Training Tips From Adventure Cycling
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In the most recent edition there is a brief but concise training regime that they describe. The timing is perfect for us.
Riding a loaded bicycle is a demanding physical challenge. Here are a few
training tips that will help to prepare you for that challenge.
Base Training Miles
Start training at least four months before the planned departure date. One
month of riding 4 - 6 days a week, either inside on a trainer or outside on
the bike, is sufficient. You want to spin the bike at a high rate of
revolutions per minute (RPM) - at least 90 RPM - and use easy gears. A good
goal is to have from 300 to 600 miles, roughly 20 to 30 hours on a trainer,
under your belt. Also, take time to work into a stretching routine. This
will get your muscles, tendons and ligaments ready for the next stage of
The goal for the next month is to build up riding strength in your body,
once you have a good base of training. This is the stage where you gradually
start mixing in more difficult training. Riding hills and structuring
training to include intervals and sprint training are key to this stage. You
want to mix this type of training in gradually while maintaining your spin
rides between workout rides. Don't overdo it. Mix in easy rides and rest
days. The goal is preparation, not overworking your body. Days you work on
sprints should be the shortest riding days and easy riding days should be
longer. Remember, strength does not mean crushing huge gears. Higher rates
of spinning will get you up the hills faster with less energy used. Hill
climbing and strength training should be continued once or twice a week into
the next stage of training.
This stage is meant to build up endurance for longer rides. Start by taking
longer rides once or twice a week. By the end of this third month you should
be riding 40 to 50 miles a day, two days a week. Start toning down the
strength riding for the sake of spending time in the saddle. Start enjoying
the rides. Ride to places locally you have either never been to or haven't
seen in a long time. Ride many hills and enjoy the views. Take a meal with
you and stop to enjoy it.
Ride with Weight
This is the most important stage of training. About six weeks before your
departure date, begin to carry weight on the bike as you ride - particularly
on the long endurance days. Begin slowly, carrying about 20 pounds or so,
and work your way up to carrying all of your gear a couple of times a week
for two weeks before your trip starts. You need this time to build strength
in your ligaments, muscles and tendons. This will help to avoid injuries and
prepare you for an enjoyable trip.
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