For an independent intrepid traveller, a cycling tour is one of the most exciting tasks. Exploring the world on two wheels and replacing the deluxe travel experience with tents and wilderness is a different kind of adrenaline rush in itself.
Long-distance cycle tours have become really popular among travellers who are looking for affordable yet challenging options. A lot of people do not associate with any cycling community and create their own personal goals.
Needless to say, an independent travel itinerary could be an extremely rewarding experience. Picking the appropriate destination and choosing the right route are some of the basics of cycling tours. However, in the excitement and haste, even the veterans might overlook certain important things.
Hacks to Get You on the Saddle Bravely
- Ride with Clipless MTB Pedals and Shoes
If you are undertaking a cycling tour in Asia, it is important to start your journey with the right gears and equipment. This would provide you comfort and ease irrespective of the terrain or climatic conditions you might encounter. In case you are using some new gear or equipment, make sure you have practiced cycling with them before you set out so that you can avoid embarrassing falls.
Clipless pedals (shoes attached) ensure better power, control, and grip on the bike. Mountain bike specific pedals provide durability and enable some movement in the pedal that would help cycling on the rough terrain. These clipless pedals should provide ample tread so that you can walk effortlessly even while you are off the bike.
- Tools and Spare Parts
Cycling tours might not always be as exciting as they sound. You have to be well equipped for some erratic conditions. A pump, tire levers, chain lube, two spare tubes, a couple of extra chain links and a multi-tool with a chain breaker are a few must-haves during your journey. While packing, always go by the age-old adage – less is more. Before you add anything to your bag, make sure you ask yourself if you will be able to install/replace that particular part if something goes wrong.
- Sun Protection Cooling Sleeves
Cycling in Asia is not a waltz. Most of your touring might be during the day-time and you can’t afford to rest as much just because of the fiery sun. Sun sleeves could come to your rescue and keep the sweat at bay. Besides this, they also lend a cooling effect to your arms which could prevent you from withering away in the heat. It also saves you the trouble of applying sunscreen multiple times a day (especially when you have to do it with sweat and dust stuck to your arms).
- Gilet or Windproof Vest
Some places like Borneo and Laos can experience tropical climate and heavy downpour. In such cases, waterproof jackets might not work in your favour as they get wet on the inside really fast due to sweating and heavy cycling. Gilets are made of water-resistant materials that keeps the heavy rain off your core but gives a cooling effect to your arms. They are easily packable and allow more breathing space as they are sleeveless.
- Helmet and Lights
It is very important to travel smart and safe while touring on your bike. Your safety gear should be in place to keep you prepared for unforeseen situations. Go for a helmet that has plenty of vents and a visor to sustain a head injury in the wilderness of Asia.
Even if you are not certain about whether you would be riding at night, make sure you have a strap-on LED for the back and a light for the front that provides some illumination besides being used just for visibility.
- Wear Over-Shorts
While a lot of cyclists might prefer wearing some clingy fabric or lycra, it might not be the most pleasant sight for some people. For instance, if you take a Bhutan cycling tour, you might come across some remote villages where the conservative people would not appreciate such sights. You might also miss the chance of visiting some beautiful temples or Dzongs just because of your inappropriate attire. Thus, it is advisable to carry some light over-shorts so that you can have an ideal travel experience and not be an obnoxious spectacle for the passersby.
- Cotton Wool for the Arid Land
Thorns and punctures are inevitable while cycling through the scorched land in Asia. Even though changing tubes is not a herculean task for cyclists, it might be difficult to find that one thorn that interrupted your smooth journey. If you run a piece of cotton wool along the inside of the tire, you can easily pick and remove that invisible thorn.
- Ziplock Bags
These light-weight bags are the most suitable for keeping phone, wallet or camera and can easily be placed in your shorts or jersey pocket. Since they are re-sealable, they are waterproof and keep the dust and dirt out. Go for the ziplock bags if you are looking for a hassle-free cycling experience no matter what kind of weather you experience.
- Power-Bank and Navigation
Improved camera quality in the phones has reduced our travelling paraphernalia. We can access everything we need through one smartphone and also take pictures with the same device, while on tour. You could use Google Maps or an app like Strava to track your speeds. The only problem with the mobile devices is their short battery lives. Carrying a power-bank could help you overcome this problem while you’re away from a power source or situated in some remote location.
If the thought of exploring Asia on a bike, all by yourself, seems to kindle your adventure spirit, Offbeat Tracks would be delighted to make this experience an indelible one for you. You can get in touch with us for any more tips or information that could make your cycling tour trouble-free.