Istria: the answer for enthusiastic cyclists

What does an avid cyclist want for their cycling vacation? Surely being able to reach his chosen destination with his car and bicycle, and of course the trip should not take more than 3-4 hours. He is undoubtedly interested in the various and fascinating trails in the area-attractive, well-marked, in good condition, with some adventurous offerings. Very good quality maps and GPX tracks would be appreciated. A good offer of lodging, an interesting venue, and good food would also bode well.

What is the solution?

Not far from Trieste, a few hours’ drive from almost anywhere in northern Italy,Istria is easily accessible and a destination to visit with friends or family. Excellent accommodations of all kinds can be found here, from large hotels to family-friendly boutique hotels to private accommodations.

Some cyclists, instead of standard accommodations prefer specialized facilities, and here you can choose from more than 130 Istra Bike&Bed facilities, which know how to meet the needs of every cyclist. In such facilities it is possible to safely store bikes and equipment in an enclosed, secure space and get information and advice on how to organize your vacation.

Istria bike
Istria bike

Istria is especially proud of its more than 160 bike paths-from easy, family-friendly ones to difficult ones for the more experienced; from short to long routes with few or many climbs; for MTB, trekking, or road bikes. On the official website www.istria-bike.com you can find GPX tracks and details, online maps, and materials to consult before leaving for vacation.

Most routes, identifiable by specific numbers, are marked with standard signage. Deliberately some parts of the trails have not been marked – to leave the fun of wandering around in nature, to have a little harmless adventure!

For the inexperienced and for families, the site’s Family&Recreation category identifies easy routes up to 13 kilometers long that are easy and technically undemanding. Busy roads are avoided completely and emphasis is placed on safety.

Planning your vacation in Istria

Regardless of the data available online, for greater planning and enjoyment while cycling, use the excellent cycling maps that cover the entire Istrian peninsula and can be found free of charge in the offices of local tourist boards.

In Istria, the quality of specialized service providers offering services needed by even the most demanding services needed by has reached high levels over the past decade. First and foremost, we are talking about bicycle rental services of all types (road, MTB, e-bike, gravel), bicycle assistance in case of breakdown, fast transportation to and from a location as well as for return to accommodation in case of breakdown. But, if you don’t feel comfortable cycling alone on unfamiliar trails, there are specialized agencies with trained bicycle tour guides at your disposal; bicycle guides have been receiving official professional training since 2008 according to national standards. Bicycle guides are local people who know even the most hidden and unknown trails, happy to create excursions tailored to your needs and desires.

For more demanding cyclists there are specialized trails designed for enduro and freeride. Try the enduro trails around Groznjan that give the thrill of big descents. Also, in the Ćićarija area there are quite challenging MTB circular routes, mostly on single-trail trails, dedicated only to experienced cyclists!

For the latter, there is also the Rabac bike park with numerous descents for MTB cyclists, where full-suspension bikes are best used. Only flaw? It is not appropriate for families.

Istria bike
Istria bike

Decommissioned railroads

The history of cycling in Istria would be incomplete without mentioning the two routes built on former railroad tracks: the Parenzana and the Štrika.

The Parenzana is a decommissioned narrow-gauge railway (1902-1935) that runs from Trieste, through Slovenia, and to Porec. In the Croatian part of Istria, this is 78 kilometers to be covered with MTB bicycles, as the route is mainly unpaved. The route starts at the border with Slovenia, from Plovania, and ends precisely in Porec, passing through beautiful areas of unspoiled nature, small villages, tunnels and viaducts. With its gentle ascents (which used to be traveled by the small locomotive), it is suitable for everyone, even the less experienced. For more details on the history of this railway or the current bicycle route there is the official website – www.parenzana.net.

The Štrika is also a bicycle and pedestrian path that follows the route of a former railway line, the one between Kanfanar and Rovinj, which is about 20 kilometers long. This route was made a few years ago and connects the interior of Istria with the charming town of Rovinj, and is definitely a recommended section to visit. Because of its length, it can be traveled in a day, and one can return independently to the starting point (taking the same route or some dirt paths that run parallel).

Istria by road
Istria by road

Finally

Among the visitors there may also be some who are less interested in biking; for those, one of the walking and hiking trails is recommended. Among the ninety trails (and 20 mountain trails) scattered throughout Istria, there is something for everyone. As with cyclists, all content is available at www.istria-trails.com.

All other information on cultural attractions, trivia, leisure and trip planning can be found on the official website www.istra.com.

