Adventure – we love it! That’s why we ride bikes, right? The feeling of freedom riding a bike gives us is intoxicating and liberating. Seeking adventure on our bikes just ups the game!
The thrill of riding uncharted territory and exploring new rides and routes is exhilarating. But sometimes, riding into the unknown can also be stressful – especially if you are doing it solo. Fears of “things happening” when you are by yourself. Fears about getting lost or getting hurt or even fears of bike mechanicals and having to walk a long distance. Sometimes, things do happen but with a proactive approach, you can easily navigate riding solo in remote locations with confidence.
Map it out. Sometimes it is fun to just get on the bike and see where the ride takes you. That is all well and good but when you are riding in a new location, it really is better to have some sort of a plan. Either scout out your ride on the internet, carry a map with you, use your Garmin or cycling navigation tool to have an idea of the distance and terrain you will be covering. The easiest way to ruin a ride is to get lost and spend countless, unnecessary hours trying to find your way back. You don’t need the stress of it all!
Carry more than you need. While you have an idea of what to expect on your adventure ride, expect the unexpected. It’s a good idea to have an oversized pack. Carry more water than you normally would and pack for a variety of weather conditions. A good rule of thumb is to carry a rain jacket, arm warmers, ear covers, extra food, and maybe a SPOT device if you are really headed to a remote location. Don’t forget basic bike maintenance tools and chain lube to combat any mechanical issues you may encounter.
Be safety minded. Obviously you want to be safe, but what does that really mean? Before you head out, check the weather and plan accordingly. Also, inform others of the direction you are headed and what time you expect to return. While it may be tempting to deviate from the plan when actually riding, avoid the temptation to do it. If something were to happen, it is wise to have others have a general awareness of your whereabouts. Also, check your bike frame and bike parts for a good inspection. It’s easier to ride new and unknown trails and routes with the confidence that your bike is in good working order. Besides, who wants to fix broken bike parts or cycling accessories on a ride? No one! So, give your bike a quick once over before heading out.
Ride within your limits. New ride routes and trails have a way of invoking cycling superpowers! That is, they inspire us to ride fast and get after it! That is all fine and dandy but when riding solo in remote or uncharted territory, it may be a good idea to pull back just a bit. Keep some reserves in your energy stores in case you do get lost or the ride takes you further from your final, planned destination. Be mindful of changing weather conditions that may tax your energy reserves and be proactive in eating timely and adding/ removing cycling apparel to make sure you keep your energy steady. Nothing adds more stress to a ride than getting lost and / or being too cold and not knowing if you can even get to your final destination.
Finally, relax! Enjoy the views! Bask in the thrill of exploration!