Our top tips for a winter cycling holiday
Let’s face it, for all but the most fanatical of cyclists winter is not the most appealing time of the year. A winter or spring getaway for a cycling holiday is a great way to work off an over indulgent Christmas break or simply a way to get a head start on your training for the 2016 season. Even if you’ve not already got your next trip planned, our helpful guide will have you dreaming of a holiday in the saddle.
No matter where you’re planning on going, you’re going to need to transport your bike, and taking care of your pride and joy is going to be top priority. The easiest way to protect your bike is by using a bike box and at Sigma Sports we have a wide range available to suit your needs.
- When boxing your bike, don’t forget to mark the saddle height before removing the saddle. Electrical tape is great for this!
- Use foam pipe insulation cut to size to wrap around your frame tubes to further protect them
- If using a bike box or bag – consider keeping your cycling shoes and pedals in your hand luggage – if the worst does happen and your bike is lost in transport at least you’ll be able to clip into a hire bike and your holiday won’t be completely ruined
When rebuilding your bike, you will need to make sure you have got the right tools for the job. At a minimum make sure you have got a bike multi-tool at the ready. While we are on the subject of saddle bag equipment – make sure you’ve got spare inner tubes that are the correct size. There’s nothing worse than being stuck by the side of the roadside. If you need any help with making sure you’ve got the right inner tubes why not send us a message on Twitter @SigmaSport or give us a ring – 44 (0)20 8614 9777.
Saddle Bag Essentials:
If you are planning to ride alone or in a small group unaided, it’s a good idea to share your ride with family and friends so they’re aware that you’re safe while riding. Our range of bike computers includes the Garmin Edge 520 - great for sharing your location on Garmin Connect, it also includes live Strava segments.
If cycling abroad, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of the customs and laws of the road in the country you’re cycling in. A good tip for riding in the French Pyrenees or Alps is to take front and rear lights. This may sound odd, especially if you are looking for a summer or spring getaway, however French road law requires cyclists to have lights equipped for tunnels and the gendarme often lurk at the end of tunnels to catch unsuspecting cyclists out.
A common concern when on a cycling holiday is keeping your cycling kit clean and fresh. If your ride organisers have a support vehicle you could pack spare kit to alternate between days. With any luck the organisers will have arranged to stay at a hotel with washing facilities – if not, your best bet may be to wash your kit in the evening in your hotel bathroom. Make sure kit can air-dry over night; nobody likes a damp set of bib shorts before the ride has even begun!
- Remember to pack a netted wash bag – limiting the chance of losing your favourite jersey to the launderette
Stay hydrated and make sure you keep your body topped up with nutrients. If it is cold your body will burn carbohydrates at an alarming rate, especially if you have a day of climbing lined up. Using specifically formulated nutrition ensures your digestive system processes and absorbs the carbohydrates in a fast and efficient manner for rapid delivery to your key muscles.
If it is especially hot or you are putting in a particularly difficult day in the saddle look to utilise electrolyte replacement supplements like SaltStick capsules. These tiny tablets closely resemble the makeup of key electrolytes lost in exercise including sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Replenishing these nutrients helps to reduce the threat of the infamous bonk and their small size makes them perfect for storing in a jersey pocket.
The final recommendation is to make sure you have a great time! It’s not every day you get to cycle all day long so here’s to a great 2016 in the saddle – keep Sigma Sports in the loop by tagging your photos with #RideLots.