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How to train for a cycling holiday

04 May 2016 - Anthony Laplagne

Cycling is a sport for everyone. People of all ages, stages and abilities can enjoy cycling. The same is true of cycling holidays. But, to really enjoy bicycle holidays, you do need some level of fitness.

Europe Active – adventure cycling holidays specialist – has a vast offering of cycling in Europe tours. And so, we are experts in all things to do with bikes and holidays. We’ve used this knowledge to put together this guide to help you prepare for your cycling holiday.

1. Enhancing your enjoyment
You’ve likely spent a lot of time investigating and researching cycling holidays before you booked the one that topped your list. So this guide is purely about helping you prepare so you can enjoy your holiday.

2. Comfort
Ahead of your holiday, and for your preparation period before you go – ensure that you’ve invested in some good cycling shorts, a comfortable saddle, gloves, a well fitting helmet, trainers / shoes, a wicking training top and a waterproof jacket. Test them whilst you train for your holiday to make sure they suit your needs.

Also, make sure your bike is well fitted during your training, and at the start of your holiday, so you avoid any pain or discomfort.

3. Distance
Base your preparation on the distance or the amount of cycling you’ll do on a daily basis during your bike holidays. Have a think about the terrain, too – will it be flat or hilly? Build this into your preparation routes. And, make sure that you’re able to cycle for a number of consecutive days.

Train for cycling holiday

4. Training plan
The words ‘training plan’ may strike some people with fear! Some may find it ironic that the words are even mentioned in the context of a holiday. It is a holiday after all!
But, it’s important to remember that putting in the work beforehand will mean that you are better placed to enjoy cycling in Europe. So, on that basis, here are a few rules of thumb around building a training plan for yourself:

  • If you are not a regular rider, or if you haven’t ridden further than 5 miles, then it’s best to put around 3 months of preparation in before you leave – as a rule of thumb.
  • Generally, for all training plans, you should build your mileage up by around 10% per week until you are covering the average daily distance of your holiday with ease.
  • Remember that you are not aiming to build up speed, it’s about duration and your ability to cover distance over consecutive days.
  • You are aiming to be comfortable on a bike for hours at a time so make sure your training rides build this into account.
  • World cycle journeys website and the UTracks Trip Grading System is a great guide on what distance you should be aiming to do for training for each type of cycling holidays.

5. Hills
Now, if it weren’t for the hills, then there wouldn’t be any views on a cycling holiday. So remember to build hills into your training if they are going to feature on your cycling holidays. If you can’t always get to a hill to train, then you can use interval training where you push your heart rate up over what you find comfortable.

6. Enjoy training
Remember, this is about preparation for your holiday. Keep the enjoyment levels up by going cycling with others – maybe those who will be sharing your bicycle holidays. Or, if that’s not possible, join a club to do your training.

7. Weather
If the weather hampers your training, don’t forget that you could try a spin class in your local gym, or use a turbo machine to turn your bike into an indoor one!

Cycling holiday training

8. Bike safety
As well as physical preparation, you also need to build your knowledge of your bike itself – if you don’t know this already. If it is a guided tour then you will have assistance on hand. If it is self guided then it is even more important to tutor yourself on the basics – like how to deal with punctures, how to adjust your saddle and brakes, and how to fix a broken chain. Your local bike shop will sometimes offer courses. Or, YouTube is a fantastic resource of this kind of information.

Hopefully this Europe Active guide will help you prepare to have really fantastic cycle holidays. And, if you would like to find out more about Europe Active’s adventure cycling holidays in Europe, visit

You can also visit our blog for more tips from our cycling holidays experts on everything on where to go, how to prepare for your holiday and what to pack. We are a font of knowledge of bikes and holidays! 

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