It is possible to have a pleasant and enjoyable vacation in Istria, a place to return to and spend unforgettable time.

vacanze in bici in turchia cappadoccia

Explore Türkiye by bike with fully supported cycling holidays

Imagine a holiday where you cycle along the stunning landscape of Türkiye, surrounded by a community of passionate cyclists. Expert guides lead the way, ensuring an unforgettable experience, all within the lap of luxury.

Recently, Boostcamp, revered as Türkiye’s leading cycling holiday provider, is gearing up for a series of cycling “Camps&Vacations” that promise an immersive journey through the diverse landscapes of Türkiye. Tailored for amateur cyclists, these holidays are distinguished by their luxurious accommodations, providing a stylish and comfortable exploration of Türkiye’s scenic beauty. The driving force behind Boostcamp consists of some of Türkiye’s most skilled and experienced cyclists, offering a unique opportunity for participants of all levels to enjoy challenging rides and glean insights directly from the country’s cycling pros.

cycling vacations in turkey organized tours

Boostcamp’s cycling holiday packages pledge exhilarating rides through Türkiye’s spectacular landscapes. With approximately five cycling retreats organized each year, participants can choose from daily routes that wind through captivating destinations, tailoring their experience to their own capabilities. Accompanied by an expert trainer and a support vehicle, cyclists can enjoy the journey with peace of mind, knowing mechanical or emergency assistance is readily available. While no specific skill level is mandated, participants are expected to be proficient in riding with SPD pedals and have prior experience cycling in groups.

Boostcamp organizes cycling holidays in the Turkish Riviera, Aegean, Gallipoli, Cappadocia, and the Black Sea region. Each program spans four to five days and unfolds in a five-star hotel setting. Beyond the exhilarating cycling experiences, these vacations encompass daily recovery sessions, yoga, strenght training workshops, seminars, and evening dinners. Offering more than just a cycling adventure, these vacations provide an opportunity to forge connections with like-minded enthusiasts from around the globe, all against the backdrop of Türkiye’s enticing destinations.

cycling vacations in turkey

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist seeking a new challenge or a leisure rider yearning for a luxurious exploration, Boostcamp’s cycling holidays are a unique blend of physical activity, relaxation, and cultural immersion. Join the upcoming series and let the pedals lead you through an unforgettable Turkish journey.

Marmaris, the revenge on the mountains

The “Revenge on the Mountains” program, starting on March 26, kicks off the series with a five-day cycling extravaganza along the southern coast of Marmaris. Covering 500 kilometers and challenging climbs reaching 8,000 meters, the courses range from coastal roads to mountain ascents flanked by the region’s distinctive pine trees.

Each day, cyclists cover approximately 60 to 100 kilometers to different destinations surrounding Marmaris. For instance, the first day’s ride leads to Orhaniye, the second day offers options between a long ride on Sakar Pass or from Marmaris to Gökova. The full program includes afternoon yoga and mobility sessions, workshops, nightly dinners, a Saturday evening party, and daily Boostcamp meetings to discuss the rides and all things cycling.

Boostcamp’s cycling holidays cater specifically to urban cycling enthusiasts seeking challenges, new routes, and exploration. These trips provide a unique blend of exercise, regional cuisine, and top-notch accommodation, along with daily recovery sessions, workshops, seminars, and shared dinners – fostering genuine connections among like-minded individuals from around the globe.

organized bike tours for groups in turkey

For information about Boostcamp Marmaris, March 26-30, 2024, visit: boostcamplive.com

is more than a bike tour

Kerim Sukan, the owner of the Boostcamp affirms “I envisioned Boostcamp as more than just a cycle tour. It’s a fusion of sport and pleasure, a harmonious blend that brings together the cycling community and local heritage. Through active holiday packages, we aim to provide an opportunity for those seeking to discover new territories, guided by experts both on and off the bike. It’s not just cycling; it’s an immersive experience, where every pedal stroke creates a new memory of exploration and connection.” Kerim is also the founder of the race “Queens” together with Santini and he is the organizer of “Istanbul 24h”, the 24 Hours Cycling Race. Kerim is also the founder of the “Queens” race together with Santini and is the organizer of the“Istanbul 24h.”

Create your own bike trip in Türkiye

Boostcamp provides cycling holidays for those who are seeking personalized tours aligned with their preferences: meticulously tailored, including non-riding activities, and travel preferences.

For more details on upcoming tours, visit boostcamplive.com

Tuscany by bicycle on an endless journey

The dust that rises lightly a second before we hear the crunch of tires on gravel, the scent of saltiness in the air in the early morning hours as we travel up and down hills that give a glimpse of the sea. The enveloping resin of beech and chestnut trees as we pass through the forests of Mount Amiata, Mugello and the Apuan Alps.

