How to plan a bike tour

Pick a destination, then map a route that avoids heavily traveled roads. First tours should cover no more than 35 miles a day-less in hilly country. Be sure your bike is properly lubricated and adjusted. Wear cycling shoes, and use toe clips to hold your feet on the pedals and to lessen leg fatigue.

Travel light and load your bike to maintain good side-to-side balance. Pack about one-quarter of the weight in the rear and three-quarters in the front-on a rack that lies low (around the axle). Remember the essentials: adjustable wrench, screwdriver, air pump, tire repair equipment, pocket knife, flashlight, first aid kit, plastic water bottle, money, and county maps.

Pedal at a stead ypace – rapidly, but with as little effort as possible. Lean forward when riding to relieve pressure on your lower back, cut wind resistance, and give balance.