Our two week training trip – cycling 1,000km from Plymouth in the south west of England to Edinburgh up in Scotland – finished last weekend and it’s been a delightful reminder of the daily practices on a cycle tour. Here’s how it goes…
We’re on our new bikes, carrying a tent, a camping stove and all the clothes we need to stay warm.
The day’s routine is simple: once packed up in the morning, we cycle until we have to stop for food or to check the map. We couldn’t find our road map when we packed and all the ones in the shops are too big to fit on the front of our bikes so we’ve just been navigating with our phones. Sometimes using Google Maps to plot a route for us, other times following a Sustrans National Cycle Network, or else just following our noses.
For food, we just fill our panniers with snacks and stop whenever we’re hungry. The cycle tourist can consume prodigious volumes and I am constantly amazed at how much food I can shovel into my mouth without ever feeling sated.
Each day we aim to cycle about 50-miles. Sometimes we have a particular destination in mind – if a friend is offering a spare room for example – but usually we just pedal until it gets dark or we get tired.
The one thing we need before setting up a camp is water so we usually pop into a pub or knock on a door and ask to fill up a large bladder. This knock on the door is often combined with asking if the owners know anywhere that we could pitch a tent – we just need some flat ground and, where wilderness is not available, it’s best to ask for permission.
Then it’s tent up, sleeping bag out, strike up the stove with a fire steel and get a continual stream of hot food and drinks on the go to keep us warm, fed and hydrated until bed time.
As morning arrives, the routine restarts for another day…