Whilst bicycle touring may not be a sport in the traditional sense, it is a method of travel which requires a degree of physical exertion. Each view from the top of a mountain is earned the hard way ,and every mile that passes does so with the turning of pedals. The great thing is though, that almost anyone and everyone is capable of doing it. You don't need to be an elite athlete, or be some sort of superman. People of all shapes, sizes and ages embark on bicycle touring vacations and long distance expeditions in their tens of thousands every year. To get the most out of a bicycle tour though, it does help to start a cycling fitness plan some weeks before leaving.
Now, there is a point of view which says that you really only build up bicycle touring fitness by going on a bicycle tour in the first place. The reason for this, is that it is quite hard to simulate cycling for 6 or 8 hours a day with a loaded bike through different types of weather, climate and terrain. You can only really get used to doing it by actually doing it, so to speak. To a certain extent, I do agree with this point of view, especially for longer multi-month tours. There is time to gradually build stamina and strength up, and after a month of cycling, your fitness levels will be where they need to be to cope with the physical strains of touring. However, not everyone departs on multi-month tours. Some people do weekend, or week long cycling vacation tours. To get the best out of these experiences, it only makes sense to adopt some sort of cycling fitness plan.
In fact, as I plan for my next cycling trip, I need to come up with a cycling fitness plan myself. Whilst I wouldn't describe myself as a couch potato, I fully admit to not being as fit as I would like to be. This definitely needs improving before any future cycling tour. In any case, a healthier, fitter lifestyle is a good thing to aim towards, especially as I turn 43 this month. (Yeah, I know, 43… WTF!!!).
Designing a Cycling Fitness Plan For Bicycle Touring
Coming up with a cycling fitness plan is going to be my next task then. There are several factors that I need to keep in mind when working out a new cycling fitness plan. Firstly, my time is limited to only an hour a night during the weekdays, although I can spend up to 3 hours on Saturday and Sundays if needed. Secondly, as I am moving to Athens in the second week of February, I may not even have a bike for a while! And thirdly, I want it to be something that builds up gradually over a 12 week period. One other consideration that I want to make, is that I would like the cycling fitness plan to be easy to follow by other people, and be a general program that anyone could follow.
It's probably going to take a week or so to come up with a reasonably comprehensive cycling fitness plan, especially as I am preparing to relocate to Athens at the same time. I also need to decide in what form I will publish it. Normally, I just put things like this out as a blog post, but I have been toying with the idea of writing an e-book for sometime. This could be quite an interesting idea to see through, and I will have to look into it further. In the mean time, stay tuned over the next week or two whilst I work it all out!