on a mountain bike with wider tyres will take more effort to pedal than a road bike on smooth tarmac. Therefore, I’ll travel slower and cover less distance on an MTB than a road bike for the same given time. It’s also important to take into account how hilly the route is as this will also have a significant effect on the amount of miles coverable in one day.

Timewise, I like to set off early in the morning, around 8am, to maximise the amount of available riding time, and plan to get to my destination by 4pm giving me plenty of time to relax and enjoy the evening. However, I also like to take my time and take in the surroundings. I may stop several times for photo opportunities or to explore an old ruin and have a longer time to savour my lunch and take refreshment breaks. All in all I may actually only be riding for 6 hours.

The effects of elevation / ascent on cycle time In the world of hill walking, a clever chap named William Naismith came up with a rule of thumb for the effects of ascent on walking time. I haven’t discovered an official cycling ‘rule’ yet, perhaps because there are so many other factors involved (type of bike, range of gears, load carried, terrain etc.), but never-the-less in analysing over a thousand miles of my own mixed terrain journeys I’ve found that, very roughly, the following approximations can be made.

Ascent Time added to journey 100m 10 mins 500m 50 mins 1000m 1 hr 40 mins So given the type of terrain I might encounter, the amount of ascent I might climb in one day vs the time I wish to spend cycling, I use the following ready reckoner to see how far I might typically cycle in one day. It includes typical distances for 500m and 1000m of ascent. Daily travel distance Mode of travel Terrain Avg. speed Max. dist. + 500m +1000 Mountain bike Rough 8mph (13) 48 (77) 42 (68) 38 (61) Hybrid Mixed 10mph (16) 60 (97) 53 (85) 47 (76) Road Paved 12mph (19) 72 (116) 63 (101) 56 (90)

(Distances in miles, km in brackets)


From experience I would always lower my distance expectations. It’s so much more pleasant to travel at an easy pace than be chasing your tail the whole way, arriving after dark and missing your pre-booked meal (all said from bitter experience!) And if you’re new to this then don’t be too over ambitious. A simple route over a short distance, fairly close to home, just to get used to being in the saddle for more than a couple of hours is a perfect start. If it all goes wrong, you don’t have too far to limp home…


Four steps to planning a good route

Step 1 – Establish a realistic distance. Having established where I want to go or what I want to see, I then consider how far I can realistically travel in a day (or the time I have available). Using the ready reckoner above I select which bike I’m intending to use, or more importantly what the terrain is likely to be and generally how long I want to ride each day to give me a daily travel distance. I use this as a guide for each of the days of my trip remembering to subtract time at the beginning or end if I’m planning on catching a train or driving to and from my start / end point. Because I revisit these steps a number of times before I settle on my final route, I find 50 miles per day is a great place to start.

Step 2 – Establish a number of points of interest on your route. I’ll need at least a fixed start or end point to begin with and I’ll probably have a number of places to go or things to see on the way already in mind. I mark these on the map keeping in mind my overall daily distance and looking for a place to either start from or a place to stay overnight if I haven’t fixed these from the outset. I find the “directions” function on Google Maps really handy for establishing rough distances at this stage.

Step 3 – Get the route down on paper (or digitally). When I’m comfortable with the points of interest, the start and finish points and my distance is generally in line with my expectations, I’ll get the route plotted on a digital route making platform. I regularly use online services such as Ordnance Survey maps https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/ and Map my Ride https://www.mapmyride.com/ to help me establish a detailed route. Not only does this allow me to plot my actual route and see the overall mileage, it also provides me with an elevation or ascent profile. The more jagged the elevation profile, the more I know I’m in for a tough day! This is the point at which I’ll lower my overall mileage to make allowance for the ascent and sticking within my allotted riding time. These online mapping platforms allow me to download a .gpx file which I can then upload to my GPS (and phone for back-up).


Step 4 – Tweak the route. Nine times out of ten after creating a digital route I find I need to tweak a few aspects. It may be that the route is particularly twisty and the overall mileage has increased significantly or the elevation profile is so jagged that I want to try and flatten it out by going around some of the hills or shorten the route. I have no hesitation in going back through some of the steps above a number of times to alter the route to make it more doable on the day.