The awe and admiration that very often require us to draw breath, to slow down the pace of travel to really look at the landscape, the scenery that has suddenly revealed itself, unexpected though familiar, and always dazzlingly beautiful.

The murmur that greets us at the gates of the village before a stop dedicated to flavors. The excitement and adrenaline that wakes us up before a cycling event that involves a friendly challenge with our teammates or a challenge with ourselves.

We are in Tuscany and we are pedaling!

Etruscan Coast-Populonia-photo by Enrico-Caracciolo
Etruscan Coast Populonia photo by Enrico Caracciolo

The Atlas

Tuscany is the first region to create the Atlas of cycling routes. CCicloways, permanent low-traffic routes, and cycle routes are the stars of theAtlas of Bicycle Routes. A magnificent narrative that will include up to 20,000 km of the region’s routes, revealed as a fabric, a sometimes sparser and sometimes denser weave that allows us to understand through the magnifying glass of the bicycle, the gentleness of the landscapes and climate, the harmonious relationship between man and the environment, the centuries-old history, the experience of culture and beauty, all within reach of the pedal.

The routes are divided by difficulty, type of bicycle and location, designed and created by experienced cyclists and guides taking into account natural beauty, passion for the area and traditions, food and wine, and the heritage of cities of art and authentic villages.

The events

Passion for cycling, curiosity about the area, wanting to meet local communities and traditions, respect for the environment, and a desire for sustainable travel are some of the motivations that lead us to cycle in Tuscany. So is wanting to feel part of a community by participating in an event with a strong identity character like many of those on the Tuscan calendar. Among the most iconic The Eroica which celebrated its 25th anniversary, Strade Bianche which sees professionals and amateurs from around the world gather in Siena on the first weekend of March, or self-supported events such as the Tuscany Trail which celebrates its 10th edition this year with thousands of fans from more than 40 countries around the world.

Planning the trip

The journey never starts when we physically leave, but it starts much earlier, when we dream it and when we plan it. Our journey in Tuscany begins on theAtlas, with dreams of traveling new roads and new places, perhaps inspired by the sense of freedom that two wheels give, by the story, the photo, the event we encounter while exploring and planning it on VisitTuscany

Pedaling off-the-beaten-track roads that satisfy our sense of discovery, services along the routes, and detailed traces of each route make it possible to turn the dream of an immersive, in-touch vacation with the soul of places and people into reality.

A dense network of operators contribute to such a dream and become facilitators for the complete organization, from the single experience, to the day tour, to the week-long vacation or sports event always with the bicycle as the protagonist of our emotions.


VisitTuscany
is our destination before we leave, Tuscany our destination for cycling, for being surprised by the scents, the changing colors and scenery, for alternating the pleasure of cycling with the pleasure of experiencing Italian life, good food and meeting local communities.

Tuscany Etruscan Coast
Etruscan Coast

Where to go?

We would like to set out on the Reclamation Trail, arriving by train, to travel 60 kilometers of peace and tranquility, crossing the Valdichiana Senese and Aretina, observing the changing landscape, the agricultural crops, how the hand of man has reclaimed these lands, leaving us enchanted by the colors of Lake Chiusi and the Nature Reserve of Lake Montepulciano.

We would like to set out to ride in the postcard that the world knows as the Monumental Avenue of the Cypresses of Bolgheri, to delve into the inner alleys of the castle of the same name, resume the Wine Route by meeting Giusuè Carducci at his home in Castagneto and continue the 44-kilometer loop of many flavors between land and sea that the Etruscan Coast can give.

We would like to set out for the mountains, the ones that get white in winter and the rest of the year are discovered by mountain biking, telling about sports, history and nature. Starting from Abetone Pass alternating between nature and culture with the Museum of the Gothic Line in Pianosinatico
and the Museum of the People of the Pistoian Apennines
to conclude theAbetone Ring with the Museum of Skiing.

Tuscany Pistoia Mountains
Tuscany Pistoia Mountains

We would like to set out on the Ways of Dante in Tuscany, in the footsteps of the great poet, perhaps alternating the two-wheelers with the historic train of the same name that we can intertwine at some points along the route and always loading the bike on the same. Starting from Florence, following the many suggestions that the cultural and historical itinerary offers us to Marradi, retracing its places and works.

We would like to leave for? Anywhere in Tuscany to ride in company or solo, to slow the speed of thoughts on a timeless journey.

