We’ve been working backwards to plan your big bicycle touring adventure and we’re almost finished. The only thing left to do now is plan your route!
As I mentioned in my previous articles, most traveling cyclists begin planning their tour by starting with a route. They think that they can figure out which roads they will be traveling on and then figure out all the rest of the details for their tour. But as I’ve stated before, I suggest you work the other way around. First decide where you are going, what tasks need to be accomplished before you can leave home, draw up a budget, and then plan a route.
When planning your route of travel for your long distance bicycle tour, the best and easiest way to start is at the beginning. Figure out where your tour is going to start and then figure out how you are going to get both yourself and your bike to that location.
Are you going to fly there?
How much are airline tickets?
What is the airline’s policy in regards to flying with a bicycle?
Are you going to rent a bicycle once you arrive?
Are you going to be meeting anyone at your destination?
Where are you going to be staying your first night?
Day #1 is the most difficult day to plan. After that, the planning process typically moves much quicker.
Once you’ve established how you are going to get to the starting place of your tour and where you are going to stay that night, now you need to determine your route for the remainder of your ride.
Take it slow and plot your actions out on a map. Move a single day at a time. Figure out how far you are going to ride, where you are going to sleep, how much you think it will cost to travel that day, what you will do for entertainment along the way, and any other details that need to be worked out. Repeat these steps for the rest of your tour.
Just like every other step in the planning process, once you’ve planned out your route, you will need to go back and take a look at the things we’ve done in previous steps and adjust accordingly. You may need to make changes to the budget or you may need to add more items to your “to-do” list. Make the necessary changes and then start working towards accomplishing at least a single task on your “to-do” list on a daily basis.
The advantage of planning a bicycle tour six months in advance is that you have the time to get your life in order and make the necessary preparations. Because you have at least six months to put yout tour together, you don’t have to rush, but you shouldn’t be sloth-like either.
When planning a bicycle tour six months in advance:
4). Create a budget.
5). And then map out your route.
Once you are all finished, go back and make any necessary adjustments.
If you’d like more help planning the route for your big bicycle touring adventure, be sure to read my article, “Tools For Planning A Self-Supported Bicycle Tour.”