Itinerary. I like to carry a paper or electronic copy of my itinerary with me when I travel. It will include details of where I’m staying for each night, the rough route I’m taking, distances and approximate times. I also leave a copy of my route with a friend or partner safe in the comfort that they have a rough idea where I am at any time during my adventure. I'll have the whole route programmed into my GPS and use this for navigation and I also carry the route on my mobile phone. I also find it handy to pre-programme my accommodation telephone numbers into my phone for easy access.


Established cycle routes. Established or dedicated long distance cycle routes such as cycling Lands End to John O’Groats or the Way of the Roses, fall into a different category. They are established routes and all you really need to do is pick a time of year, book accommodation, pack a bag and go. Whilst I love these kinds of routes I prefer making my own. And much of what I have explained here, whilst it still applies to established routes, is more relevant when making a unique route. The same perhaps applies for following someone else’s route. The distance, accommodation or eating arrangements may well suit that person but maybe you’re looking for something different. By making it your own, it becomes your adventure and you’re very much in control of your own fun.

3. Book accommodation

Finding accommodation is pretty easy and with such a vast amount of places to stay, I never really have an issue finding something suitable.


Typically I’ll use:

  • Wild camp spots (Legal in Scotland and parts of Dartmoor only)

  • Campsites

  • Bothies (Originally a Scottish camping barn but UK wide now)

  • Youth Hostels (YHA) https://www.yha.org.uk/. Although membership is not needed in order to stay at their hostels, you do get a discount on accommodation and your membership fee goes into supporting this amazing network of facilities.

  • B&B’s

  • Hotels

Distance and budget are all influences on my choice of accommodation. Two or three nights wild camping is perfectly doable but there comes a point when you really need a decent shower or to sort out your washing. I tend therefore to mix up the accommodation with perhaps a few days camping then a B&B and a pub meal. It’s also nice to sometimes treat myself to either of these for the last night of a long trip! It’s easy to find and book accommodation on the internet, although I still like to try and book in person if at all possible, especially if you want to find out if they have secure storage for a muddy bike. I organised a Brighton to London charity cycle ride in 2014 for a large group, and I rang to book the Brighton Premier Inn for our overnight stay before we set off. They happily accommodated us and all of our 25 bikes without question! Communication is key and a friendly note or request via a personal email or telephone call goes a long way. For longer, wild camping trips where the luxury of a shower has been absent for a few days, why not try a spot of wild swimming? If that’s not your thing then how about stopping at a leisure centre and using their facilities for a small charge.

Check in with your accommodation on the morning of your planned arrival

Unless your wild camping, I find it a good idea to give my planned overnight destination a quick courtesy call to advise them of my approximate time of arrival. It’s not uncommon for people to book accommodation and fail to turn up. The last thing I want is for a campsite to close its check in if I’m running late on the presumption that I’m one of those people who have failed to turn up. I find this particularly important if I haven’t had the opportunity to book in person and it’s only been an automated web-booking system. It’s also comforting to know that someone is looking out for you when you finally arrive bedraggled and tired after a long day in the saddle. Many years ago, my wife and I enjoyed a two day walk in the Lake District. On the second day we got absolutely drenched and arrived late at our camp site. I’d called the owners to advise of our slightly delayed arrival time and when we finally reached our campsite we were greeted with warm towels and a piping hot cup of tea!

Travel arrangements

Whilst I’m securing my accommodation, I’ll also check my travel arrangements at the same time. If I’m driving to a start point, I’ll want to make sure I can park my car securely and if I’m travelling by train I’ll check the train operators cycle policy. Many train operators require you to book your bike on the day to avoid too many bikes on any one train. There may also be a supplementary fee to pay.

Wild Camping

Wild camping is illegal anywhere other than Scotland and parts of Dartmoor. If you do wish to camp somewhere other than a public campsite then always seek the landowner’s permission before hand if you want to stay the right side of the law. That said, there are a plenty of guidelines on how to wild camp anywhere if you choose. Being discrete and respectful, setting up after dusk and departing at dawn and leaving no trace have always put me in good stead whenever I've wild camped.

4. Plan a menu

If your goal is to be well off the beaten track, perhaps wild camping, then carrying your own stove, water and food is the best option. Conversely if you’re planning more of a lightweight trip, or an adventure that will take you through pretty villages or bustling towns, then utilising food stops on the way will be more practical.


