Travel with a pedal in mind
Anywhere you go on this gorgeous planet of ours, if you’re anything like us you want to ride. Bike travel, however is not always an option and when you can take your bike, quite frankly it can be a complete pain in the arse.
Here’s my tips for travelling to ride. It starts with working out ride opportunity. This consists of a few things,
Time: are you going to be able to make time to get out and ride? If travelling with a non riding partner have you considered the number of excuses and alternate non rider options to allow you the time to get out and ride.
Genre: What type of riding is available. You may be an avid roadie or are hardcore Mt Biker but we are all for mixing it up when you’re travelling. There are a few reasons why this is worth considering including (but not limited to) your very opinionated mates won’t know and or find out that your swapping teams.
Bike availability: Do you need to hire a bike? Can you take a bike with you? Is there a friend you can borrow one off – all have different pre-travel arrangements and packing options that need to be considered.
Time: If you’re holidaying alone and or with friends who ride … not much of an issue . However if on business or travelling with non riding companions here’s our top tips for manufacturing ride time:
- Business travel – Schedule it in prior to leaving and calendarize it as a part of your trip, call it trip outcome processing time. I don’t care if your Richard Branson or Elon Musk we all need time to process in our own mindful way and what better way to do it than on the bike. You’ll make better decisions and promote far sounder thought patterns to get shit done if you fit in some rides. NB: If you need to get some one on one time with your colleagues, partners, or people your meeting, offer a rolling catch up. Even if it’s on city bikes on a bike path, a roll and a chat can be more beneficial for knowledge capture and relationships than any boardroom. You can re-introduce them to riding a bike – something that they most likely have done at one time or another, it’s fun, healthy and can completely put someones guard down, allowing you to access the information your after and promotes trust and companionship.
- Non-rider relationship management: If your a good partner then you know things that your partner likes to do, (that you possibly don’t like) and if its mutual love, vice versa. Pre-plan time to get me-time. It doesn’t have to be fixed time either, just discussed prior to packing your bags so that you both know that there’s some planned time away from each other to do things you love. The thing is when you do this … often the thing your partner wants to do will happen at a different time or place that you want a ride and you might just double up on riding time. More than that it brings beautiful balance in a relationship to be able to effectively. Hell I suggest doing it on a honeymoon!
- Family Holidays – Its your family they’ll forgive you at some time – go and ride and maybe see if you can’t drag one of them along with you!
Genre: I already briefly mentioned we are all about, all forms of riding. Once you know where you’re travelling to have look at what styles of riding are most prevalent in the area you’re going to. Don’t be closed to trying something new. Think outside the square, in most places you can jump on a Mt Bike and find a trail or get on the roadie, but look for other opportunities, Track cycling, Gravel Biking, hell in part of Asia small wheel bikes are rad.
Bike Availability: travelling with a bike can be easy or way too hard!
Bike bags and the level of care of baggage handlers are too often the demise of your beloved bike. Bike bags can be expensive but you will definitely find that the cheap ones aren’t worth it and in my experience a bike box is a better option. Higher end bike bags like Scicon and EVOC are worth the higher price tag, providing excellent protection. Packing your bike into bike bags has become an art form and in part 2 off this blog we will give you some great tips and tricks for bike packing. The positives about travelling with a bike bag is that its your own bike set up just how you like it thus travelling for a competition or a challenge event its a necessity to take your own bike. The negatives however are the risk of damage during transit and just the bulkiness and royal pain in the arse they can be getting to and from the airport. That said there is also a premium option available that I think, if your happy to spend some dollars making your travelling life a lot easier is a great go to option. Tune Cycles out of Sydney, Australia are just one company offering premium bike delivery. They come to your house or office and pack your bike, they then take care of the transit and the bike will arrive at your destination, built and ready to go. They even give the bike a tune up and make sure it is shifting to perfection before they drop it off!
The other option is of course to hire a bike. I know what your thinking, getting a bike that’s as sweet as yours is impossible and you need to look the shit if you go out on a bunch ride. Never fear Live Velo is here. Live Velo have hire bike offerings dotted all over the globe and they specialise in high end road bikes. The minimum spec is normally a name brand carbon bike with Ultegra so not only are you getting quality and performance but also have some peloton cred. For Mtb hire most parks you visit have a great offering of trail / all mountain specific bikes that will sufficiently allow you to be rad!
So the equation looks like this;
Cost of bike bag
Cost of baggage allowance
Cost of Time
Plus Risk of damage
Cost of Hire
Plus hassle of not riding own bike
I myself do a mixture of both and often you will see me arrive at an airport with my luggage in one bag and riding my bike. Buying a bike box at the airport has its benefits. You pack it in the departures foyer and stuff a few clothes in plastic bags around the important bits. Virgin bike boxes are massive and reasonably robust, so its a case of front wheel out if you’re under 175cm and if taller you might need to take the seat post out. The customer service person even gives you packing tape.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog where I will go in to more detail about how to pack for cycling or Mt Bike trips.