You’ve decided to cycle across Europe, but are you ready and prepared?
The cold winter air blowing only serves as a reminder that the seasons turn, flowers bloom and roads give way to cycling tourists. The Spring and Summer months come quickly, but are you ready to ride?
By now, the holiday treats are well digested and the New Year’s resolutions well established. It is time to test yourself, asking if you are ready to ride a cycling tour.
Join a Verde Natura tour and indulge in Emilia Romagna’s famous pastas and hams or in Tuscany’s culture, history and Chianti. You’ll just need to bring a decent level of fitness that you established to carry you through.
Am I ready?
If you are here and reading this article then you have already made the first and perhaps the most important step. The mental leap; the understanding that you will conquer something new and roads never ridden. You have already become comfortable with the idea, you’ve planted the seed in your mind. Now nurture it.
What should I expect?
The ‘Foodies Tour‘ through Emilia Romagna covers 35 to 45 miles a day, not much, but something to be considered seriously when repeated daily throughout the week.
The Emilia Romagna tour weaves from Parma to Modena and on to Bologna, touching the fertile grounds that produce many of Italy’s famous products. Here they age Italy’s famous Parmesan cheese, Prosciutto ham and Balsamic Vinegar. The pastries and pastas at the lunch stops and dinners will quickly help you forget about the miles.
How should I comfortably prepare?
As discussed in a previous article, consider a plan three months out from the event. Ease into it, try your gear and your legs with short 10 to 15-mile rides. These rides, not pushing too hard, will allow you to build time ‘in the saddle’ and confidence.
The journey to the Spring and Summer tours is almost, or can be even more, as memorable as the event itself. You have an opportunity to encourage friends to dust off their bikes or find those already riding so you can train together. It’s two-fold, socializing and building miles. With company, you cover 25 to 30 miles as if you were soloing a 10-mile ride.
How will I know I’m Ready?
Your physical ability will rise to meet your desire that first had you searching on the internet and signing up for a Verde Natura Active Tour. You will return home less fatigued, your bathroom scale will show smaller number and you will look forward to the next rides.
Should I include climbs in my training?
This is an opportunity to explore your local surroundings while preparing to embark to the old world’s roads that used to support horses and carts. Climbs will mark the tours in Tuscany. They rise quickly, but reveal hilltop towns and breathtaking views of the valleys below. So be ready.
How to prepare for the climbs?
Ride to or drive to an area that undulates. Program a loop that includes a few climbs, maybe one of two to five miles. Going uphill works different leg muscles and the pulling and pushing on the handlebars, strengthens your arms and back. It is a wake up call to those muscle groups so that when you face the tour’s climbs, the muscle’s memory will quickly recall its task.
Is it all about building base miles?
No, much of the time on a tour will be spent with your legs down or up. You’ll stop and take out your camera to capture a view, to refill your bottle from a fountain under a centuries’ old church, or dig into a plate of tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce washed down with the local red wine.
Does training really include sitting still?
Yes. Basically, enjoy the journey. When you are out with your friends on your training ride you can stop to have lunch and talk about the upcoming tour. Give your muscles a chance to relax and restart fresh. Learn what it feels like to be a cyclist, covering unchartered territories and savoring the moments.
How serious should I be?
As the time nears, consider riding 50 miles, maybe a locally organized half-century. By now, you should be comfortable with your gear and understanding what you will need to pack when you depart for the tour. Keep that gear in a separate space at home so as you become comfortable with your abilities you become comfortable with the tools needed. This will ensure you are not awake late the night beforehand wondering what to bring.
Is that it?
Yes. The questions you had at the beginning of your planning should have naturally answered themselves by the date of your departure. You will fly with confidence ready to discover new friends and lands via a well-organized cycling tour.
Have you got any more question on preparing for a European cycling tour?
Article by Gregor Brown | ItalyTravelandMore.com