Evening meals Obviously if I’m staying in a hostel, B&B, or hotel etc. then I’ll take advantage of whatever they’re offering on the menu. Camping is slightly more involved but again not too much of a challenge. An easy and cheap option is to cook up some pasta/rice/noodles and combine with a sauce, veg or meat. If you're happy to spend a bit more money and feel space and weight isn’t an issue then the 'boil in the bag' type foods such as Wayfayrer meals https://www.wayfayrer.co.uk/, are delicious, pre-cooked food. They simply require heating in their sealed pouch in boiling water for a few minutes or at a pinch they’re even safe to be eaten cold. They weigh more compared to dehydrated meals as they already contain the necessary liquid, so if you’re looking for something lighter, particularly if you’re carrying food for 3 or 4 days then I’ve found Adventure Food https://adventurefood.com/en/ to be a great alternate. Just remember to have enough fresh water to boil your meal at the end of the day.

Personally, I prefer the simplicity of a boil in the bag meal as it reduces water consumption, has no washing up and I use the water and pot that I’ve boiled the pouch in for a cup of tea or coffee afterwards.

Lunch This is an easy meal and can either be a packed lunch or purchased en-route, (first ensuring I planned the route through a town or village…) More often than not, lunch consists of whatever I can find on the way. Which could be this...

Or better still, this...

Breakfast Again, not a problem if you are staying in a B&B or hostel. If I’m wild camping then I’ll get up with the sunrise, pack up my kit and cook up or buy breakfast away from my camping area some time later. If I’m on a campsite then I prefer something simple. Museli with powdered milk and perhaps a cup of tea or coffee will still allow me to get on my way quickly without worrying about cleaning my pots and pans or waiting for my stove to cool down. Or similarly, I'll eat something small like a trail bar then stop for a decent breakfast where there’s a bit more civilisation a little later. Wayfayrer and Adventure Foods both have a number of meals in their breakfast range.

Water I always carry 2 x one litre bottles of water on my bike. It’s important to stay hydrated so I’ll probably drink this throughout the day. If I’m at a campsite for the evening then there’s normally a ready supply of water for cooking, washing up and refilling for the next days journey. I need to be more careful when wild camping however, so I might take slightly more water or refill my bottles for a second time on the same day.

There’s a really handy UK wide free water filling service that’s been set up over the last few years. Download the app and it will show you the nearest place to refill your water bottle for free! https://www.refill.org.uk/


Food quantity I’m not a nutritionist and would feel well out of my depth giving any scientific advice here. And there’s heaps of information readily available on the internet regarding what and how to eat when you’re exercising. However for completeness I’ll add a few pointers which hopefully will assist.

  • I typically burn twice as many calories in a day cycling than a normal (inactive) day, therefore I need to consume more to keep my energy levels up.

  • I always build up my carbohydrate reserves a day or so before I set off on my adventure.

  • I find it better to graze throughout the day in between meals to keep energy levels up rather than overeating breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Trail mix – nuts, dried fruit, seeds etc. is a great grazing food. I sometimes add chocolate chips and jelly babies for a treat.

  • I regularly use products from the Science in Sport (SIS) range https://www.scienceinsport.com/ to help me top up my energy levels without having to consume more meals.


Stoves and eating equipment. In terms of stoves, there are so many types and brands on the market that suggesting one becomes very much opinionated. Therefore, I’ll simply offer a few pointers and guidelines:

  • Any small stove is better than not having one at all.

  • In the real world I’ve found that there is no difference to the time you eat when heating food via a Trangia taking ten minutes to boil a litre of water verses a Jetboil taking three minutes. It’s more about when I start to cook my food relative to what I’m doing at the time.

  • I ensure I have a stove which has a fuel source readily available in the country I am travelling. (Be aware of the restrictions on stoves and fuel canisters when flying.)

  • A windshield and a lid help preserve fuel and speed up cooking.

  • Remember to pack something to light the stove with!

  • In terms of cutlery / crockery, I tend to only carry a spoon, a mug and a single small pot.

5. Kit and Equipment

It goes without saying that you'll need a certain level of equipment in order to go on a cycle adventure – a bike being the obvious one.

However after reading this blog, please don’t rush out and spend thousands of pounds on all the latest equipment thinking it’s going to facilitate an epic adventure. In fact it probably won’t. Borrow equipment or use what you already have first and see how you get on. When you know what you like then buy something that suits your personal taste. It’s far more important to physically have an item rather than have all the best brands / colours / functions / lightest weight etc. You can have just as good an adventure on a well maintained budget bike as you can on one costing five times as much. With that in mind, this list is pretty much what you’ll need but kept in very generic terms.

