For you, riding a bike is not just a fun way to spend a Colorado afternoon. It’s many things: great exercise, a better alternative to using a car, even part of your lifestyle. For some time now, you’ve been thinking about stepping up to a major biking expedition.
But are you ready for the challenge? This isn’t just a question of spending more time on the bike. You need to make sure your body, mind, and gear are ready for the long ride. You also have to be careful about traffic. To start, focus on some training.
Training Your Body & Mind
When you prepare for a major biking expedition in Colorado or elsewhere, there are two areas you need to focus on: endurance and muscle strength. You’ll need to work on this for months beforehand.
To build up your endurance, you need cardio training. That means riding long runs on your bike as well as cross-training with jogging, swimming, or rowing. The key is to get your heart pumping so your body gets better at taking in oxygen and using energy efficiently.
You will also need to build your muscle strength. Riding your bike is a great way to improve leg strength, but you also have to work on the muscles in your arms and core. Squats, rowing, and planks are all great exercises for this.
Just remember that you will probably be riding with some gear or even a backpack. As the Adventure Cycling Association explains, you should train by riding with the same weight as you’ll have on your biking expedition. This way, your body and mind will be ready to carry that weight.
Gear To Help Stay Safe
As you train to increase your endurance and muscle strength, you’ll also need to check out your gear and bike. After all, you’re not taking a stroll in a Denver mall.
REI.com has a great page listing essential gear for your Colorado biking expedition, including:
- A bike helmet that fits properly.
- Water (in a bottle that fits a cage) and snacks to keep up your physical health.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses, even if the day is overcast.
- A patch kit, pump, and spare tubes.
- A multi-tool with Allen wrenches and a tire lever.
When it comes to your bike, make sure you get it tuned and checked before your expedition. This includes checking that your tires are pumped, brakes work properly, and the chain is well-lubed. Some of this you can do yourself, but consider taking your bike to a reputable shop, especially if you haven’t done so in a while.
Pitfalls & Dangers To Avoid
Getting ready for a major biking expedition means more than training and gear. Unless your route will only be in nature, You also have to worry about drivers.
Last year, deaths resulting from car accidents in Colorado jumped nearly 11 percent from 2015, making it the deadliest year on Colorado roads since 2005. Some 605 people were killed, including pedestrians and bicyclists. One reason for this increase is driving while intoxicated, either from alcohol or marijuana. Make sure you signal clearly while on the road and keep an eye out for cars.
Go Enjoy Your Ride Safely
Moving from casual riding to a major bike expedition is a great step to take, but you need to be careful about it. Months ahead of time, start with cardio and strength training. Make sure your bike is in a good condition, and be careful on the roads when cars are around. This way, you can make sure you can keep taking these rides for a long time to come.
Written By: Travis White