Valtellina, the paradise of two wheels!

In the north of Lombardy, on the border with Switzerland, here is Valtellina (i.e., the province of Sondrio), an area that offers endless possibilities for nature and sports lovers, primarily bike enthusiasts. For those who want to spend a vacation on two wheels, in fact, Valtellina has hundreds of kilometers of routes for all tastes. From the Sentiero Valtellina, a 114-km-long, flat, family-friendly bicycle and pedestrian path from Bormio to Lake Como, to the 42-km-long Valchiavenna Ciclabile, which took 3rd place in the Italian Green Road Awards 2022.

From the great alpine passes of Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo (just to name the most famous) that have written the history of road cycling to MTB or e-bike routes immersed in the wildest nature and embraced by the Rhaetian and Orobian Alps.

The routes therefore vary from easier to more challenging routes, from Madesimo to Livigno, from Valmalenco to Bormio via Aprica, giving everyone the opportunity to fully experience Valtellina, with its magical landscapes and superb panoramic mountain views. And in autumn, when the landscapes are colored with a thousand shades, here are the Wine Bike Tours that allow you to discover the wine side of Valtellina.

Photo by Roberto Ganassa Click Alps Valtellina
Valtellina Trail Photo by Roberto Ganassa Click Alps

For those who would instead like to try an all-around green itinerary, the Raetica Classica is a loop route linking Valtellina with Switzerland that can be enjoyed by bicycle but also by public transportation, thus providing an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Alps.

And between one ride and the next, a stop at local mountain huts, farmhouses and restaurants to taste local products is a must: the Bresaola della Valtellina IGP, rich in protein and low in fat (ideal for sportsmen), the famous dop-labeled cheeses such as Valtellina Casera and Bitto to the ever-present pizzoccheri della Valtellina, the main dish of the cuisine and ideal to accompany with a glass of Valtellina Superiore or Sfursat, both DOCG and symbols of the local wine tradition.

BIKE SKILLS CENTER AND BIKE PARK

Young and old alike can try their hand at starting mtb riding or perfecting their technique in the Bike Skills Center or, for people looking for more adrenaline-pumping experiences, the Bike Park along the whole Valtellina territory represent the right test bed: there are in fact 5 “high voltage” circuits, in Bormio, in Valmalenco, in Madesimo and no less than two in Livigno (Mottolino and Carosello 3000), which host trails of different levels of difficulty, downhill, jump area and gravity zone.

Bormio Bike Park
Bormio Bike Park

ENJOY STELVIO VALTELLINA – ALPINE PASSES CLOSE TO TRAFFIC

Cyclists, tourists and hikers can safely enjoy the famous alpine passes – Stelvio, Gavia, Mortirolo, Cancano, ascent to Campo Moro, the Spluga Pass, the Forcola Pass and the San Marco Pass – which close to traffic motorized allowing people to experience the mountains fully, listening to the sounds of nature without the hassle of traffic. This initiative, which began six years ago now at the initiative of the Stelvio National Park, involves closing the passes for as many as 14 dates in June, July and September. Enjoy Stelvio Valtellina is a free, non-competitive, no-registration event: the schedule of pass closures is available at https://www.valtellina.it/enjoy-stelvio-valtellina

Road Cycling - Stelvio Pass
Road Cycling – Stelvio Pass

SAVE THE DATE! A RICH CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Valtellina is the ideal bike friendly destination also thanks to the many events to take part in and the dense network of services dedicated to the bike world: from specialized stores to rental services without forgetting the many associations and guides that organize excursions throughout the territory.

From the Valtellina Ebike Festival on May 27/28 to the Granfondo Stelvio Santini on June 4, from the Granfondo Gavia Mortirolo on June 25 to the Alta Valtellina Bike Marathon on July 29, from the Re Stelvio Mapei on July 9 to the Gravel Marathon Valle Spluga on September 17: check out the calendar of major road cycling events for summer 2023 on https://www.valtellina.it/it/bike/ciclismo-su-strada/gare or visit the events page for MTB https://www.valtellina.it/it/bike/mountain-bike/gare-ed-eventi

Casa BART: the Bike Hotel at the foot of the Maira Valley

What happens when passion intersects with the desire to transform your life This is the story of Casa BART, a B&B that annually welcomes hundreds of guests who enjoy sports vacations in the Maira Valley. It specializes in providing services dedicated to cycling tourism.

