Skip the winter and go abroad
As the cold, dark nights descend, the thought of riding one’s bike grows ever gloomier – winter is here. Living in the UK, we all know that winters can get pretty rough, with the snow, rain and slush inhibiting our abilities to get out there and ride. But what if we told you that you didn’t have to trudge through this cold and wet season and that you could head abroad instead, chasing the eternal sun.
The best winter retreats
All the pro cyclists get the luxury of escaping to sunny retreats during the winter, so why shouldn’t we? Whether you’re planning on getting the winter training miles in or just looking for a spot of adventure riding in sunny weather, then a winter cycling holiday may just be what you’re looking for.
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Not only is travel to these sunny destinations cheaper during the winter season, but it’s also uncommonly quiet. The popular summer tourist traps surrounding the ever-warm Mediterranean are obvious choices – places like Mallorca, Tenerife and Girona are a big draw for cyclists looking for some off-season sun.
As well as fair weather and ideal road networks, these places are also blessed with a truly diverse landscape that can facilitate both road riding and mountain biking. From rolling along the sun-kissed beaches to climbing towards the snow-topped mountains, the choice of routes is immense and it’s easy to fill a week – perhaps even two – with riding.
These popular destinations aren’t the only winter retreats, however. If you’re yearning for even more adventure and have a lot of time at your disposal, then why not head down under to Ventouro, New Zealand. It’s a long-haul winter destination and ideal for the mud-hungry mountain bikers – the remote country roads and stunning mountain vistas are a true cycling paradise. Another long-haul destination that serves as a haven for cyclists, particular mountain bikepackers, is the lush landscape that surrounds Bali, Indonesia, where you can trek across mountain tops and cut your way through the heart of the jungle – never has a place screamed ‘adventure!’ louder.
How to pack your bike
Transporting your bike overseas can be a little nerve-wracking, particularly when you see regular stories from pros complaining to airlines about their broken bikes all over Twitter. There’s little you can do on the loading end, but you can ensure that your bike is packed away properly in the best case or bag that money can buy.
While it may seem an incredibly simple task, packing your bike into a bike box or bike bag is almost as difficult – and frustrating – as nailing jelly to a tree. Learning how to pack away your bike might seem like a painstaking process, but boy will it be worth it when you unpack your pride and joy under the shining sun of your winter cycling destination.
As well as remembering your boarding pass, passport and all-important sunscreen, you’ll also need to ensure you’ve packed a few of these cycle-specific travelling essentials. If you’re planning on touring while on your winter retreat or even wild camping under the stars, then you’ll want to attach some bike bags to your trusty steed.
4358 km, 11 counties, 13 border crossings, 148,727 calories (92 days of normal activity!), and, amazingly, 0 flats—all in 13 days, 3 hours, and 44 minutes. #northcape4000 â € â € Congratulations to @ritajett ad @hellhommus on completing one hell of a ride. We're so proud of your tremendous accomplishment. â € â € #specializeddiverge #smootherisfaster #saggybibs @iamspecialized_road @northcape4000 | Photos: @matteo_dunchi
Seat packs are a fantastic alternative to cumbersome panniers, extending from your seatpost beneath the saddle. They can hold quite a lot of gear but be careful not to overload them as they can throw you off balance if they’re crammed full of non-essential items. With a handlebar bag up top, this is a winning combo for any kind of touring cyclists – gear in the rear and money, phone and food in the front.
These aren’t the only places to attach bags, oh no. You can cram your things just about anywhere on your bike – astride the top tube, inside the frame’s triangle or stuffed underneath your saddle.
Finally, don’t underestimate the possibility of mechanicals. Just like any normal ride back at home, there’s always the threat of a puncture or chain snap just around the corner. Be sure to come prepared and stuff your travel bags with all the tools you might need. A lot of the tools you used to re-assemble your bike will come in handy here, but you may just need to pack a few extras, a ride-saving chain tool being one of the most important.
Are you now inspired to go and plan a trip of your own? At some Specialized Concept Stores, we can provide an Evoc bike bag rental service, so be sure to get in touch with us to find out about getting your hands on one for your winter travels.
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