  • A bicycle. In good working order and suitable for the terrain

  • Kit bag. A rucksack would work for a short trip staying at a Youth Hostel, B&B or hotel. Anything longer and you'll probably want to get the weight of your kit onto your bike.

  • Cycling clothes. Something to cycle in, different from your spare clothes: Helmet, shoes, socks, underwear, t-shirt, shorts, fleece or jumper and a waterproof / showerproof jacket. I also take cycling gloves, cycling glasses and padded cycling shorts. Avoid anything that may chafe or restrict your movement.

  • Spare clothes. A second set of clothes that you can wear in the evening or if your cycling clothes get wet or damaged. Depending on the length of trip I may take a spare pair of shoes or flip-flops.

  • Wash kit and towel. Toothbrush and toothpaste as a minimum, hand sanitiser gel is handy. I always take a small pack-towel. The rest is up to you.

  • First aid or medication items. A handful of plasters and some painkillers are helpful. Also consider other items such as insect repellent or tweezers. Take suncream as well, as arms, knees and the back of your neck all get maximum exposure when sitting on a bike for long periods.

  • Food. Snacks as a minimum, more if you’re not planning on buying on the way.

  • Water. At least a couple of litres of water in some kind of bike mounted water bottles should be considered a minimum. Water bladders are great but are a little less practical, particularly when you’re asking a pub landlord to fill up your water bottle.

  • Mobile phone. Obvious uses but can also be used to hold a digital copy of your route.

  • Paper map and / or GPS. With the route clearly marked or downloaded electronically. You may choose to carry a paper map and use your phone to navigate. Just watch for battery life.

  • Portable power bank / battery, charger and cables. For charging your electronic devices on the move and at the end of the day.

  • Bike lock and bike lights. Failing to secure your bike could bring the trip to an abrupt end! And always take lights just in case you end up riding after dark.

  • Bike tools and spares. A basic set of tools to maintain the bike, spare inner tube, puncture repair kit, chain lubrication, cable ties etc. I also find it really handy to carry a Leatherman / Swiss Army type multitool and a disposable glove.



In addition to this, you'll also need the following items if you're camping.

  • Cycle bags (and cycle rack). Dedicated bike bags such as panniers or bike-packing bags are better for larger / heavier loads. Your local bike shop will be able to advise what rack will fit your bike. The internet provides a great source of knowledge and opinion on the pros and cons of all types of bike bags. My advice would be to minimise the amount of kit you carry in the first place then look to balance the load across a number of bags at the front and back of the bike to maintain safe handling.

  • Tent or shelter. Travelling with at least one other person is great when it comes to tents. Generally, a two person tent split between two people is lighter than a one person tent carried individually. Again, the internet is great for thoughts and opinions. You don’t have to spend much here at all. I used a £40 one-person tent for a 5 day cycle tour in early Spring, sleeping in campsites, and it was perfectly adequate.

  • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat. It’s necessary to take a sleeping bag and inflatable mattress /sleeping mat if you want any degree of comfort when camping. Also consider a pillow. The time of year will influence your sleeping bag's “season rating” – summer being the lightest / thinnest bags, winter being the thickest. Down filling is great as it packs down small and it’s warmth to weight ratio is superior to synthetic fillings. However, it’s more expensive and doesn’t perform well if it gets wet.

  • Cooking and eating equipment. A stove, fuel, a pot and a spoon is really all you need. Check your food / cooking requirements against the equipment you’re taking. Don't forget some thing to light your stove with.

  • Food. If you’re planning to cook your own breakfast and an evening meal then don’t forget to pack these as well. There’s more detailed information in the “Eating” section of this blog.

  • Collapsible seat / sit mat. It's only when you start cooking or want to relax that you realise a noticeable lack of seating on campsites. I take a small collapsible seat on practically every adventure, whether that’s cycling, walking or canoeing. Highly recommended.

  • Head torch. Great for camping and far easier than trying to use your bike lights.

These are a couple of other items I carry if I’m a little more off the beaten track:

  • Wet wipes / baby wipes. Excellent for a quick freshen up if you’re nowhere near a shower for a few days.

  • Rubbish bag. Something to contain my rubbish until I can dispose of it safely.

Top tip! Put all your kit into plastic (waterproof) bags to avoid your equipment getting wet if it rains.