Villar San Costanzo: This must be the place

While the Cuneo area offers an ideal terrain for cycling, boasting miles of roads that ignite excitement and quicken the pulse of bike enthusiasts, Villar San Costanzo stands as a small town strategically positioned at the nexus of various cycling destinations and more. From there, one can access legendary destinations that have etched their place in cycling history, spanning from Val Maira to Val Varaita and Val Grana. Moreover, it offers the opportunity to continue along the EuroVelo 8 route, dedicated to exploring the Mediterranean.

Casa Bart Augusta e Luca
Casa Bart Augusta e Luca

Augusta, a former marketing manager, and Luca, an ISEF graduate and athletic trainer, had no doubts when they found themselves choosing where to place their buen retiro dedicated to biking: this must be the place.

Casa Bart: love and bike

Born from the passion for cycling that brought Augusta and Luca together, leading to their marriage, Casa BART (which takes its name from the nickname used at Luca’s ISEF, his surname being Bartolini) emerges with all the services that they, as cycling enthusiasts, have experienced (or wished to experience) during their bike journeys. At their place, whoever arrives by bike or bicycle finds an alarmed bike room and a small bike repair room, the e-bike charging, bike rental, abike wash area, laundry, gym and massage, a super breakfast. Moreover you have the chance to request snacks for your trips as well as dine-in, transfer services, early and late check-in.
But at Casa BART you can really breathe the love for the two wheels. If Augusta channels her creativity in the kitchen, Luca shines as an exceptional Bike Manager. His expertise ranges from offering simple advice to discovering and sharing routes that predominantly traverse peaceful back roads, away from heavy traffic. He also can providie hands-on guidance, serving as a Bicycle Tour Guide for the Piedmont Region.

Casa Bart bike room
Casa Bart bike room

Gravel and Cycling Holidays

Being located in the lower valley, at 620 m asl, the opportunities for cycling around Casa BART are many and practicable almost year-round.
Riding a gravel or touring bike suitable for mixed terrains, there are easy and pedal-friendly half-day excursions, as well as longer rides that include substantial elevation gain. These journeys can range from extended rides to multi-stage trips, all aimed at discovering the territory.
Have you ever visited the Saluzzo plain during the period of peach and apple blossom? The Saluzzo area is renowned for its fruit crops: kiwis, apples and peaches, in fact. From March to May, the countryside is dyed in shades of pink and then white, and to slowly traverse the secondary roads that run alongside the orchards is akin to witnessing the rebirth of nature.
For those who, instead, love the history of small villages, a bit of elevation and cycling through the woods, the path of the Antiche Borgate (Ancient Hamlets) is an itinerary that leads to the discovery of some of the 93 hamlets that comprised the municipality of Roccabruna, located a few kilometers from Villar San Costanzo An intriguing loop that, before returning to Casa BART, includes the medieval village of Dronero, with its Devil’s Bridge, the ancient Riviera Mill dating back to the 1400s and still operational, and the suspended Tibetan bridge, hanging 20 meters above the Maira stream.
And if you love adventure, joviality, the mingling of different languages and dialects that, between a beer and an herbal tea under a starry sky, exchange tales of legendary bike journeys, know that Villar San Costanzo is grazed each year by the Turin-Nice Rally, a 700 km permanent itinerary from Turin to Nice, crossing the Ligurian, Cottian, and Maritime Alps.

Maira Valley Casa Bart
Maira Valley around Casa Bart

Road cycling and mountain biking

If you love climbing, asphalt, and challenging your limits, know that in the province of Cuneo, there are some of the climbs made famous by the Giro d’Italia: Colle dell’Agnello, Colle Fauniera, and Pian del Re. Not to mention the Colle della Maddalena and the Colle di Sampeyre. And if you approach climbs with an “ethical” mindset, all these legendary ascents are within a 50 km radius from Casa BART.
Every year in June, thousands of cyclists from around the world gather in Cuneo for the Granfondo Fausto Coppi, one of the toughest and most challenging races in Italy.
Since Luca and Augusta’s personal bike room also accommodates two mountain bikes, fun for wider tires is not overlooked, even in the lower valley.
The Strada dei Cannoni (Road of Cannons) is an iconic military road, built along the ridge between Valle Maira and Valle Varaita. It starts directly from Casa BART, reaching 2300 meters over a stretch of 56 km. Its main feature is the breathtaking panorama of the Maritime Alps and the Cottian Alps that can be enjoyed while traversing it.
Staying a bit lower but favored by its exposure, making it passable from March to September, Mount Pagliano offers several paths immersed in chestnut woods, fruit trees, and vineyards, many featuring varieties unique to this area, such as the Round Apricot P.A.T. of Costigliole di Saluzzo and the Quagliano grape.

