Preparing for a cycling vacation: Tips and top travel destinations

5/24/2024 – Mark Nessmith

Preparing for a cycling vacation: Tips and top travel destinations

For serious cyclists, summer is prime time to enjoy a holiday in the saddle. Whether you’ve got a cycling trip coming up, or are still in the planning stages, we’ve put together some travel tips to help ensure you and your group enjoy your rides to the fullest!

A cycling vacation can be a thrilling adventure, offering the chance to explore new landscapes, challenge yourself physically, and immerse yourself in different cultures. For avid cyclists, destinations like the French Alps, the Dolomites in Italy, California's Pacific Coast Highway, the Spanish island of Mallorca, and New Zealand are among the most popular options.

Whether you’re self-planning a cycling trip or working with a travel agency, proper preparation is key to ensuring a fun, memorable (and safe) experience.

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With that in mind, we’ve put together some essential tips to help you get ready for your cycling vacation. And if you’re still in the planning stages, down below, we’ve included some bucket-list-worthy hotspots you should consider.

Physical preparation for your cycling holiday

It goes without saying that, to make the most of your cycling vacation, physical preparation is key. Begin a training regime well in advance of your trip to strengthen your legs and build endurance. (Not to mention getting your rear end reacquainted with time in the saddle!)

An indoor cycling app like ROUVY is an excellent tool to use when prepping for your trip. Having the ability to ride indoors offers the flexibility to train regardless of weather conditions or time constraints. This allows you to maintain a consistent training schedule, which is crucial for building fitness.

Climbing and interval training are essential components of preparing for a cycling holiday, especially if your destination includes hilly or mountainous terrain. ROUVY lets you select real routes that match the gradients of the routes on your itinerary, helping you build leg strength and the endurance needed for long ascents. Additionally, interval training sessions on the app can improve your power and cardiovascular fitness, making you more versatile and resilient. (Take a minute and check out “How To Climb Like A Pro Cyclist,” by Robbie Ferri, an ultra cyclist.)

Beyond the countless real routes on ROUVY, the app’s workouts and structured training plans designed by pros, performance tracking, and engaging features provide a comprehensive and effective way to build both fitness and confidence.

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One cool thing about cycling workouts on ROUVY is that they’re done on real routes, so you can simultaneously train for and preview some of the rides you and your group will be doing on your trip.

ROUVY workouts to build endurance: Increase your riding distances gradually to build stamina. Aim for long rides on weekends and shorter, more intense sessions during the week. Recommended workouts: SURGE ENDURANCE | PUNCHEUR'S PLAN, ENDURANCE BUILD UP and HILLY ENDURANCE

ROUVY workouts to improve your climbing: Incorporate hill training and interval sessions to improve your climbing ability and overall power. Recommended workouts: ATTACK TO THE CLIMB | CLIMBER'S PLAN, MOUNTAIN TIME TRIAL and TORQUE ENHANCER | CLIMBER'S PLAN

TRAINING PLANS DESIGNED BY THE PROS

Andy Schleck Training plan

2010 Tour de France winner Andy Schleck put together a plan to help cyclists ”build a bionic body and be ready for any physical challenge.” Includes La Vuelta stages.

JoSÉ Hermida Training plan

Designed by José Hermida of Spain, a silver medal winner at the 2004 Olympics, this plan will boost your overall fitness with two sessions per week over a six-week period.

Lidl-Trek training plan

Lidl-Trek's plans were designed by UCI pros to improve explosiveness, strength and speed. The intense sprint drills in the first workout offer a taste of what's in store.

Off-bike physical prep

Off the bike, low-impact exercises like yoga or Pilates can be great for firming up your core strength and flexibility, which are vital for maintaining proper posture and preventing injuries. Also consider strength training in the gym, combined with a regimen of stretching.

Misc. cycling-vacation tips

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Before you travel, make sure your bike is in perfect condition. Take it to a professional mechanic for a complete tune-up. Be sure he or she checks the brakes, gears, and tyres. You should also make sure the bike you intend to take is a perfect fit for your body. A properly fitted bike is important for comfort, safety, performance optimisation and good aerodynamics.

Other things to consider:

Check your spare parts and tools – Be sure your emergency kit includes essential spare parts such as inner tubes, a chain link, and brake pads, as well as tools like a Leatherman multi-tool, tire levers, and, of course, a quality pump.

Comfort – Ensure your bike is comfortable for long rides. Consider upgrading your saddle and/or investing in padded shorts.

