30 Apr How to Create A Bike Touring Itinerary
One of the most overlooked things people don’t really think or talk about as you go on a bike tour is an itinerary. I’m sure there are those who think, “I don’t need an itinerary. I come and go as I please.”
Those free spirits who are fortunate enough to have the time or finances to throw caution in the wind are but a few in existence from my experience. Majority of the riders and bike tourists out there have an itinerary that they are tracking against.
Some may be tracking it meticulously, while others are just using it as a guide to their travels. Whichever category you fall under, how are you creating your itinerary?
After planning and going on a few dozen tours myself and leading trips with Adventure Cycling as one of their tour leaders, I have my way of doing things.
In general, this is how I do things.
Step 1: I identify where I want to bike tour.
Step 2: I figure out where I will be starting the tour.
Step 3: I get the distance between start and end.
Step 4: I use the distance to figure out the number of days I am going to be on the road.
Step 5: I figure out my budget by using the number of days x my estimated daily budget. It’s $40 at the moment, which includes accommodations and food.
Then I get into the details and figure out where I’ll be staying on a day-to-day basis.
I use various tools like Adventure Cycling Association maps. Ride With GPS to plan my routes if there are no available maps for my trip or I use Strava to find common routes that cyclists may take in a city.
Once I get an idea of my route, I put in day-by-day start and stops and loosely fit that into my daily mileage requirement. It won’t always work out exactly, but it gives me a good guide for riding.
For example, I like to start the trip with lower mileage just to get warmed up, so I may do 40-60 mile days if the terrain is flat. If the terrain requires climbing, I plan on the lower side.
In the 2nd week, I am able to pile on the miles as I know my body would be ready for the challenge. You’ll commonly see 50-70 mile days. You may even see rare 90+ mile days. I try to minimize that as much as possible. If there are no other choices, I prepare for an entire day on the saddle.
This itinerary has details about all my accommodations and allows me to keep track of reservations and potential places to stay. My itinerary serves as a good guide to help me keep track of things. The end location changes often as I may not make it to a certain destination or I feel strong enough to cover more mileage.
For more details on how I do it, watch the video.
How Do You Do It?
Do you do things differently? Do you even use an itinerary? Please comment below on how you plan you tours. I’d love to hear how others do it and learn from your experiences.