Mike Brcic once said, “A bad day on the mountain bike always beats a good day in the office” – I’m pretty sure that if you’re reading this, no matter where you work, you agree. There’s something innately magical about cycling holidays.
The thrill of unbeaten paths, the ability to authentically explore different lands and the way in which a trip like this just bonds people and solidifies friendships. If you are feeling that it’s time to start planning your next (or your first) mountain bike holiday abroad, we have some great advice for you:
Don’t skimp on travel insurance: It’s crucial to ensure that you are properly covered for insurance on cycling holidays. We know these trips can get expensive, but this is not an area to save. Apart from the obvious things (such as medical care and trip cancellation repayments), two of the most important things to check for when doing your research on which plan is best is: whether they cover mountain biking and whether they cover air evacuation and hospital expenses in a foreign country.
Have an emergency contact: This is a two-fold tip. The first is that whenever you go on cycling holidays, it’s vital to have a list of emergency services of the country you are in (such as your embassy number). It’s also a good idea – especially if you are travelling alone – to give someone back home your entire itinerary, a copy of your passport and a contact number for you there (if you have one). It’s also a great idea to register with your government in case of an emergency.
Get in touch with a local bike shop: If you are unfamiliar with the destination you are travelling to, it’s a good idea to contact a local bike shop, (or at least have their contact details on-hand). They may be able to tell you the best routes for different skill levels, services they offer (in case the need arises) and they may have information on bike tours or groups if you want to go that route.
The kit is one of the most important parts of your trip but knowing exactly what to pack (and not overpack!) can be challenging. Here are five essentials to bring on your cycling holidays, whatever the weather:
Snacks. Always have a bit of food or some snacks handy when you are going on a trip. You never know when they’ll come in handy.
Riding shoes that you can walk in. It’s always a good idea to ensure you have the right pair of shoes for both. You never know when you might need to walk a route instead of riding it for whatever reason.
Spares. When you embark on cycling holidays, it’s crucial to pack some of the smaller basics (a puncture kit for example) and any small parts that are specific to your make of bike (if you bring your own, of course).
Duct tape and cable ties. Do not underestimate the power of these wonderful inventions. These can help you fix some problems on cycling holidays; from fixing broken bag zips to bike repairs.
Down jacket. This may seem counterintuitive if you are heading to a place known for its sunshine, but you never know how quickly the weather can turn in a foreign place, especially in the mountains. A down jacket can often get packed small and is a great addition to your mountain bike packing list.
When you go through all the effort, time and money to prepare for your cycling holidays, you want to get the most out of the experience. Which is why picking the right trails and routes to explore is crucial. Here are some ways to ensure that you do just this:
Do your research – sometimes the best thing to do is your research when planning your cycling holidays. Go online and see what you can find about the area and the routes. You may even find YouTube videos of the routes you want to try or find any articles on the best options/tours/bike shops and more.
Talk to the locals – we mentioned this earlier with regards to a bike shop, but it can be the difference between ‘okay’ cycling holidays and great ones, so we’re saying it again. Talk to local cyclists you see out and about, talk to the bike shops and ask your hotel for the best routes in the area to explore.
Take a map with you – there’s nothing like getting lost in a foreign country in the middle of nowhere and finding you have no signal for your Google Maps. Rather go old school and ensure that you take a hard copy of a map of the routes or the area with you on every trail.
If you would like to go on a trip where you are bound to find the most amazing trails, then we highly suggest you take a look at our free guide: The Ultimate Mountain Biking Bucket List.
Alternatively, you can contact us directly about booking your next cycling holiday an incredible cycling destination – Calpe. Our great staff at any of our Costa Blanca hotels will make your next trip one to remember.