After travel by bike from Italy to Slovenia as well as crossing the whole Italian country, many people ask us how to organise such trip. If you have been following us on social media, you know we are no professional sports people. In fact, this tour cycling we did from Italy to Slovenia, which we cycled more than 1000 km over a month and half, was the first time Fernanda went on road cycling holidays. Up until then, she had never thought of a bike adventure, particularly an European bike tour.
The greatest result of this challenge is to prove anyone is capable to go on a bike tour. Every person has its own pace and limitations, surely, but if you enjoy cycling trips, fear and apprehension should not stop you from trying it. A giant bike trip is not just possible for everyone, but a wonderful and unique way to visit places, meet people, deep interact with nature and more, get fit.
We liked this experience so much that we decided to do a bike trip at lease once per year. Next year, we are planning to cycle along the Danube River, from Germany to Ukraine. If you have any tips about this – or any other, as a matter of fact – please do write to us. We might even bump into each other’s bike!
*Don’t miss the videos from this bike trip on our Youtube Channel! Don’t forget to subscribe and to let us know what you think of them.
But anyway, let’s carry on.
What’s necessary for a road bike trip?
Improve your physical resistance and prepare your mind are the most important advices we can give. Unfortunately, we had very little time to train. Two weeks before our departure, we start jogging at the park every day as well as doing some abs, play football, and so on. It was two hours training plus a half-hour of meditation a day, to control our anxiety.
It is also important to train with the bikes too. But, in our case, as the bikes were recycled (more on that bellow) and done at the last minute, we didn’t have much time to practice with them.
We did manage to go to the neighbour town and back just to have an idea of our physical limitations, average speed as well as get our arses comfortable, literally. Train as much as you can with the bikes before the trip – but remember to rest completely the day before to not wear out your muscles on the first day.
How many kilometres to cycle a day on your travel bike?
That depends on each person. We did an average of 70km a day, more or less. It might seem little, but we didn’t have any intent of being fast, but to enjoy every step of the journey, appreciating nature, interacting with locals and take the best of the experience. Moreover, we had work to do during the trip, both for Monday Feelings and our clients so we couldn’t be cycling all day long.
This average we did, for the kind of trip we did, was perfect. But the kilometres you will cycle in your trip will depend exclusively on you.
TIP: If you are planning your cycling trip itinerary, we advise you to add two or three days more in the end of the trip, like a 10% margin of error. During a bike tour holiday, it is hard to keep faith to the itinerary for the whole month. There will be raining days, or days you feel more tired than others, your knee might hurt or other things. In all, two days will allow you to reschedule your route if anything happens. It worked really well for us!
During our first cycle tour, we used a mountain bike. That was because Slovenia has many bike trek routes. On the second trip, however, when we cycled through the Via Francigena, one of the bike tours in Italy, most of the way was paved, we chose a hybrid bike. The bike tyres were thinner and the bike had lighter material, so we could cycle faster. Which bike to take depends on your route.
Our bikes were not specialized bikes or from professional brands either. Actually, there were of no brand at all! We partnered up with a social cooperative in Parma, the Cigno Verde, whom has a bike shop and a project of collecting abandoned bikes and refurbish them, re-using its parts and making new bikes out of them. The project is called Recycle – great name!
Therefore, our bikes weren’t the best ones, neither the fastest ones, but they were just perfect for us. They were made through a project we saw and believe. In fact, we helped in the making as well. During our second bike trip, through Italy, we even made the bike trailer from the scratch. It was awesome!
What to take with you on your touring bike trip
Basically, the minimum necessary. The less you bring, the better you will feel. So, let’s revise what’s necessary.
Clothes for a cycling trip
A spare shirt and shorts for cycling. We recommend cycling clothes, particularly the shorts or trousers that has a foam protection.
Two shirts for when not cycling – it’s not nice to walk around a town looking like you have just come out of the gym, right?
One shorts and a trouser
You must not forget bike tools to quick fix your bike. In fact, it’s important to know some bike parts and the minimum to change a flat tyre, adjust the saddle, breaks or gears.
helmet for the bike
Repair kit for the tyres (glue, sandpaper and sticker)
screw wrench for the wheels
arm L keys kit
plasters and anti-inflammatory drugs
isotonic drinks for an up in energy during hard uphills
TIP: There is a platform called WarmShowers. They are a community made by cyclists for cyclists that help connect each others for accommodation and/or support for those on the road. It’s sort of a couchsurfing, but for cyclists, to have a perfect bike holidays.
If you prefer to sleep in hotels, don’t forget to book them through this link or on the search box below. You don’t pay any extra for that and help Monday Feelings to stay alive! Cheers and safe travels!