Why Cycle Abroad?
Many cyclists travel abroad to take on a new challenge, often the lure of famous climbs in the Alps or Pyrenees. For others, it may be to attend a pre-season training camp in warm climates such as Spain. Whatever the reason, cycling abroad gives you the opportunity to try new routes and meet new people.
Traveling abroad has also become easier in recent years as more and more cycle camps have established and most will rent out decent quality road bikes so you don’t need to bring your own. Airlines still have options to transfer your bicycle and for large events such as Ironman, some companies specialize in the transfer of bikes and equipment to these events.
Cycling abroad can bring more risks, this is especially true if you are cycling in mountainous regions. Make sure you have adequate insurance cover in advance. This should include:
- Have an E11 card if you are a European citizen traveling within Europe. This will cover you things like a visit to a medial center if you end up with minor injuries if you come off your bike. An E11 card is free, all you need to do is apply.
- Look into travel insurance. This will cover you for loss of personal property and healthcare bills if you are involved in a serious accident. Depending on what type of cycling you are doing, you may need a tailored plan to cover you for things like cycle touring. Cover for a 1 week trip works out at around €35.
- If you are hiring a bike you should look into specific insurance for it. This is not covered under most hire contracts, if you break a bike, you have to replace it. Ask the bike hire company what their policies are. Travel insurance will only cover personal property. Hire bike insurance typically works out at around €15 per day.
All of these need to be in place before you travel so make sure you set a reminder prior to your trip.
What equipment do you need?
If you plan to bring your own bike:
- Bike helmet
- Multi-tool and spare tubes. Airport security may confiscate some tools so be sure to attach to your bike.
- Bike pump
- Sunglasses, weather is normally better on a cycle trip
- Two water bottles
- Bike computer
- Energy powders and bars. You may not be able to buy your favorite variety abroad
When it comes to clothing, a safe bet is to bring two of everything. Two sets of shorts, two cycle tops, etc…. Most cycling destinations will have a cycle or sports shop nearby so you can always buy extras if you need them. Even if you are going to warm climates, bring a light rain jacket/cape. If you climb some mountains it can get a bit chilly on the descents.
Don’t forget your cycling shoes and check the cleats on them before you leave, don’t head off on a cycling trip with a set of badly worn cleats.
If you plan to hire a bike, include the items above plus:
- Bring your own bike saddle if you plan to cycle big distances
- Bike pedals. Even if your hire bike comes with pedals, they may not be compatible with your bike shoes.
- Mount kits for your bike computer and other electronic gadgets