You don’t have to be an athlete to ride a bike. In fact, you might want to be a middle-aged couple, new to cycling.
When my partner and I planned our road trip through the American Northwest, we knew our bikes were coming. Thanks to Schwinn, we started riding again and we really enjoyed it. We felt like children. I mean look at the smiles on those faces!
We didn’t know how much we could travel on the trip, but we expected to find places during the month-long tour.
The total ride time was 6,832.9 miles and while we didn’t get as close as we wanted due to time constraints and skipped epic routes, we’re glad the bikes were with us during the trip. Cycling in Yellowstone? That alone was worth the extra effort!
You don’t have to be an expensive athlete or cyclist to ride a bike on the road.
We are not athletes. With a long swing. We’re active but don’t run marathons. Or 5 km, but we like to travel and are outside. Our bikes are Schwinn circuit hybrids that sell for around $ 300.
They perfectly meet our needs. They have 21 useful and comfortable speeds in the mountains (although I wouldn’t have additional padding – I never would have thought!).
We’ll travel by bike sometime before our honeymoon. The ride was short, only five hours, but even one of them taught us a little about cycling.
Still, it was nothing compared to this epic adventure. We did some things right, we did some things wrong and learned some important tips to improve our next bike tour.
If you’re looking to ride a bike, read these tips before you get started.
How to ride a bike
1. Buy a REALLY good bike rack
If you can’t get a good bike rack for your car, don’t take your bike with you. It’s that simple. You never know what the road conditions are like and the thought of punching a hole and watching your two-wheeler slide into the sunset is heartbreaking.
When we were on our honeymoon three years ago, our bicycle boat broke. If we wanted to take our bikes home, we had to buy another one, but there was only one top-rated bike rack within 50 miles and it was cheap at Walmart. Having no choice, we bought it but knew we had to get a voucher before we crossed the country.
We visited Village Pedals which is a great local bike shop in South Elgin and the owner Jeff helped us choose.
The most durable type of base is trailer-mounted, but since we had to rent a vehicle we weren’t sure we could mount it. In addition, our car had no problem.
We completed the Yakima Hangout with 2 bike boxes. With long straps and six hooks, it would work with our rental jeep and, when returning from a trip, also with a taxi. It’s a firm stance that gave us complete confidence whether we were driving 80 asphalt or 15 mud.
Tip: Avoid roof racks on long journeys. Keeping bikes behind the vehicle helps prevent fraud. In addition, they create a lot of functions and reduce your MPG. Above all, you don’t always have permission, for example: through this tunnel on the needle route:
2. Know how to properly place the kicker in your car
If you can get your stand at a local store, let them show you how to set it up. Jeff took the time to carry us outside and put the grill on our trunk.
Most importantly, he showed us the trick: once you’ve secured the base with the straps, let someone else’s weight hang on the bars if you think it’s tight enough. Then tighten them.
This ensures that the belts adjust to the additional weight when the wheels are put on and are less slack.
3. Use ropes to keep the tires from moving
This was another trick that our local bike shop experience showed us. If you have two bikes, grab a short elastic cord and connect one rear wheel to the other front wheel.
This prevents them from moving while driving. It also creates a bumper so the gears don’t rub.
4. Bring a pneumatic pump and pneumatic seal
Packing a pneumatic pump is especially important if you need to change the height. Check the tire pressures when you reach your destination. You probably need air.
5. Wash dirt off the road and oil your chains
We didn’t do it. We rarely got the chance to wash our bikes, but because we didn’t smear or stain the chains, they rusted when we got back.
6. Get a helmet and gloves
We made it. Always wear a helmet and gloves. Your nods and hands thank you.
7 Bring your bikes to the hotel/motel
It’s a sad fact that people steal bicycles, and even if we could attach them to a toothed belt, with the tooth tied to the belt, it would be easy for anyone to cut and carry anything.
Since we weren’t camping, we stayed in motels. At the entrance, we asked if we would bring a bike to our room and the answer was always yes.
8. Open it
When walking, eating outdoors, visiting, or doing other things, make sure your bikes are locked indoors. Provide a strong cord that will not be easy to cut. If you find it colourful, then great! This explains when someone tries to check it out. If not, wrap it in coloured tape.
If there are tents, your tent likely won’t have room, so attach the wheels to a tree or picnic table.
9. Know your limits
Cycling is fun. This is an absolute blast. It’s also an exercise. You are on vacation, aren’t you? So don’t rush!
Take your time and pay attention to how your body is doing, especially if you are taller than you used to be. You’re not so exhausted that you either a) can’t go back to where you started, or b) you fall and injure yourself.
Here is the most important piece of advice! Whether you’re hiking, traveling to a new city, or just going to the bathroom from the campsite (I’ve done this a couple of times), you’ll enjoy.
Carrying a bike on the freeway makes you a kid again and can’t we all use it?