TRAINING FOR A BIKE TOUR
The most important thing to remember when you're going on a bike tour is that you definitely need to do some conditioning. Even if you're a well-seasoned athlete and exercise everyday, but cycling is not one of your regular activities, you need to prep. Just in case we weren't clear here - YOU NEED TO TRAIN FOR YOUR BIKE TOUR.
When we say this, we don't mean you need to train for the Tour de France, but you do need to get on your bicycle and ride a good bit before you go - even if you're going on a Level 1 ride. Why? Because if you don't, your hindquarters will be a pain in your butt (pun intended) and distract from the joy of the tour. You just need to get on that bike and pedal a few times each week prior to your tour. That will get your lower half used to the bike seat and make your tour so much more enjoyable. Below, we've given you some suggestions for conditioning.
Slow Build-up to Tour - For those of you who like to do things slowly and methodically, or for first time participants in a bike tour, we recommend starting to ride at least twice a week about 15 weeks before your tour. Nice and easy pedaling - just like you'll do on the tour. At 12 weeks before, you should be riding your average daily distance (ADD) at least one of your rides per week. By 9 weeks before, ride your ADD plus 2 more rides. At 6 weeks, ride your ADD plus 3 more rides. By 3 weeks before, you should be able to comfortably ride your ADD twice in a week and do 2-3 more rides. Be sure to completely rest the week before your trip.
Procrastination Prep - For those who are super busy, or like the adrenaline rush of waiting until the last minute, you can still help your hindquarters out a bunch by following this short cut conditioning schedule. FAIR WARNING: Your lower half will be pretty sore with this plan for the first week. At 4 weeks before your tour, start by riding at least 3 times that week. At 3 weeks before, bump up to 4 times that week and make one of those rides your ADD (average daily distance). At 2 weeks before, ride 5 times that week with 2 of those rides being your ADD. Completely rest the week before your trip.
Remember, easy, gentle pedaling is the name of the game. You're not trying to win a race. The goal is to condition your lower half so that you are focused on all the amazing things you'll see and do on your tour as opposed to how you need to get off your bike seat as soon as possible.