So you’re thinking about cycle touring in Alberta’s Rocky Mountain national parks or in an equally spectacular location? You’ve got a bike and you’re wondering what you should do to get it ready for road riding in the mountains?
Here are some helpful tips to get your gear ready for your fully supported road cycling tour.
Is My Bike Right for the Tour?
First off, consider your ride. Have you got the right bike?
Many types of bikes can do a fully supported tour although some are better than others.
A road bike will have a drop handlebar that will not only allow you to change positions, but will also help you get the most efficiency out of the bike. A road bike’s narrow wheels, smooth tires, and range of gearing are the features needed for riding on mountain highways.
We don’t usually recommend mountain bikes but a performance hybrid could do the job. One caution, though, You’ll only have one position that you can ride in. Being able to change positions, as you can on a road bike, is an important comfort feature when you’ll be on your bike for several hours at a time.
Does My Bike Have the Gears I’ll Need?
You’ll want a bike with a wide range of gears for steep climbs and descents. Most touring bikes will have a hybrid type crank, the front gears, with a 26 tooth small ring and a 48 tooth big ring, with a cassette on the back that ranges between 11- 32 teeth or 11-36 teeth. That’s one of the widest ranges that you’ll be able to get on most bikes.
While road bikes generally come with a 34 – 50 tooth crank, which is pretty wide, if hill climbing scares you, you may want to make some changes. “You can switch your gear ratios up, but you may need to change derailleurs and even shifters, so consult with your local shop to see if you can go for wider gear ratios.
What accessories will I need to carry on my bike?
We’d recommend installing 2 water bottle cages, bringing along 2 water bottles, installing a small portable tyre pump holder with pump and attaching a saddle bag under your seat to hold a few spare tubes, tyre levers and a patch kit. You might want to attach a front and rear flashing light to make you more visible on the road and optionally if you want to see how fast or slow you are going you could install a speedometer or GPS style device on the handle bars.
Don’t have a road or hybrid bike of your own?
If you don’t have a road bike, that’s not a problem. We have a fleet of new Felt road bicycles available for rent that are perfect for your tour.
Our rental bikes will come complete with all the above items, except the speedometer / GPS device. Our rental bikes come with regular flat pedals so that you can use normal shoes. If you have clip in shoes, you’ll want to bring them with you along with your pedals and we can attach them to the bike when you arrive.
If your worried about your fitness levels or you’d like to join a tour with your partner but don’t think you’d be able to keep up with them, we also have an E-bike available for rent.
See our recent blog post about E-Bikes here.