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

Latest news, reviews and features for women who like to ride.



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.

When booking your flight, make sure you tell your airline that you’re travelling with a bike. Often, passengers are limited to two pieces of hold luggage, so stash all your panniers, saddles bags and bits and pieces inside one large poly bag that you can jettison at the other end.

A hard case is the best way to transport your bike safely

The CTC sells giant polythene bags for your bike as well, so in theory you just deflate your tyres, remove your pedals, turn your bars and pop your bike in the bag. Though many people successfully transport their bikes in these, I don’t trust the airlines not to squash my bike so I prefer to hard case or a box, which I leave in the left luggage at the other end. Yes, it bumps up the cost of my trip, but the thought or arriving to a squashed bike is just too much to bear!

Which brings me neatly to insurance – the minute you book your trip, book your insurance as well. Though you don’t need cycle touring specific insurance, check your policy carefully to ensure that it covers the full value of your bike, repatriation of your bike in the event of an emergency and theft of cycling accessories, such as panniers. If you plan on riding off-road, again, check that you’re covered as many insurers request a premium for this.

What are you waiting for, the world is your oyster!

Why not spend the dull, dark months of winter planning your first cycle touring adventure?

Whether it’s a weekend in Norfolk or a month in India, pootling through Corsica or tackling the Alps, there’s a cycle touring trip for everyone, you’re only limited by your imagination… Well, that and how much time you can get off work!

Get planning now! Read our Cycle Touring: Hints, Tips and Everything You Need to Know and head off on an adventure.

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