If you ask me, cycling is an excellent way to explore new territory, and if I’m in a position to rent a bike while on vacation or while traveling, it is always my first choice when I want to wander around and get to know a new landscape. The adrenaline you feel when rushing downhill in the picturesque countryside or while racing through the crowds among the buildings of a big city stays with you long after the ride is over.
Many people take great pleasure in cycling in addition seeing it as a healthy exercise, which is why they take part in different sorts of races, whether they are recreational or competitive. Cycling also represents a certain degree of physical exertion, especially if you decide to take part in a more serious recreational race such as those organized for the Istria Granfondo. That is why it is crucial that you rest well and assess your physical fitness properly before the ride. Be honest with yourself, because like any other physical activity, bike rides can also have serious consequences for your health if you decide on a more demanding ride without being in shape for it.
… about what kind of terrain to expect, the weather forecast, and traffic conditions in the area that you will be passing through. That way you can successfully reduce the possibility of unpleasant surprises such as heavy rains, busy roads and terrains (especially in uphill areas) that your bike might not be a match for. Like any other outdoor activity, a rain jacket and sun cream can be invaluable, and should form an essential part of your cycling gear depending on what kind of race you’re taking part in, and how many things you’re carrying. If you and your family are preparing to take part in a bike tour, and have space in your panniers, my advice is definitely to include them in your inventory.
Dress and protect yourself appropriately
Besides the rain jacket and sun cream, the right choice of clothes can also help you handle any weather conditions you might face during the race. Keep in mind that you will be sweating profusely during the race, but this does not mean that you should not cover and protect certain parts of your body. Try to get the appropriate cycling clothing made of synthetic materials that dry quickly. If like me, you are not a professional, try at least to avoid cotton T-shirts, which, although they are made of natural materials, aren’t the best choice considering they get drenched with sweat quickly and don’t dry easily. Try to protect your hands from calluses and falls with cycling gloves. In addition, remember that a helmet keeps you safe and try to wear it whenever you’re cycling.
Bring enough liquids along…
Isotonic beverages with lots of electrolytes are the best choice because they allow you to restore the minerals you lose while sweating. It also wouldn’t hurt to bring an energy bar or a piece of fruit along, since you are definitely going to need extra energy for this kind of a venture. Although I would not recommend eating anything hard to digest less than two hours before the ride, you shouldn’t be taking off on a race hungry.
… and make sure to check your gear before you go!
There’s no cycling without a functional bicycle. Regardless of what kind of bicycle you have and how often you use it, even the highest quality bicycle in the world won’t get you very far if your tires are not properly inflated, your chain properly lubed, or if your brakes are not working. I know from personal experience that this basic check does not take more than 15 seconds and it can save you a lot of grief. If you are preparing for a longer ride and are in a position to take a basic puncture repair kit with you, a patch or an extra inner tube might come in very handy.