Top Biking Expeditions (and How to Prepare for Them)
This is a guest post from Jason L., who is a personal trainer and runs a personal training website, strongwell.org, that is dedicated to fitness for seniors. He recently went on his own cycling adventure and wanted to share what he learned in planning his trip…
You don’t have to veer off the beaten path to find adventure on two wheels. These gravel, dirt, and (sometimes) paved trails are family-friendly when you want to head out for a few hours but also offer ample opportunity for an all-day escapade. But first…
Prep for success
While there’s no better way to see the world than from the seat of the bike, it can take a toll on your heart, lungs, and joints. Before you pack, make sure you are up for the task. Condition your body by gradually increasing the amount of time you ride each day. For instance, if you have a few months to prepare, start riding seven to eight hours each week and eventually work your way up to a full 16 hours before your trip. You’ll also need to get your gear together. Pack light and check out these tips from the Adventure Cycling Association. Finally, don’t forget to safeguard your home while you’re away. HomeAdvisor goes into great detail on how to safeguard your property against crime here. While it might seem like an extensive list, many things, such as keeping the shrubbery trimmed, are basic home maintenance projects you should be doing anyway.
Even though you’re relying on foot power, you’ll have to fuel your body for a successful endeavor. Riding on gravel roads and dirt trails takes considerably more energy than a leisurely jaunt through the neighborhood. Each day, make sure you eat a good breakfast with plenty of protein and carbohydrates. Dave Briggs, an outdoor adventurist who prefers to travel by bike, says portable foods such as bananas, peanut butter, and canned fish, are excellent additions to your pack. These items, along with a few select others, keep your body strong and your mind sharp no matter what Mother Nature throws at you on your journey.
Island Line Rail Trail (Vermont)
Bicycling.com calls this trail, “the closest thing to walking on water.” Island Line runs through Lake Champlain and offers breathtaking views of the Adirondacks and Green Mountains.
Paseo del Bosque Trail (New Mexico)
At just 16 miles long, the Paseo del Bosque can be tackled in just a few hours and offers the option to cruise on the pavement or along the parallel gravel trail. It’s just west of downtown Albuquerque and passes the zoo, Rio Grande Botanical Gardens, and Albuquerque Conservation Center.
Great Allegheny Passage Trail (Pennsylvania)
More than 330 glorious (uninterrupted) miles connect Washington to Pittsburgh via the Great Allegheny Passage Trail and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath. During this multi-day journey, your entire family can see an ever-changing countryside via a comfortable, nearly-flat pathway that’s dotted with plenty of food and lodging options.
Acadia National Park (Maine)
For a relatively quick ride, consider the 45 miles of hard-packed gravel roads of Acadia National Park. The 16-foot-wide vehicle-free route was created by John D Rockefeller in 1913 and finished in 1940. Throughout the trip, you’ll be greeted by Somes Sound, a number of breathtaking waterfalls, and a postcard-perfect view of the granite coast.
Cowboy Trail (Nebraska)
Meandering between seven counties and featuring a mix of concrete and crushed stone, cowboy trial draws bikers and equestrian enthusiasts alike. More than 200 miles of trail will lead you through multiple terrains and past hundreds of different bridges.
Even if you don’t plan to get away for a cycle-centered vacation, you’re never far from a two-wheeled adventure. For more information on trails to explore, visit TrailLink.com. No matter where you’re going, remember, never travel alone, keep an emergency kit on hand, and pack an extra battery for your mobile phone.