Planning a mini-bike tour is a little like planning dinner – you want it to be great, but you also don’t want to stress out and worry too much about it. Often times, like a good meal, you can pull something together in a fairly short amount of time, with little effort. And like anything, with practice comes perfection, or darn near close. We’re sharing a few things that we’ve learned from our own experiences as well as from others getting after it.
Go Light: But Not Too Light
In our opinion, going light is good. Going so light that you are cold and starving is not so good. Seriously, do you want to eat energy bars for three days—breakfast, lunch and dinner—because you don’t want to bring a camp stove? If that’s your bag, then go for it, but consider bringing real food, real camp gear and real clothes. My weakness – UGG Boots. They’re lightweight and ultra-warm and perfect for dry, cold high desert nights in the backcountry when I’m sitting around camp.
Speaking of Food
Appetizers! Buy some and take them with you so when you get to camp or wherever you are laying your head to rest for the night, you’ve got a quick snack as soon as you stop. It also gives you a little sense of closure on the day. Our favorite appies include Sabritas Sal y Limon peanuts for the salt-lover (found at Mexican markets), peanut butter filled pretzels for the sweet AND salt lover (a.k.a. crack-in-a-bag) or beef jerky for the protein junky.
So you have the most kick-ass route planned, but maybe you get out there an realize that: a) this is harder than I thought b) the weather forecast said “chance of showers”, not “deluge” or c) I’m just feeling a little more lazy than I hoped to feel. Create your route so you have Plan A and Plan B. If you don’t make Plan A to that sweet camp spot next to the free hot springs and taco stand, then maybe settle for Plan B, that sweet camp spot next to the little creek that you’ve always wanted to check out.
Take Your Kid(s)
No, really. What better thing to do with your kids than take them on an easy, close to home, mini-adventure on bikes? It can be done, you’ll just need to plan a little more and probably pack a little (or a lot) more. Maybe you don’t camp, but you stay in a cabin, B&B or even stay at your brother’s house in the next town over. The point is, bike touring with your kids can create lasting memories and inspire more adventures.
Take Your Dog
Don’t have the human variety of kids, but instead have the fur baby? We’re dog lovers, so we think life is pretty awesome with a dog. And our dog wants NOTHING more than to run around in the woods looking for sticks or swimming in a lake. There are several good blogs about bike touring with your pup, but our favorite is Long Haul Trekkers. Check them out!
Do you have any amazing or quirky tips for bike touring? We’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below to share!
Some old friends, both from Hahvahd, had a delightful snack practice. The took a bottle of Glenlivet transferred into Nalgene, plus a tin of smoked oysters per day. Then when they arrived at the campsite, they put everything down and shared a tin of smoked oysters and a shot of Glenlivet. Then they set up camp and started dinner. It took all the days aches away and brought just the right amount of civilization to the task.
Nice tips! I am going to Italy in a couple of weeks and I’d love to go on a cycling tour there. I will not be able to bring a dog but I will make sure I have enough appetizers with me. Thanks for the advice!
A ride to pick strawberries or hike up to a summit somehow makes the route more memorable and provides a hook to hang the rest of the itinerary on.