The cyclist’s diet

How to feed yourself during a bike ride? The answers can be many, as they depend on many factors: food preferences, food availability, places crossed. However, there are some basic rules we can apply.

A bicycle tourist spends most of his or her day in the saddle, and–trying to average it out–we can approximate the caloric consumption of a bicycle trip around 500 kcal/hour, which for 10 hours of pedaling makes 5,000 kcal/day. This is a decidedly large share of energy consumption that the body is not used to. Properly managing nutrition while traveling is therefore crucial, for a number of reasons:

    • Avoid suffering from gastrointestinal disorders;
    • Accelerates post-pedaling recovery;
    • allows us to optimize our caloric intake and provide the macronutrients we need;
    • reduces the risk of fatigue due to digestion.

In particular, the issue of digestion is crucial, as this is a process that requires blood flow, which would then be missed by the muscles. Therefore, it is necessary to diet properly during a bike ride. Let’s take a look together at what is the proper diet of the bicycle rider, understood as a healthy and varied dietary regimen to ensure that the body of the cyclist gets the right amount of calories as needed.

Managing macronutrients

Let’s start with the breakdown of the macronutrients which are: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. In general, bicycle travelers should base their diet on carbohydrates, since they are the body’s favorite macronutrients for support long-term efforts.

In addition, muscle glycogen (i.e., the form by which carbohydrates are stored in the muscle) is completely depleted at the end of a ride. The carbohydrate replenishment will be critical for our bodies to resynthesize muscle glycogen during the evening and night due to resting after the cycling leg of the day.

Another macronutrient that should not be overlooked is the protein. Cyclists are convinced that protein is only needed for power sports, but this is not the case. Proteins are the main constituents of muscle. Muscles are put to the test during an aerobic endurance physical activity such as a leg of a bike ride.

Once muscle glycogen is depleted (after 2-3 hours of cycling), the body begins to catabolize muscle protein in order to obtain available energy, sacrificing muscle mass. To understand this situation, just look at professional cyclists: they have lean but certainly not muscular physiques. In addition, protein promotes post-pedaling recovery.

Cyclist's diet
Cyclist’s diet

Finally, although it is not a macronutrient, let’s talk about thewater. Progressive dehydration occurs during a bicycle ride due to sweat, saliva expulsion, and by conduction. Dehydration makes the blood more viscous, so it is thicker to pump, requiring extra work from the heart (which usually increases beats). For this hydrating properly is crucial during a bike ride.

Let us now move from theory to practice and see what is the proper diet of a bicycle touring rider and how one should diet during a bicycle trip.

Calculate the caloric intake

Obviously we cannot expect to ingest 5,000 kcal a day to compensate for those burned. It would be unworkable and impractical. During a bike ride we will therefore be in a caloric deficit regime. But we can still optimize consumption of the macronutrients we need. We can do some simple calculations. Let’s say we want to introduce 3,000 kcal per day in order to sustain our daily caloric consumption. How can we determine the breakdown of macronutrients? In this way. First, let us remember what the caloric intake of the various macronutrients is:

    • 1 gram of carbohydrates produces 4 kcal;
    • 1 gram of protein produces 4 kcal;
    • 1 gram of fat produces 9 kcal;

With this scheme well in mind, let’s move on to calculate our caloric intake for each macronutrient. Let’s start with protein. To achieve proper replenishment, we keep daily protein high: roughly speaking, it should provide about 30 percent of total energy, with an intake of 2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Imagine Luke, 37 years old and 70 kg in weight. He would then need 70 x 2.5 = 175 grams of protein per day. That multiplied by 4 kcal makes 700 kcal of protein per day.

Nutrition in bicycle touring
Nutrition in bicycle touring

Now let’s move on to fats. The rest of the daily energy share will be conveyed on fats, which will be at 20 percent of the total energy and thus 3,000 kcal x 0.2 for a total of 600 kcal. If we divide this figure by 9 kcal of energy (per gram of fat), we get 67 grams of fat per day.

Finally, the rest is all about carbohydrates. We have 1,700 kcal per day, which converted to grams-that is, divided by 4 kcal-makes 425 grams per day.

Summarizing Luca’s calorie management, each day should be:

MacronutrientsCaloriesGramsPercentage
Carbohydrates1700 kcal425 gr50%
Protein700 kcal175 gr30%
Fats600 kcal67 g20%
General caloric intake3000 kcal667 gr100%

The distribution of meals

When we talk about how to feed ourselves during a bike ride, it is not only the amount of food we ingest that matters but also its distribution throughout the day. Let’s look at how to distribute meals.

