Eight things you should know before going on your next bike trai

Eight things you should know before going on your next bike trail

Sometimes all you need to break your hectic routine is a visit to the wilderness. While many prefer vacations with the family, another typical getaway for the young generation is a long-distance bike ride.

If you are a cycling fan, the journey may not be as problematic for you as it might be for someone new to this sport. Yes, there is no denying that bikes are cool, fuel-efficient, and thrilling; but potential risks can’t be ignored.
When preparing for your next bike ride, you must take particular precautions concerning your ride and your trip in general. Depending on the intended length of your tour, the amount of packing and the strategy you should employ will differ.

First, clearly outline what you intend to do on your journey, the length of your stay, the weather and terrain of your destination, and whether you want to go alone or with others. Then plan accordingly.
Remember to keep in mind the following things when you plan your next bike ride:

1. Be prepared for things to go downhill

Better safe than sorry, right? It is much better to anticipate trouble and prepare for it in advance than to be surprised by a difficulty you refused to consider.

Be fully equipped with the tools you need to encounter any unfortunate situation, like a tire puncture. If luck doesn’t go your way and your bike breaks down, you must have a way out. If you are alone, things can go downhill in no time.

It is best to learn how to change a bike tire before you set off. Keep a repair kit, pumps, and spare tubes with you at all times, and learn how to use them. Getting a practical demonstration from someone who knows the art before you leave is a good idea.

2. Know how to tackle the winds

On the one hand, strong winds from behind you can give you a wonderful, effortless, and thrilling experience. On the other, winds going against your direction of motion can be challenging. Use the right gears and maintain a solid grip to keep going at the desirable pace.
Also, to avoid letting the winds derail or imbalance you, you can move your front wheel slightly in the direction opposite to the windy side; so if the wind is moving in from the left, keep your front wheel slightly to the right.

3. Stock your backpack with energy-rich foods

Your bike journey is bound to drain you of energy, and you must have the right snacks to replenish the nutrients you lose. Dried fruits, nutrition gels, energy bars, and plenty of water must be on your list.
Nuts like almonds, pistachios, and chia seeds are loaded with energy, and despite having low carbs, their vitamin and protein content should keep your energy levels high. Similarly, dried fruits have reasonable amounts of carbs, sugar, and potassium to increase your endurance levels through the journey.

4. Don’t step out of your comfort zone

As daring as you might consider yourself, it is always best to keep within your comfort zone when going on a faraway trip, especially if you are alone. Don’t step into territory or terrain you aren’t comfortable riding on. Don’t opt for a bike that you haven’t ever tried before.
One primary consideration is whether the bike fits your size. Your feet should rest comfortably on the paddle, and the weight should be within your grip. Make sure you can quickly grasp the handlebars, and it is easy to mount or dismount from the bike.
Lastly, remember to familiarise yourself with the route you intend to take; you don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with no idea where to go.

5. Give your bike a thorough once over

Make sure your bike is in top-notch condition before you put it to the test; the mirrors should be operational, the lights should work, and the tire pressures should also be within an acceptable range. Also, inspect for any loose bolts or mechanical defects.
This inspection should be more thorough than your usual checks. It is a good idea to get your bicycle checked by a technician for tire wear, braking problems, and seat adjustments.

6. Look at the weather forecast

Harsh weather conditions are a hassle for bike riders because their bicycle is open to the elements of nature. Torrential rains, snow storms, blizzards, and even mild hail can be quite challenging if you are out on a trail.
Any weather condition that makes the road slippery and inappropriate for your bicycle is a significant problem. If, for instance, your bike has smooth tires and the place you are going has unseasonal snowfall, the icy stretch of road can pose a severe threat.
It is best to steer clear of places with expected challenging weather, but if you still wish to go, ensure your bike is equipped to cope.

7. Keep your eye on the terrain

As appealing as the surrounding view might be, stay focused on what’s ahead. As much as 20% of your balance depends on the nerves in your eyes and when you are looking ahead.
Looking here and there and off to the sides can make you dizzy because the view passes by at a nauseating speed, especially if you’re going downhill.

8. Watch your posture

Your posture significantly impacts your health when you are on a bicycle. The wrong posture can cause long-term soreness, stiffness, and pain. It is best to keep your arms bent at the elbows instead of keeping them locked. When you keep your arms unbent, vibration will travel up your arms, shoulders, and neck.
The resulting pain and soreness will make your journey uncomfortable and unpleasant. Your arms should be relaxed and bent whenever you cycle. Practice this posture not only when going on a bike trail.

Final words

Bike rides can be super exciting, especially with friends and in a place with stunning scenic beauty. However, as fun as bike trails may be, they can also be very dangerous if the proper preventive measures are not taken.
On your next bike trail, remember to be prepared for the worst, keep a stock of energy-rich foods, tackle the winds, stay within your comfort zone, and practice the best balance and posture. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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