Cycling In The Countryside
“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike !” said John F Kennedy. To add to this noble pleasure is that of touring the countryside on a bike. Indeed, one of the simplest joys one can experience is that of cycling through the countryside. Whether you are a native or a tourist, a trip to the countryside always makes for a rejuvenating and memorable experience. Just imagine, riding through fields and vast pastures, up and down the hills, along rivers and brooks and quaint locales! It is indeed an exhilarating experience. While travel itself is known to bring about changes in your personality, bicycling is all the more an excellent tool to introspect. You find a newer You in each of your travels.
Biking or bicycling is so popular in some countries that it is considered amongst the alternative mode of transport. In fact, in the Netherlands, the most beautiful bike paths are honoured with the ‘Bike Path of The Year’ award. So also in Vietnam, bicycle tours are a highlight of their tourism. Japan also offers bicycle tours to visitors to get a real feel of the country. The French have cycling holidays to tour their vast countryside. Rural cycling as it is called is fast becoming a tourist attraction.
The Joys ….
So why should one go cycling in the countryside?
Here are some of our top reasons as to why one should opt for cycling when visiting the countryside:
- This is the No.1 reason we say !! Cycling for the pure thrill of doing something different. You will cherish this experience for years to come.
- Cycling is a great way to thoroughly and closely experience a destination. You can get to visit remote and far-flung areas, which would be otherwise inaccessible by other modes of transport.
- Beautiful landscapes, local cafes and cuisines are best explored on cycling expeditions.
- Cycling makes for a relaxed, healthy and environmentally sustainable option of touring a region.
- Cycling tours forge new ties and help build contacts.
- Cycling tours rekindle one’s photography skills. It is the best form of travelling for photographers and die-hard travel junkies. Well, if you are not yet, you may become one!
…… and the Precautions while cycling in the countryside
And these are ample.However, no matter how exciting rural cycling seems it is not without some pitfalls. We think it is also important to point these out to you.
- While city traffic helps you navigate using the rhythm of the traffic, rural cycling is an altogether different ball game. Make it a point to be riding on the side of the road. You will also have to dodge cars at intersections even when you have the right-of-way.
- Drivers in rural areas may not be expecting to see cyclists. Be extra aware of other traffic.
- Be prepared to share road space with large farm vehicles and buses on narrow roads.
- Always look behind you.
- Watch out for potholes on unfamiliar roads as road conditions and terrain changes suddenly.
- Ride within your level of skill, limits and ability.
- Be assertive when riding through the countryside.
- Do not give space to motorists to overtake.
- Pause only in high-visibility places. Make sure you are at a safe distance from blind corners or hill crests before you relax your focus.
- Be alert as to pets of rural dog owners, who may not take to tourists very well. You will most likely have to deploy some strategies to ward them off.
- Carry sufficient food and water with you, as you do not know how far the grocery shop is.
- Avoid riding a bicycle in the dark. Road users ahead will have difficulty seeing you.
To avoid any mishap or any unplanned adventure one ought to do the following things:
- Go over your planned route using an atlas or any such online mapping tool. This will help you know of any changes in the gradient of the region. It will also tell if the route leads you towards any major roads.
- Check the brakes and if required, apply lubricants. Also, check the tyres of your bike.
- Carry a spare bike pump, tyre levers, inner tubes, spare chain links and a multi-tool.
- Carry lights with you especially, during the winters.
- Step out with your phone fully charged. Carry it in a water-proof phone carrier.
- Check the weather conditions of the place you are visiting and take precautionary care.
- Carry rainwear or woollen wear or dress light depending on the climate of the region.
- Wear sports glasses to prevent dirt, grime and bugs flying into your eyes.
- Do not forget to put energy gels and bars in your kit.
- Carry sufficient water, juice or such liquids and sugars to stay hydrated and energised.
- Don’t forget to pack in your payment card and a decent amount of cash to purchase supplies or don’t take enough.
- Carry a basic first-aid kit.
- Above all, be a responsible and considerate rider. Maintain moderate speed and make yourself audible to pedestrians.
When cycling at night, make sure you do the following :
- Pick a short route that you can ride repeatedly to provide some structure to your riding. Also, pick the roads on your route very carefully.
- It is advisable to pick a route close to home, in case anything happens, help is at hand.
- Check if the front and rear lights of your bike are in working condition. The run time for both the lights should exceed the duration of your planned ride.
- Carry back-up lights.
- You may consider wearing reflective clothing for your night-time biking travels.
- Alternatively, you may opt for reflective pedals, overshoes or ankle bands to help you stand out. The circular motion from pedaling is known to catch the attention of a motorist than a strip of large reflective clothing material across the back.
- Reflective tape to your bike and on the mudguards adds to the visibility of your bike from a distance.
- Avoid riding alone. Ride with a partner or in groups. This not only provides the incentive to travel alone but also the motivation to head out in the dark.
- Most importantly, DO NOT forget to enjoy the night ride while you are managing the rural traffic.
All of our adult tricycles come with front suspension to lessen the impact of uneven surfaces while cycling in the countryside.