Tips on How to Travel with Your Bike on an Adventure
The following was contributed to my site by fellow travel writer, Sam Nolan
Mechanical issues can bring your bike adventure to a halt. You may do everything right in regards to planning to travel with your bike on an adventure, but if your bike is not in top notch condition it can turn a thrilling adventure into a nightmare.
It is therefore important to prepare your bike for the adventure trip before hand. Below are a few tips to help you prepare your bike for the upcoming adventure trip. If you are travelling with your bike abroad, there is a two phase bike preparation procedure. The first phase is done at home and the second at the destination.
1. Practice Your Mechanical Skills
When going to a foreign destination for a biking adventure, it is crucial that your bike mechanical skills are on point. At the bare minimum you should be able to change tires, remove wheels, repair punctures and be able to troubleshoot common bike problems.
Your first attempt to repair the bike should not be in the middle of nowhere in a foreign country. Therefore, take some bike mechanics lessons with a friend or at a bike shop and practice them way before you take your trip.
2. Clean Your Bike
Nothing says, "I am ready" like a clean bike. You can clean the bike yourself or take it to a local bike shop to have it cleaned. If you choose to clean it yourself, use some clean soapy water, a brush and a sponge. It is advisable to not use high pressure water and harsh chemicals to clean the bike. Carefully clean the chains, cassette and the chain rings with a degreaser. You want to remove all the grit, excess grease and dirt from the bike. Once done, allow the bike to dry and oil the chains.
3. Wheel Up Your Bike
Inspect the wheel for any punctures and appropriate pressure. Depending on the terrain you intend to ride on, you may need to replace your bike’s wheels. To enjoy the various terrains during your travel with your bike on an adventure, bigger wheels are more suitable.
If you own a mountain bike over 500 dollars you may not need to change its wheels as the bike features quality wheels. Ensure your wheels have the appropriate pressure for the kind of trails you will be riding on. Also, if you are changing the wheel make sure they are compatible with the brake system and rear derailleur otherwise braking and gear shifting won’t work well.
4. Pack the Bike
Whether travelling by air, by bus, by train, or shipping your bike, you will need to pack it. Choose your ideal packing system between bike cases, bike bags and cardboard boxes. Whichever you chose, you will have to dissemble your bike to be able to park it well. You can pack the bike yourself or take it to a local bike shop for packing at a fee. To park on your own, you require the basic bike mechanic skill to dissemble the bike. Keep in mind that your choice of packing system should offer you a blend of functionality, protection on the bike and weight efficiency.
At the Destination
5. Unpack and Reassemble the Bike
Upon arrival at your destination, check whether your bike incurred any damages while in transit. Most transport companies offer at least a 4 hour window period to make claims on damages. If the bike is not damaged, unpack it and reassemble. As noted earlier, depending on your level of mechanical skills you may either reassemble the bike yourself or take it to a local shop.
6. Tune up the Bike
Once you have assembled the bike, tune it up to ensure everything is in alignment and functioning well. Take a test drive and adjust the saddle position, pedals, handlebars to fit well. Oil the chain system, adjust the brakes and rear derailleur to work well. Before you embark on a journey to experience the trails, ensure that the bike is well tuned up. If you're not sure, seek professional tune up services from a bike shop near you.
7. Clean the Bike Regularly During Your Trip
As you travel with your bike on an adventure, you will encounter different trails and terrains. Your bike will collect dust, leaf debris and dirt. For you to continue enjoying your rides, it is essential that the bike is well maintained. A simple yet crucial method to ensure that your bike is operating well is to clean it regularly. Many trail centers have a cleaning area that you can use or you can take it to a local shop for cleaning.
A bike in top notch state is crucial for a successful bike adventure trip. Take measures before and during your trip to keep the bike functioning optimally. Clean the bike regularly, pack it well and tune it up before embarking on exploring the trails.