Breakfast: must provide a good energy quota, because it is the meal that will sustain the entire ride. It should be done at least an hour before getting on the saddle, so that the digestive processes are already advanced and do not go to sequester blood that needs to be sent to the muscles. In this phase we prioritize slow-release carbohydrates and protein;

Nutrients
Nutrients

Lunch: Lunch should be light. Lucrative lunches run up a far bigger bill than cheap. Let’s stay light and try to eat only a first or second course, then we’ll make up for it in the evening.

Dinner: The purpose of dinner is to replenish protein (then go to offset those missing from the tally). In addition, we need to take carbohydrates that will allow us to initiate glycogen synthesis. In this case we can dine on a slow-release carbohydrate first course (pasta or rice) accompanied by a protein second course (meat, eggs, or legumes).

Supplementation: During the travel day we should mainly ingest fast-assimilating carbohydrates, so that we have available energy once glycogen is depleted and keep catabolic processes at bay in the muscles. In this case the foods rich in fructose are optimal. Alternatively, we can take maltodextrin supplements.

Hydration: If the weather is cold, all you need is a water bottle with something energetic (such as maltodextrins, in fact) dissolved inside. On the other hand, if it is very hot, it is better to have a water bottle with maltodextrins plus mineral salts and a water bottle of just water so that you can cool your face and head.

We conclude with a series of practical tips on how to fuel yourself during a bike ride:

    • If you can (depending on where in the world you are) try to eat foods you are already used to, to avoid intestinal problems;
    • Limit alcohol. Alcohol is a toxin that slows post-pedaling recovery;
    • Do not allow yourself to obsess over nutrition but try to use common sense and manage meal distribution properly;
    • Hydration is important; do not underestimate it;
    • Try, as much as possible, to take “real” foods and use supplementation (bars, gels, and others) only when necessary.

 

Opening photo: Credits TS – Beer

What to do if it rains during the bike ride?

Traveling by bicycle is as close as you can get to the concept of freedom on the road because it leaves room for improvisation, changes of route and ideas. However, one cannot forget that a spirit of adaptation is needed; in fact, the unexpected is always just around the corner. The contingency we are talking about today is meteorological: rain, which can come suddenly. We leave here some useful tips for dealing with it while traveling by bicycle.

Clothing

Choosing items to take on a trip is important. To avoid getting soaked, consider having the rightclothing with you that meets two characteristics: waterproof and breathable. There is a wide selection of technical garments that meet these needs, in every price range. A rain set, including everything from helmet to shoes, that covers well, doesn’t make us sweat and protects us from the elements will make every cycle-ride more comfortable. The mantra “wear several layers of clothing” always remains valid so that we can modulate the degree of protection we want to have but, remember that having a waterproof outer garment with us is essential.

Bike protection

To prevent rain-soaked wheels from raising water and getting mud all over the bike and luggage, and most importantly, getting mud all over your back, mud flaps can be very useful. On more modern travel and gravel bikes, there is plenty of space to install them and keep them attached to the frame at all times, however, it is also possible to choose detachable/extendable fenders that can be mounted if needed.

Mudguards

On the other hand, if we want to protect the components and avoid oxidation and premature wear and tear, we need to think about this before departure. Then remember to lubricate the mechanical parts of the bike with suitable greases (copper for threads, lithium for bearings) that protect against rain runoff. You also need to have a protective film of oil suitable for wet weather on the chain to keep it running smoothly even in rainy weather. If possible, take a packet of chain lubricant with you so that you can take action even while traveling.

Luggage

There are so many types of bags and the choice is subjective, from classic
pannier
on the rack, to bikepacking on the frame through solutions that also take advantage of the front fork. In any case, when traveling by bike, the goal should be to keep things dry in case of rain, sudden or otherwise. How to do it? One option is to opt for waterproof luggage (more expensive and high-performance) while the other is to equip non-waterproof bags with rain covers. Of course, a mix of bags is also permissible waterproof bags (e.g., the front handlebar one with personal items and food) and other traditional bags. The important thing is to keep things in the bags well separated from each other, such as in airtight plastic bags, balancing the load so that you have the ability to take action in case of rain without getting your clothes and everything else wet.

