For many cyclists, a road cycling holiday to the Alps is the ultimate dream. A holiday in the mountains, challenging rides and all with spectacular views. It can also be hard work on body, bike and mind. These insider hints and tips will make sure you are prepared.
Don’t forget to check our Ultimate Road Cycling Holiday Checklist to ensure you pack everything you need.
If you are off on an MTB Holiday, you’ll probably find out Ultimate Mountain Biking Holiday Checklist more useful.
If you can think of any more insider tips, we’d love to know. Please add them in the comments.
Van Support – If you are on an organised or guided trip, you will often find that your ride is supported; there will be a van that follows the riders, or meets them at certain spots throughout the day. This means you can store stuff in the van so you don’t have to carry everything with you, and also if you get tired or have a mechanical problem, you won’t have to walk up or down half an Alp to get home.
Van Bag – if your trip does have a support van, bring an extra bag to store things like a warm layer, waterproof, sunscreen, gels, food, etc. You’ll be able to access during the day, so you won’t need to carry as much on your person.
Feeling Hot Hot Hot – You will be up at altitude for much of the day, and exposed to those harsh sun rays for hours on end. Make sure you apply an ample amount of sunscreen in the morning, and top up as necessary. You may also need to bring after sun for the evenings. Don’t go overboard trying to get that perfect cycling tan on the first day. Sunburn is at best uncomfortable for cycling in, and at worst can rule you out of action for your holiday. Take care and cover up.
Cold Wind Blows – You’ll be whizzing down some crazy long descents, and as such the wind chill can be pretty epic. Popping on a windproof layer or race shell can keep you comfortable. You might also want to pop on a hat or buff to cover your ears a little, and long fingered gloves.
Changeable Weather – in the mountains the weather can change rapidly and dramatically. The day may start out sunny but end with epic thunderstorms and rain. Make sure you have waterproofs and layers to keep you protected. You’ll also need to have bike lights as the visibility on the roads can get bad during inclement weather.
Insurance – Make sure you have both an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) which you can order for free from the NHS website, and travel insurance. When you are purchasing travel insurance, make sure you are covered for road cycling. If you are participating in an organised event or race, you may need a higher level of cover.
Don’t forget to get your Cycling Holiday Travel Insurance sorted – read our guide.
Gas Canisters – Although pumps which take compressed air are handy and light, you aren’t allowed to take the gas canisters for them on a flight. Many holiday companies will have some for you available to buy when you arrived, but make sure you also take an old-school manual pump to keep you covered.
Tools and Pumps – If you are on an organised trip or in a chalet set up for cycling, you will most likely have access to a full workshop of tools plus a mechanic if you are lucky. This cuts down the amount of stuff you need to bring with you, but still make sure you have those emergency repair essentials with you in case of punctures or mechanical.
Energy, Protein and Re-hydration – Although there will be loads of food, drink and nutrition products available, if there are particular products you want because of tastes, allergies or intolerances it’s worth bringing a stash of these out with you. It’s also not a good idea to start experimenting with different nutrition products if you know that you are sensitive to changing them around.
Add your own insider hints and tips below!
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