Where should I spend my money to give me the biggest value? For me versatility is the key. An item that can double up to do more than one task removes the need to carry two separate items. Also, I’ll consider how to reduce bulky heavy items and spend money here first – items such as a good quality sleeping bag and sleeping mat or even replacing a standard towel with a microfibre version brings huge benefit. Your bike. If you don’t maintain your bike yourself then perhaps take it for a service at your local bike shop. A functioning bike with good brakes and gears that work well, doesn’t cost much and makes a huge difference to your adventure. Equally I would thoroughly recommend getting a good quality saddle that fits. There’s plenty of great advice on the internet on types of saddles and saddle sizing. You could consider upgrading your tyres if they’re looking a little worn and fitting puncture proof innertubes save time and frustration from annoying punctures. A helmet is a must for obvious reasons but padded cycle shorts and gloves can avoid sores and blisters if your prone to them. A pair of glasses can avoid the all too frequent “fly in the eye” and definitely bring a pump and a puncture repair kit along with the basic tools needed to adjust components on the way. Finally a good lock, lights, water bottle and cage. ...if you're camping then this is where I would also spend my money.

Sleeping bag and sleeping mat. A good night’s sleep gives you the energy to get back into the saddle the next day. Spend your money on a good quality sleeping bag and inflatable mattress. As these items are being improved on year after year, search for the latest internet reviews on these items to see what the best products are that suit your budget. Insulation from the ground is important so again spend money on an inflatable mattress. Not only will it keep you warm, it will cushion you from the hard and invariably lumpy camping ground. Buying wisely on these two items alone can double your comfort and halve the physical space taken up in your bike bags.

The sleeping bag and inflatable mattress on the right are significantly smaller, lighter, warmer and more comfortable than the larger items on the left.

Food is covered in the previous section but if you don’t have, or can’t get access to a stove, why not consider self-heating meals. They’re delicious, pre-cooked food that rely on a chemical reaction sachet in a heating pouch to heat them up without the use of a cooker or any of the associated cleaning up afterwards. I frequently use these for overnight mini adventures. Consider replacing your standard towel with a microfibre version. You can pick one up in most good camping stores for a few pounds, significantly reducing the size and weight of a traditional towel.

A thought on clothing

Wearing a set of lycra cycle clothing on a bike is comfortable and functional, after all that’s what it’s been designed for. I certainly wear my fair share of it when I’m out on a Sunday ride on the road bike. However when I’m cycle touring, I go for a more casual look. I still wear my padded cycle shorts but perhaps a pair of walking shorts over the top and a short sleeve shirt over a wool t-shirt. Wool is great as it doesn’t retain body odour and can still look like an item of casual clothing. Muted colours work well as they tend to hide the trail dust (or mud!) and I carry a cap which I can quickly put on covering my “hat hair”. This is a good idea if I decide to stop in a public place, perhaps for a pub lunch, and is better than sitting in pongy lycra accentuating parts of my anatomy!

6. Double check the itinerary

A couple of days before hand I’ll double check my adventure itinerary. This will include telephoning or an email to all my pre-booked locations to ensure they are still expecting me when planned. Bookings can get lost, a location has closed down or a train / bus timetable changed. Checking your itinerary a few days before hand gives you the time to re-arrange your plans to suit and still have a great adventure.

A few final tips

  • Please don’t spend a huge amount of money on kit and equipment if this is your first adventure. Borrow what you need and see what works best for you first. When it is time to buy something then go for the item that gives you the most overall value.

  • Go out for a few longer rides on your bike before your main trip to get used to being in the saddle for greater periods of time.

  • Learn how to fix a puncture and carry out basic bicycle maintenance before you go. Learning how to fix a damaged part in the pouring rain next to a busy road is not fun! YouTube has a huge amount of really useful “How to” videos on this kind of stuff.

  • Check over your bike before you set off each day. Check tyre pressures and lubricate your chain as a minimum.

  • Take advantage of the small moments whilst you're on the go, perhaps dry your tent whilst your having lunch or strap a portable solar charger to your bike bags to charge your batteries whilst you’re riding.

  • If there’s more than one of you on your trip, think about sharing equipment where possible and avoid duplication.

So that’s it really, if you follow the advice here you’re sure to have a great adventure. If you're less confident about making your own route then following a well documented long distance trail is a great start. Don’t get hung up on the details of which stove is best or whether a bridleway is better to cycle down than a National Trail, just get out and enjoy the adventure and learn from the experience.

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