Protecting luggage on a bicycle

How to ride in the wet

It is neither difficult nor dangerous, but care must be taken because water can hide road pitfalls such as potholes, so certain aspects must be taken into consideration:

  • Focus. Always look in front of you, be aware of the road (don’t spy on your smartphone!), because slippery pavement and poor visibility can create problems.
  • Obstacles. Avoid manholes and potholes. The former are slippery and could cause you to fall off, in the latter especially on a slippery road or muddy dirt road, the bike could “plant itself.” Slow your pace and dodge obstacles, give us a listen.
  • Brakes. When braking, avoid extreme pinching; instead of braking suddenly, give small taps to the brake, alternating front and rear. You will stop at the same time and in the same amount of space but avoid blocking the wheels.

In conclusion, don’t be surprised by the rain! If you act in advance with the right tricks you will be able to enjoy even riding under water without getting wet and keeping your luggage dry.

Traveling with your own bicycle in tow

What are the cautions for traveling with your bicycle in tow?

Traveling around the world with your bicycle in tow gives one the opportunity to discover new places. It is certainly nice to take along a vehicle that one has carefully chosen, given a name to, and is familiar with, but in order to be able to transport one’s bicycle in tow, one must know the regulations of the different means of transportation, the costs, the modes, and the times when this is allowed.

Intermodality, the ability to combine a bicycle with another mode of transportation, is a condition that varies depending on the type you choose and the country you want to visit by bicycle: therefore, it is good to inquire before leaving, consulting the documentation that carriers and local Tourism Boards make available to bicycle tourists, because this need is increasingly present in travel requests, and in recent years the supply and transportation options have also multiplied.

Here we can make a quick focus of the general advice to follow, based on the means of transportation, keeping in mind that this information is subject to change and it is always a good idea to check before leaving by contacting the service provider directly.

By airplane

It is usually required that the bike be packed carefully and/or stored in a specific bag, without pedals and other sharp protruding parts, with the inner tubes deflated for obvious pressurization reasons. An ever-prevailing caution is to protect the most delicate parts such as the transmission with packing material and lock moving parts such as the handlebars. Fares vary widely (even by weight) and range from about 10 euros for shorter routes to rise to even more than 100 euros: but if we have purchased a discounted airline ticket in good time, it may be worth investing in this service.

And once they disembark at the airport? For folding – and folding – bikes, transportation on trains, subway lines, and public transportation is usually free of charge and without time restrictions: however, if we have a traditional bike with us, we must always refer to the internal regulations of each transportation company. For example, in Italy if disassembled and stored in a bag with a maximum size of 110x80x40 centimeters a bike can travel as free luggage almost anywhere. But if it is mounted and rideable, things change.

By train

A lot depends on the type of train and especially on the country: on local/regional ones there are usually more spaces to be able to carry the bike and, when provided, a separate ticket must be purchased; in other cases, bike-transport is free, but there may be limitations depending on how crowded the train is. On intercity or high-speed trains, transporting a traditional mounted, unpacked bike is usually provided by purchasing a ticket and reserving a seat; therefore, to avoid being stranded, one should inquire beforehand.

Travel by bike and train
Travel by bike and train

In the subway

The main issue, given that the subway is a high-capacity means of public transportation, concerns the timetable: there are often restrictions during peak hours, and bicycles usually pay a separate fare. Attention must also be paid to where to place the bike: in some cases there are designated carriages with bike racks and special pictogram signage on the outside, or boarding with bikes in tow is allowed only in the first and last carriages.

By tram

Pretty much the same thing applies as with the subway: it is a matter of capacity and how the carriages are designed: there is extreme variability from one country to another but also from one city to another within the same nation, to this consulting the local public transport company’s website is the easiest and immediate solution to see if and how it will be possible to transport one’s two-wheeler on the streetcar.

Photo by Pasi Mämmelä from Pixabay
Photo by Pasi Mämmelä from Pixabay

By bus

To transport a bicycle on a city bus or coach to cover medium- to long-distance distances, there are at least 3 types of solutions: inside, in the back, or in the front. The first mode, in the luggage rack of the bus, is suitable for long-distance travel, and some carriers have special spaces for bikes that can be purchased as an additional service. A bike rack on the back of a bus is not a widely used solution, mainly because neither the driver nor the owner of the bike has the ability to check for theft attempts: if only this mode is provided, it is recommended that all removable parts of the bike be tied down tightly. Front-mounted bike racks are popular in the United States and allow the driver to have an eye on the bikes at all times: they can usually accommodate 2 to 3 vehicles, and the rack is optimized to allow bikes to be loaded and unloaded in less than 30 seconds.

For detailed instructions on disassembly/assembly, the step-by-step guide is at Bikeitalia.com:

Packing the bike for the plane

Packing the bike for the train