Packing List & Trip Preparations
Question: In lieu of the COVID-19 epidemic, what steps will you perform to protect me on my tour?
Answer: In addition to our standard health guidlines, we offer each guest a small personal travel kit containing tissues, hand sanitizer, wipes, latex gloves, sunscreen and chamois butter. All served foods are individual serving packs and disposable items. Dining options will include social distancing according to local suggestions – this may include separate dining options or group gatherings. Our interior van surfaces will be sanitized daily as will rental bikes, helmets, all luggage and objects touched by multiple invididuals. Riding will be with distancing and suggested only with those people with whom you live.
Most importantly, if it is not safe to travel to an area, we will postpone or make other options available.
Question: What type of clothing and other items should I pack for my tour?
Answer: Your clothing choices will be determined by (1) our tour destination, (2) your needs for personal comfort, and (3) our space limitations. Don’t over pack. Most everything can be carried in a medium size duffle. Our trips are your casual vacation. Our support van is available to transport your clothing and personal belongings. On certain days, we may be without access to the van, therefore be ready to carry your daypack with clothing and other personal articles.
Water is vital, and your daypack or backpack should be large enough to accommodate 2 water bottles. Other options are a fanny pack water bottle carrier or a camelback style pack.
- Your Bike or our Rental Bicycle
- Your Pedals
- Your Saddle
- Your Helmet
- Bike Shorts (2-3)
- Jerseys (2-3)
- Cycling shoes
- Rain gear
- Leisure clothing, including comfortable shoes for evenings (informal, casual and comfortable is the rule – evenings can be cool to cold)
- Multi-purpose shoes and socks
- Short sleeve T-shirts
- Long sleeve T-shirts (evenings and cool mornings, even for Southwest programs)
- Gloves, long and short
- Fleece or sweater
- Jacket (e.g., fleece), sweater or sweatshirt (for warmth)
- Leg tights, warm-up pants
- Hat or other head covering (for sun protection)
- (2) Water bottles
- Tevas, aqua socks or old sneakers (for those programs where we will be wading through water, rafting, canoeing, etc.)
PERSONAL ARTICLES/OTHER GEAR
- Cell phone and charger
- Water container carrier (your bike bottles will work fine)
- Sun glasses
- Sunscreen (spf 15 or greater) and lip protection
- Camera and binoculars
Question: How should I condition for my tour?
Answer: At Cycle of Life Adventures (COLA), we are not going to prescribe some rigorous regimen of physical conditioning in preparation for your upcoming bicycle tour. We want to offer a few suggestions to further increase your anticipation of your tour.
- Not every person may be “hooked” by the thrill of cycle touring. With the decision to ride with COLA, be aware you are accepting the fact you and your bicycle are going to do some climbing. It is best to prepare yourself for the type of cycling you will be doing on your tour.
- For those of you who have cycled in the Northeast (Vermont, for example) or in upstate New York, in the Middle Atlantic regions of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland or in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina – you’ve experienced terrain more difficult than which you will encounter in the West.
- Western climbs are longer than those generally found elsewhere in the country and you will reach altitudes higher than those with which you may be familiar. The grades along most of our mountain passes rarely exceeds 6% but, occasionally could reach 8% in short stretches. Every tour has its share of hills to climb – climbs that will maintain your attention for extended periods of time on occasion.
- COLA believes the best means of preparing for any bicycle tour is to ride your bicycle. Then, ride some more. Running, swimming and any other form of aerobic exercise is helpful, but is not a substitute for spending time in the saddle.
- COLA’s daily mileages vary for each tour. Our average is between 40-70 miles/day on our moderate tours to 50-80 miles/day on our more difficult adventures.
- COLA suggests you progressively spend more time in the saddle, gradually increase the distance of your rides each week. Gear down as the terrain and wind dictate, to maintain a pace without tiring yourself. You’ll be amazed at the distance you can pleasurably cover and enjoy.
- Practice on hills, which are different than flatland cruising. If you have some hills that are reasonably accessible, go for them as often as possible. If not, ride what you have and we’ll give you some “on-the-ride” training when you arrive.
- We believe the most important preparation one can do for mountain cycling is psychological, rather than physical. We are not suggesting the ride does not involve physical effort. However, preparing yourself mentally for the experience is equally as important as the physical training.
- You are not in a race to the summit – you’re striving to achieve pride, not a prize. Your comfortable pace and enjoyment of your surroundings and the ride itself is paramount. Therefore, we suggest you gear down as far as is necessary to ensure your comfort. Whether it’s a 100-foot, 700-foot or a 5200-foot climb, the mindset is the same. We have nothing but time. Remember… this is your vacation!
- Eventually, you’ll develop your own technique for climbing. The more you do it, the less intimidating the climbs will appear. You’ll soon realize how readily you accept and even eagerly anticipate a climb to a mountain summit as the highlight of the day’s ride.
- You’ll find you may be affected to some degree by the altitude. You may feel winded earlier than you’re used to in your daily rides. Please, don’t worry excessively about it. You’ll find that although you may not adjust fully to the increased elevation, you will be pleasantly surprised at how rapidly you will feel comfortable in spite of the changes you experience. Drinking plenty of fluids (more than you’re accustomed to) is essential for overcoming any discomfort the altitude may cause you.
Suggested Training for a Multi-Week Tour
Need to plan and start training 3-4 months from the beginning of the trip
Four (4) Months Out
- Get fitted to the bike you are going to use from a local bike shop.
- If you haven’t ridden much, start by riding 2-3 times/week, with distances in the 20-30 mile range.
Three (3) Months Out
- Ride 2-3 days/week, with at least one ride in the 40-50 mile range. Vary the terrain and distances. The use of intervals helps in strength and stamina-building.
- Try to use saddle, shoes, and pedals you plan to use on trip.
Two (2) Months Out
- Increase riding days to 3-4 and mileage to at least one 50+ mile day. I like to begin hill repeats at this point.
One (1) Month Out
- Ride 4-5 days/week. Try to ride 3 days in a row. Average miles in the 40-50 mile range with one being 70 miles.
Two (2) Weeks Out
- Ride back-to-back 75 mile days.
- Get bike tuned up. Purchase new tires (get the widest possible for your rims and bike), chain and cassette. Check brakes and all cables.
One (1) Week Before
- Ride 60-70 miles on Sunday, take a day off on Monday, then take an easy ride for 25-30 miles on Tuesday.
- Pack up bike. Travel to starting location and have bike reassembled. Take an easy 15-20 mile ride to make sure bike fits properly and to loosen up legs.
- Seat time on the saddle you will be using is IMPORTANT!
- Spinning/indoor cycling classes are good, but they only last an hour. Get additional longer rides on your own bicycle.