Tips on how to enjoy cycling

If you have decided to drive kilometers on two wheels and get to know Slovakia from the bicycle saddle, go for it! However, do not underestimate the preparation. With our tips, you will fully enjoy your cycling trip.
How to choose bike and route

If you want to enjoy cycling, it's nice to think of a few things. First of all, it is the choice of the route to which the type of bicycle should be adapted. This means that you will not go on a forest route with a city or road bike with a challenging climb, because these bikes are not adapted to mountain terrain (mountain bikes are used for that). Be sure to choose the route according to how good a cyclist you are, do not overestimate your strength. It is not only the length of the route but also the terrain or the ascent. Another important issue is the inspection of the bicycle before the season or the ride itself, the inflation of the tires, the inspection of the brakes, etc. If you can't do these things yourself, they will be happy to help you with any problem in bike service. If all these conditions are done, let's deal with what to wear and what to take with you so that you are not surprised by an accident, dehydration, or a change in weather.

What to wear?

If you already have a suitable bike in good condition, think about what you want to wear. The ideal is cycling functional clothing, which will ensure that your body stays dry, even if you sweat. At the same time, these clothes are covered, thanks to which they do not interfere with you, but they do not put up air resistance, so they do not slow you down. Quality cycling leggings have a foam lining, which will ensure that your ass will not hurt even after several hours of sports. Although it looks like a beautiful day, it is advisable to pack a lightweight waterproof jacket, because especially in the mountains the weather can change quickly. Such a jacket should be long enough to cover your crosses when you are sitting in a forward bend on the bike, but at the same time not too long and wide so that it does not catch and slip. She should have a zipper and a hood. Remember that more layers of clothing mean more flexibility for you when the weather changes. And what about shoes? If you use cycling shoes, you have nothing to deal with. Cycling shoes are ideal and effective and there are simply no more suitable bicycle shoes. If you do not use them, it is advisable to wear light but strong sneakers with a not completely smooth sole, so that your foot does not slip off the pedal. When cycling, forget about low ankle socks. They look nice but do not protect the ankles from rubbing against the pedal and other parts of the bike. Don't forget cycling gloves, which can prevent sore calluses if you hold the handlebars for several hours. The gloves also absorb shocks, which are few in the mountainous terrain, and also have anti-slip properties, thanks to which your hand will not slip off the handlebars so quickly, especially when sweating.

SPF is an essential need

Another thing that weekend cyclists often underestimate is sun protection. Often, due to the movement of the exhalation when cycling, we do not realize that the sun is burning. Therefore, it often happens that people who cycle all day (especially on dikes where there is no shade) can get ugly burns. It is ideal to use a cream with SPF 50 and sweat resistance and apply it several times during the day, even if we do not feel that the sun is "extra" strong.
An even better option than the classic cream is a sunscreen spray in an aerosol, so you don't have to put on gloves and lubricate your hands when applying it, and its application is very fast. Of course, there should be a headgear (ideal helmet), sunglasses, and a cycling shirt - some are made with UV protection. Cycling only in a swimsuit may be sexy, but it is not a completely safe idea.

What do you pack with you?

Pack so that you do not suffer from the fact that you are missing something, but, of course, still be easy, because towing a load of a few kilograms is not a big deal either. If you carry a lot of things, about 60% of the load should be in the front, the remaining 40 % in the back. The bike will carry enough, but remember that you will step on the pedals with that load. If you're going on a day trip, not a multi-day trip, you don't need much. Just pack it well. If you are going on a multi-day hike, you will also find a cooking set, sleeping bag, mat, tent, and the like, which is probably better to write in a separate article.
So let's pack for a day trip, in one backpack. You should pack a waterproof jacket, a spare T-shirt, socks, a knife, sunglasses (not just against the sun, but because of the wind and flies), sun protection cream, paper towels, and wet wipes. If you want to bath, pack a swimsuit, towel, and a bag for wet swimwear and, depending on the type of trip, money for food or food to take with you, if there is no possibility to eat along the way. However, never underestimate this and always take something with you. Nuts, dried meat or protein bars, and an ionic drink are ideal for fast and high-quality energy replenishment.

Extra gadgets

Keep in mind that your bicycle may break down while driving, so be sure to pack a so-called "Duct tape" - a universal adhesive tape for a possible defect (it happens). In addition to the pump and the basic bicycle repair tools (hexagon sockets and riveter for a fallen chain), take a spare tube or wicks if you have tubeless tires. Keep this in mind especially when rocky terrain awaits you and you go "far from civilization".
Keep in mind, however, that an accident can happen anywhere on broken glass. A good tip is also a bicycle lock if you have to walk away from it for a while. It's nice to have a small first aid kit or a hard case for your mobile phone, which will ensure that it doesn't break in the event of a fall. And one more thing that may seem obvious, but it's not always the case - always go cycling with a charged mobile phone. You never know what and where might happen, and being able to call for help or get to the next one may come in handy one day.

And what about water?

A few lines deserve hydration during cycling, because its neglect can ruin the whole trip and neither the perfect bike nor super functional clothes will help us. About ten minutes before the trip we should drink 2 to 3 dl of water. Thanks to that, we won't feel thirsty right after a few pedaling. Then we should drink about 2 dl of water every half hour, so if we go on a 4-hour trip, we need at least 1.6 liters of water, if for a 6-hour trip, then at least 2.4 liters. If you cannot take such an amount of water with you, you need to plan your route so that you have a buffet, a restaurant, or a mountain well with drinking water along the way. Regular drinking avoids dehydration, fatigue, and exhaustion, which can occur very quickly during active movement, especially when it is warm. Alcohol should be an absolute taboo on the bicycle, which not only dries up the body, increases the probability of an accident, but also makes it significantly harder to step on.

(Photo: Bratislava Tourist Board)