So you've spun the globe and picked a sweet far-flung locale to do some killer biking. However, traveling abroad isn't without its dangers. Here's a few things to consider before you head off on your epic two-wheeled adventure:
1. The car
If you’re not going with a group, tour, or guide, make damn sure your rental car is big enough for all that gear. The cliché that everything is bigger in the U.S. is kind of true. A “van” in Europe is not the same as a van in the U.S. Do your research ahead, otherwise you’ll find yourself spending four hours at the foreign rental center playing Tetris with every available car they’re willing to give you keys to (while shooting you not so friendly glances).
2. Pre-plan your routes
There’s nothing worse then spending your limited vacation time trying to research trails for the day, so get a GPS unit, do the research and download some solid gpx files before you go. Or at least get in touch with a local shop and suss out if they’ll have enough intel for you when you get there. Trails are NOT marked in foreign countries in the same fool-proof manner they are in the U.S. You’re bound to spend a lot of time riding through unmarked fields, convincing yourself you MUST be off “trail.”
3. Stay in one place
Think about your favorite place to bike on the homefront. Moab? Bellingham? Crested Butte? You’d be STOKED to post up there for a week, riding every trail and even getting to do your favorites twice. Don’t waste your time shoving the bikes in your mini (truly) van and hustling to the next town hours away. Packing and unpacking takes up too much precious trail (or cappuccino and croissant) time!
4. Leave your FOMO demon at home
There’s always more to see, more to do, more trails to discover. Let it go. At any given point in life, you’re always missing out on another option. Get over it. Be exactly where you are and be happy you’re there and nowhere else.
5. Play a harmless trick on the airlines
There’s no possible way your bike bag and all it’s gear (plus your grappa, new Nespresso machine, trail skulls, or whatever else you’ve decided to take home) is under the ridiculous airline limits of 50 lbs. Pack a duffel with all the heaviest gear and when they’ve approved your under-50 bike bag and ask you to wheel it over to the oversize area, shove that fatty duffel right back in! It’ll save you loads of money and frustrating haggling with the airline staff. Harmless. But shh.
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