When you work in an office all day, 5 days a week the weekends become a precious oasis. As a cyclist it becomes a time of freedom that can be spent outside, enjoying good weather and time for riding. Whether that is club rides, solo rides or mini adventures. The joy of being a cyclist is that the journey becomes the adventure. You no longer need to take a train somewhere, instead we ride!
For me, weekends are a perfect opportunity to have an adventure, from a one day 2 wheeled adventure to one that starts as I leave the office on a Friday to Sunday evening.
Following a few simple steps, you too can plan a mini cycling adventure that will transform the way you live your weekends and holidays going forward.
- Make a list of places you wish to visit
With so many weekends, bank holidays etc you want options. A trip for a regular weekend needs to be nearer home than those over a 4 day weekend. Make sure you have a mix of places that you can ride to/get the train to/fly to, to cover off all length of trip. What I would say is, start with a small weekend or single day adventure. My first was London>Brighton>London. Some might call that just a long ride but I did it solo in January – and it was definitely an adventure. Decide on your first destination, then….
- Pick a date
Don’t go too far in advance. The joy of using is a weekend is that you already have it off work. Choose something between 2 - 4 weeks away. Block it out and if you want to go with someone make sure they do too.
Book whatever is required. Whether that’s a train, accommodation, a restaurant for dinner. Once this is done, it means there is no going back. Obviously if you are planning a single day adventure this is harder, but maybe book a lunch spot, or plan to meet a friend, whether it’s for the ride, at the destination or even at the start line.
- Plan your route
Hopefully you will have a rough idea of distance from step 1, I usually create a mass of routes on Strava when I am brainstorming adventure destinations. Some end up being feasible, some I park for 6 months, a year or even further down the line. If you want to start ‘weekend-adventuring’ I cannot recommend Strava premium and the route planning function highly enough.
Plan your route – checking roads on Google Earth is a great way to ensure you don’t end up cycling on horribly busy roads all day.
When you are heading out further afield it is crucial to have the correct equipment, whether it’s super light packable camping kit, powerful long lasting lights and bike bags to put it all in. This can prove a minefield and expensive. Not ideal, especially when one of my main reasons for cycling adventures is because they are usually affordable. However, investing in some good kit is crucial and you will end up getting a lot of use out of it. Or if like me you have a lot of cyclist friends you can usually pool equipment from them, as long as they aren’t coming with you!
- Know your limitations
As with anything, an adventure can grow and develop from a sapling into an oak. This is why it is crucial to remember it is only a weekend and understand what your limitations are. I would always say push yourself, but equally don’t overstretch yourself. After all this is a holiday and the point is to love every second!
- Get excited, get others involved, get the lowdown
By now you have a plan, everything is booked, your route is created and your equipment is borrowed or bought. It’s time to get excited, invite others if you want, or get them to celebrate your achievement with you after. Do any extra research on the destination you want to do, places to eat/drink/visit.
- Be flexible and enjoy!
On the day, remember the plan is not finite, be flexible, especially when it comes to the weather and listening to your body. More importantly though – ENJOY it. Even through the darker patches when you are tired and dreaming of a hot chocolate on the sofa, remember you are having an adventure, you are making memories, living life and on Monday when asked about your weekend – just think of the story you can tell!
MY Top Destinations (some done, some still on the list)
Surrey (this might be where you often do your long cycles, perfect then for your first weekend/camping adventure if you are a bit anxious about going further afield)
Somerset (incl. Cheddar Gorge, Glastonbury Tor)
London > Amsterdam
My clothing recommendations (for a 1 day / overnight adventure) -
Comfortable padded cycling shorts, a quick-dry cycling jersey (3 pockets absolutely required), a mesh base layer (to be worn under the jersey), windproof Gilet, waterproof jacket (packable), arm warmers and cap (to keep the sun out of your eyes and face).
Any other recommendations, please share and HAPPY ADVENTURING!
Queen of the Mountains Ambassador, adventurer, blogger and keen cyclist Helena (aka The Fit Advisor) cycled to Bruges for Easter solo.