Pack smart – You’ll need to balance between being well prepared and travelling light. Pack moisture-wicking, breathable cycling jerseys and shorts, and don’t forget a rain jacket, arm and leg warmers, and gloves.

Hydration and nutrition – Bring water bottles and a hydration pack. Pack energy bars, gels, and snacks to maintain your energy level. Also, consider taking along supplements for endurance.

Navigation and safety gear – Carry a GPS device, maps, and a power bank to ensure your devices remain fully charged. Also, bring a first-aid kit and any necessary medications.

Choosing your next cycling holiday destination

Before embarking on your cycling vacation, research various destinations to find the one that best matches the skill level and interests of everyone in your group.

When planning your rides, consider daily distances, elevation changes, and the locations of accommodations and rest stops. Using GPS devices or apps like Strava can help in mapping out your journey and keeping you on track.

With an abundance of iconic routes in cycling hotspots around the world, ROUVY is a great way to decide which routes in any given destination will work best for your group. By riding routes from home, you can familiarize yourself with the terrain and elevation profiles of your upcoming vacation destination. For example, if you’re planning to cycle in the French Alps, you can pre-ride several routes beforehand in order to experience the climbs and descents. This virtual exposure helps you mentally and physically prepare for the actual conditions you’ll face.

Here are just a few of the bucket-list-worthy cycling destinations around the world that are well represented on ROUVY. (For a more in-depth look at the most popular cycling holiday destinations, be sure to read article TOP 10 cycling holiday destinations for which you can prepare on ROUVY by ROUVY expert Lauren Wolff.)

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Cycling vacation hotspot: The French Alps – A bucket-list destination for avid cyclists due to the stunning mountain scenery, challenging climbs, and famous routes like Alpe d'Huez and Col du Galibier, the French Alps offer diverse terrain and breathtaking views.

Three iconic routes in the French Alps: ALPE D'HUEZ | FRANCE, LACETS DE MONTVERNIER - CHAUSSY | FRANCE, COL DU TELEGRAPH - GALIBIER | FRANCE

Cycling vacation hotspot: Mallorca, Spain – Mallorca’s a perennial favourite for its diverse terrain, scenic coastal roads and mild climate. The island offers challenging climbs, such as Sa Calobra, and routes through picturesque villages making it an ideal spot for both challenging and leisurely rides.

Three iconic routes on Mallorca: CAP DE FORMENTOR | MALLORCA,PUIG MAJOR - MALLORCA, CHALLENGE PEGUERA MALLORCA | SPAIN

Ride on real routes, all around the world

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Cycling vacation hotspot: The Dolomites in Italy – In addition to being a noted skiing destination in the winter, the snaking, scenic alpine roads in the area make the Dolomites in northeastern Italy a Mecca for avid cyclists.

Three iconic routes in the Dolomites: PEDALITALY PASSO PORDOI - DOLOMITES - ITALY, SELLA RONDA | ITALY, CAMPOLONGO-PORDOI-SELLA-GARDENA

Cycling vacation hotspot: California’s Pacific Coast Highway – The PCH is great for avid cyclists due to its scenic ocean views, diverse landscapes, and mild climate. The route offers challenging climbs, coastal breezes, and iconic landmarks like Big Sur, making it perfect for cyclists seeking both adventure and natural beauty.

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Three iconic routes along the California coast: PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY NO2. | CALIFORNIA | USA, PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY | USA, REDWOOD HIGHWAY | CALIFORNIA | USA

Cycling vacation hotspot: New Zealand – With its diverse landscapes, from stunning coastlines to rugged mountains, New Zealand has long been a popular choice for serious cyclists. Here, you’ll find challenging routes, and breathtaking scenery on iconic rides like the Otago Central Rail Trail.

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Three iconic routes in New Zealand: LAKE PUKAKI | NEW ZEALAND, ARTHUR'S PASS NATIONAL PARK | NEW ZEALAND, DUNEDIN | WORLDS STEEPEST STREET | NEW ZEALAND

Time to hit the road!

Following these tips will hopefully have you well prepared for an unforgettable cycling vacation. Whether you’re navigating mountain roads in France or Italy, or pedalling along the coast of California or New Zealand, the right preparation will help you make the most of your adventure.

One last thing! When you return from your trip, check in on the ROUVY Athletes | Cycling group on Facebook or the ROUVY club on Strava and let us know how it went!

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