The approach of a summer holiday weekend holds out the promise of longer bike rides shared with friends, and extra time to explore new routes and scenic byways. If your agenda calls for escaping town for the beach or country, the following tips on how to travel with your bike will help keep your journey fun and carefree:
Do Restrictions Apply? If you plan to transport your bicycle via public transit on a train or bus, check online or contact customer service to determine if any special restrictions apply to holiday weekends.
Get Pumped Don’t assume that your host or your hotel will have a bicycle pump on hand. Fill your tires before you go or, if you’re traveling by car, take your floor pump along in the trunk. Also check your tool bag to make sure it’s stocked with a spare tube.
Corral Your Gear It can be disappointing to come up short of an essential piece of gear when you’re ready to ride. Lay out everything you’ll need in advance: Basics like sunglasses, cycling gloves and sunscreen, plus road-emergency ID bracelet, chamois cream, cycling computer (and charging cord) and so on. Keep all the “smalls” corralled and organized in one easy-to-pack, zippered travel pack. Choose one with a mesh top that makes it easy to see what’s inside and provides ventilation for that damp heart rate monitor strap.
Avoid Parking-Garage Tragedy If you transport your bike on a roof rack, post a note to yourself on the dashboard (Bikes on Roof!) This small visual reminder can help you avoid the the heartbreak of mangling a bike when entering a low-clearance parking garage.
Light up! There’s often no better way to reach festivities, like Fourth of July fireworks shows, than by bicycle. Pedaling gets you around traffic jams and into areas that can’t be reached by car. Plus, parking is a cinch. But remember to exercise extra caution on the road – frustrated motorists caught in long lines can sometimes be unpredictable. In addition, when riding at night, make yourself and your bicycle as visible as possible; don’t leave home without your bike lights, lightweight reflective accessories — and a bike lock.
Keep your lights on your bike — even in the daytime, unexpected conditions, like fog, can limit your visibility.
Expand Cargo Capacity A trip to the beach may call for more carrying capacity than on your typical bike commute. So, add a lightweight backpack to to your packing list. It will come in handy not only for bicycling, but also for whatever other activities, like hiking or climbing, that may be on tap. Stuff in a few plastic bags from the grocery store for trash or to tote home a wet bathing suit.
Pack Extra Juice The leisure of a holiday weekend affords the opportunity to log more time in the saddle and to explore new territory. Especially in an unfamiliar locale, keep your phone fully charged to power way-finding apps and the ability to make a phone call in an emergency. You may want to take along an auxiliary battery pack, as well.
Following these simple steps before you hit the road will help assure the kind of carefree riding that long weekends were meant for.
Do you travel with your bike on weekends. Please share your own tips in the comments section!
Top photo: Gemma Evans