6 tips for a perfectly planned bike tour

Summer is here! Now that the sun has come out again and is making sure that it is pleasantly warm outside, outdoor activities are once again being taken up with joy and motivation. For mountain lovers, this means not only getting their hiking boots out of the cellar, but also dusting off their mountain bikes and getting them ready for the coming season. What you should pay attention to when planning your next tour, you can find out here.

1. equipment checklist
First of all it is necessary to check if all necessary items needed for a safe mountain bike tour are still functional and up-to-date and if so, put them into the backpack. This includes:

  • Orientation aids like map and GPS device
  • First -aid kit
  • Small tool set for the most necessary repairs, including air pump and spare hose
  • Weathr protection
  • Sufficient provisions (even if a stopover on an alpine pasture or in an inn is planned!)
  • Handy
  • Small tool set for the most necessary repairs, including air pump and spare hose

2. consider different fitness levels!
When planning a trip to the mountains with a group, always orientate yourself towards the weakest member. Because: overexertion increases the risk of accidents and circulation problems.
In general, the tour should be adapted to the fitness level of each individual (the same applies, by the way, when planning hikes or ski tours). Especially at the start of the season, shorter routes with less elevation gain should be chosen first, which will then be extended over time and with increased training. By the way, spinning courses in the gym are a good way to improve your fitness in winter or on rainy days.

3. plan enough time!
Remember when you go on day trips that the time for arrival and departure as well as possible delays due to traffic jams or public transport are also taken into account. In addition, you always need a buffer for breaks, possible breakdowns or detours. It's better to have too much time than too little, after all the tour should not be a total stress experience.
The German Alpine Club has developed an approximate calculation formula for hobby bikers: Time for the route length + time for the altitude difference. First, the route length is divided by 12, since the DAV assumes that you can cover about 12 kilometers per hour. Then the planned vertical meters are divided by 500 or 600, because the DAV expects to cover about 500-600 vertical meters per hour. The smaller value is now halved and the numbers added.

The values can of course be adjusted individually, for example if you know that you can do an average of 11 and not 12 kilometers per hour. For a better understanding, here is a short calculation example:

  • Tour: 60km mit 1000Hm
  • Time needed 60/12 = 5
  • TIme altuítude meters: 1000/500 = 2 (this value is the smaller and is halved)
  • Time for the tour: 5 + 1 = 6 hours

4. never forget a real card!
It's up to you whether you prefer to stick to suggested, already created routes or take everything completely into your own hands. Various sites, such as bergfex.at, will help you with the selection and compilation. It's best to save the finished route as a GPS track, so that you can call it up afterwards on your GPS device or cell phone.
Despite today's technology, it is still necessary to carry a real map with you. Only with this map you can see where you are and where you have to go. It would definitely be an advantage if you can read maps correctly. Alpine clubs often offer courses that teach you how to recognize the terrain by means of contour lines and how to measure path lengths and elevation.

5. comply with legal guidelines and markings!
Pay attention to legal guidelines when choosing a route. These vary from country to country. In Austria, for example, cycling is generally forbidden on forest and woodland paths off the roads and is only permitted with explicit marking.
Furthermore, you should look at the different markings of the individual routes when planning your trip. Similar to the ski slopes in winter, they are marked from blue for easy to red for medium to black for difficult routes. Single trails, i.e. very demanding routes that are not passable with a car, have a yellow marking. Within the single trails there are again different gradations starting with the easy S0 up to the extreme S5.

6. divide forces correctly!
As already mentioned, you should start with shorter tours after a longer break and increase your strength depending on your fitness level. In general, it is recommended not to overdo it and to manage your own strength well. Do not forget that equally long downhill runs cost concentration, endurance and muscle tension and do not underestimate them.

The elevation profile of the planned route, printed out and welded onto the handlebars, helps you prepare mentally for particularly difficult parts and gives you an overview of what lies ahead. Conclusion: Good planning is half the battle!

As you can see, there are some factors that you have to consider when planning carefully. But good planning pays off in the end by reducing the stress level and increasing the fun factor!