If you’re preparing for a long-distance, multi-day bike tour like the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route or a month of pedaling through France, arming yourself with a well-rounded preparation plan can help you successfully achieve your goal.
A thorough program that includes four to eight months of training should also encompass a smart mental approach from the beginning. There are going to be tough days in the saddle, and an unending climb or a strong headwind can derail even the strongest mindset. But with a calm, focused mind, and a solid training plan focused on endurance, strength and flexibility, you can make your goals a reality.
Cardio Training for a Bike Tour
Physical preparation time can vary from person to person depending on your previous experience riding, your current fitness and strength levels and even your bike handling skills.
Setting a Training Schedule
As consistency is critical to your success, commit to the number of days you can train and stick with it. Indoor cycling classes, riding a stationary bike, or cross-training such as jogging, swimming or rowing can help during the week when you’re short on time, but you will need to build up to completing two longer rides on the weekend.
Sample Training Week
Sample training week
Long Training Rides
It’s essential that you spend time in the saddle with your packs loaded to get used to the physical demands and bike handling skills you’ll need for your trip. Also consider the types of terrain you’ll be riding; if there will be lots of hills on your tour, spend some quality time outside on your bike, with your packs loaded, climbing.
Building your mileage gradually can keep you motivated and successful. Depending on your current physical condition, aim for training rides that leave you challenged but not exhausted.
Increase your training volume gradually by adding no more than 5–10 miles every couple of weeks until you’ve reached your goal distance. Your goal for a single-day training ride should be the maximum distance you expect to ride in a day on your tour. Initially, ride without your packs; once you’ve met your distance goal, gradually increase your pack load.