Bike Touring Basics | Planning your trip | Total Women's Cycling

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Introduction to cycle touring, where to start, what to pack

Have you set yourself the target of holidaying abroad with your steed in 2014? Not sure about where to start? Juliet Elliott, who's planning a cycle touring trip to Japan, tackles those initial questions on how to make riding abroad a success.

Kit sorted; you’ll need to work out where you’re going. There are many travel companies offering supported cycle tours, so if you’re nervous about going it alone, these can be a good bet.

Having a plan of where you aim to start and finish, with set stops along the way will help you along the way

The level of support can vary, as can the daily mileage; some transport your luggage from stop to stop, whereas others set you up with a route and just leave you to it.

If you’re keen to strike out independently, do plenty of research before setting off. There’s a cycle touring adventure for people of all ability, however, it pays to be realistic about your fitness and to allow room for rest days.

If you’re a regular commuter, you shouldn’t struggle with about 50 flattish kilometres a day, but it’s essential to consider the terrain of your chosen country – chuck in a few hills and you’ll find that 50 km passes very slowly.

Consider the climate and look for the best time of year for your trip – avoid the hottest months, as you’ll need to carry huge amounts of water.

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