Laura works in the marketing department at Boat Bike Tours and most recently traveled with her mother on the 5-day Premium Tulip Tour. Here’s her advice on how to prepare for a cycling cruise.
Have you booked a bike and barge tour but don’t know what to expect? Here are five good ways to prepare in advance, so that you can make the most of your trip:
1. Make sure you have a basic level of fitness
Of course, with a bit of grit you’ll get along, whatever your fitness level, but our tours are always more fun if you’ve done some cycling in advance. So in the months before your trip, get ready for action!
Take your bike out as much as you can; to work, to go shopping or when visiting friends. Or go on a weekend bike excursion to that local forest, lake or nature area that you always wanted to explore. Practice makes perfect. And you’ll be a lot fitter too.
2. If you’re uncertain about your fitness level, book an e-bike
Do you have doubts about your ability to cover distances by bike? Then make your life easier by booking an e-bike! You can request one when you book your tour, right up until a few weeks before the start date (depending on availability).
Remember that an e-bike still requires some cycling experience. It works like a normal bike – you do the pedaling – but it can go a lot faster. And don’t forget to use the gears; cycling uphill or with a headwind calls for low gears.
3. Forget about your diet – the food is amazing
Our chef on board the Magnifique II was committed to making us burst our pants by the end of the journey. He almost succeeded. Naturally that’s not the usual goal of a vacation, but it is important to eat well when you’re cycling every day. And to enjoy yourself.
So why worry about the extra calories or that amazingly delicious chocolate cake dessert? You’ll work them off the next day. And that buffet breakfast with croissants and full cream yoghurt…? You’ll need it! And if you feel guilty? Just take the long route!
4. Bring comfortable clothes for cycling
The Netherlands is famous for its changeable weather; mornings can start cool and foggy, then slowly change to sunny, then clouds at the end of the day can make it chilly again. You never know what the day will be like. Just bring clothes for all weather types and wear them in layers, so you can peel yourself like an onion.
And those funny pants with the padded part in between your legs? Really helpful against saddle pain. Even those cycling gloves that might seem over the top can contribute to a comfortable day of cycling.
5. Follow the leader – the perks of a fully-guided tour
Is it your first cycling trip? Then make your life easier by going on a fully-guided tour. With these tours you’re not obliged to ride with the tour leader and group all the time, so if you feel like exploring on your own you are welcome to do so.
But if you like the extra information your tour leader can provide, or the interesting stops they know along the way, then come along. It’s very relaxing just following the leader. Even if it’s your second, third or seventeenth journey!
So there you have it: five handy things to know before starting your cycling cruise.
You can also check our travel preparation webpage, or the boarding information email you receive after you’ve booked, for plenty more information. If you have questions concerning your tour, feel free to contact us!