5 Ways to Overcome Fears that Stop You From Bicycle Traveling
There always exist hidden or visible risks in every experiment in this life, but don't let fear stop you from having amazing experiences of a lifetime. Bicycle travelling is one of such things you should try at least once (and many times again) in your life. However, it probably incites as much excitement as anxiety in a person, especially a first-time bicycle traveler. This article will give advice on how to overcome common fears of bicycle travelling with careful preparation and acknowledgement.
1. Fear of not having the right cycling equipment
A bicycle is the lifeblood of your trip - the main mean of transportation that gets you roll on the road. Due to that fact, a firs-time bicycle traveler might get too worried about having the best bicycle and top gears. Of course those premium gears will make your trip much more comfortable, but actually you won't need that much to survive and have awesome experiences. Let's discuss further how you can get "right" gears affordably.
There are people traveling on very inexpensive bicycles such as second hand ones. One of my friend purchased a used bicycle in Thailand for a three month touring trip with just under $100. I think this is the great method to cut down pitfalls of bringing your bicycle on flight and to easily re-sell after your trip for some money back. It's actually a win-win situation anyone can afford.
Choosing a bicycle also depends on where and which routes you travel. Travelers pick up different types of bikes from mountain bikes, tandem bikes and tricycle bikes to folding bikes. So there are a whole bunch of possibilities for you as a bicycle traveler to choose from.
If you spend most of the time in the saddle for a long distance route, it might be worth investing a bit more into a well-equipped bike to minimize all technical problems on the way.
There are also other important components you should take into consideration for your trip. First of all, wheel tires are the part in direct contact with road surfaces for the most time; hence, its quality and functionality will decide how far and how easy you can ride. Also remember to check what size of tires are popular used in the local destinations so you can easily find a suitable substitute one.
Bicycle racks for carrying luggage shouldn't be made from cheap material. They will carry loads of your stuff so you definitely don't want them to be broken while on the go. You should purchase racks made from steel, so they can be welded quickly and easily in case of being broken.
If possible, consider waterproof panniers which keep your gear safe and protected from wet weather.
A tool kit is must-have item which allows you to quickly fix small problems of your bicycle. In case the problem is unable to be fixed right the way, you can try to hitch a ride and find a nearby repair shop. For long-distance rider, it is also important to prepare some spare parts such as a tire, inner tubes and spokes.
With all these basic gear you can are ready to roll confidently.
2. Fear of riding in traffic
It's true that you may confront a various type of road conditions, especially when you travel abroad. In developing countries, the common scenario is that you ride in heavy traffic, with cars and other motor vehicles side by side. Or when you ride in countryside, the roads are most likely to be rough and bumpy.
What you can do to overcome this fear is practice cycling frequently. Get yourself familiar with different kind of traffic and riding routes. Start with small things such as riding around your neighborhood, local parks or nearby grocery stores. Then proceed with longer distance riding, for example asking friends or family members to join a weekend cycling trip. Make more of short trips like that to boost your confidence as well as gain more experiences in bicycle touring.
In order to improve your safety, you should wear appropriate protective gear. A bicycle helmet is the priority in your list. Don't forget to equip your bike with mirrors to help you gain better vision of moving objects behind you. Use reflective clothes or bright color stickers on your bike to make yourself well visible to others on the street.
3. Fear of not being physically fit enough
This fear is certainly reasonable because a great amount of energy is required to pedal a bicycle loaded with extra luggage for many hours. However, don't let this fear stop you from achieving something extraordinary for your life. There is no better way to beat over this fear than train for better endurance and physical strength.
Just take small steps at the beginning to give your body time to set off, and then increase the amount of time spent in the saddle. Besides basic cycling training, you can also run, swim or any other kind of cardio to build up your athleticism deliberately. If you are still not sure if your physical condition is qualified for the long bicycle traveling trip ahead, take several shorter trips (of 2-3 days).
Actually the question of when one is fully ready is very difficult to answer. It depends on each individual. Listen to your body and health condition.
Also remember that, bicycle traveling is not a race. Without time limit or strict rules, you can basically pedal at your own pace, enjoy beautiful scenery and stop by for a break whenever needed. The enjoyable and relaxing feeling definitely helps to relieve the physical pressure on your body.
4. Fear of getting lost
The possibility of getting lost in a foreign country is certainly frightening. However, it shouldn't be the reason that stops you from bicycle traveling because this problem is easy to deal with. It is also a common thing to get lost (who doesn't at least once in their lives?).
Get a map, study it in advanced or even ask experienced people to note down important signals of the routes. A navigator is also very helpful if you have extra money to spend on. You can also use Google map on your smart phone to identify your position and how to get to where you want.
In travel destinations like South East Asia, local people are very welcoming and friendly to help out if you ask for directions. So don't be afraid of asking. However, it's better to be careful by asking at least two people before defining which direction to head next. I have experienced that a local woman showed me the wrong way (probably it was by mistake due to misunderstanding). If possible, write down commonly used terms in local languages and make good use of them when in need.
5. Fear of burning out
I under stand your fear, because I have gone through it. The burnout is real and can outrageously affect you both physically and mentally especially if it is your first trip ever. Actually even experienced travelers can encounter such things. So how can you deal with this problem and gain back the motivation for cycling?
My advice it take your time, enjoy the journey, talk with people you meet on the street, make friends on the go, eat delicious local food, and most importantly, take rest.
You also should wisely plan the routes that are suitable to your physical condition. Know your limits and act accordingly. That's why I choose folding bikes as the cycling equipment for my bicycle travel. When I don't feel like cycling, I can just fold it up, hop on the train or bus and head towards the next destination. Even though folding bikes might be a bit tricky to ride at the beginning, it allows me so much freedom and portability, and helps to avoid physical burnout.
Hopefully you can dispel the fear of firs-time bicycle travelling. Benefits of bicycle travelling is so tremendous that they can totally outdo the risks and disadvantages. Go on an adventure and explore beautiful things out there on your bicycle. Life is amazing!