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45 Bal­ance your diet

You might think a bike tour is all about rid­ing, but that’s only half the story. Al­low some rest days. “Per­son­ally, I no longer en­joy mov­ing on to a dif­fer­ent des­ti­na­tion ev­ery day,” says Bill Roughton. “I’d sug­gest some­times stay­ing in one place for two or three nights be­fore mov­ing on again. Do some­thing ‘non bik­ing’ for a day – climb a hill, or take a boat­ing day out on the river.” Alas­tair Mcfar­lane of mc­i­tours.com agrees: “What are your in­ter­ests be­yond bik­ing?” he asks “You can have a lot of fun kayak­ing in the Ardeche Gorge or wine tast­ing in the Loire Val­ley. Or you may pre­fer vis­it­ing Ypres drink­ing Bel­gian beer and see­ing the Menin Gate.”

Get your pa­pers to­gether

A small amount of ad­min at home can save you hours or days of de­lays if you hit trou­ble abroad. Make sure to put scans or back­ups of your travel doc­u­ments on­line, get an EHIC card to cover you for emer­gency treat­ment in the EU, make sure your pass­port is cur­rent and dou­ble check that you’re in­sured. Steve Hot­son of ad­ven­ture­bike­tours.co.uk has got a credit card tip you might not ex­pect, too: “It’s a good idea to carry two credit cards,” he says “and pay for all your fuel with one that does not charge a for­eign load­ing fee – ie the Post Of­fice card. This can save you up to £2 per fuel stop and help keep costs down.”

6Get your bike sweet

It goes with­out say­ing that you should ser­vice your bike and get it in peak con­di­tion be­fore you start rid­ing it hun­dreds of miles on con­sec­u­tive days. The last thing you want to do is break down on a mo­tor­way in France: all of them are pri­vately owned. All the tow­ing firm will do is take you to the next junc­tion. Your in­surance will pay for it, but you of­ten have to pay up front.

7Get pack­ing

Ef­fi­ciency is key. Think lean. “Place all items for your trip out on the floor,” says Steve Hot­son. “Di­vide them into two piles: one for items which you think that you could pos­si­bly man­age with­out, and the other for ab­so­lute es­sen­tials. Get rid of ev­ery­thing in pile one and half of pile two. You’ll then be close to what you re­ally need to take with you.”

8It’s a gas, gas, gas…

Geraint Hughes is par­tic­u­larly hot on fu­elling: “If you’re in a re­mote lo­ca­tion and you’ve got half a tank, still top it up.” he says. “Es­pe­cially as sat navs aren’t al­ways ac­cu­rate in in­di­cat­ing the next fuel stop. Busi­nesses may well have shut down, and have you reg­u­larly up­dated the de­vice? And when you do fuel the bike, make sure to fuel your­self and the pil­lion.”

How to save money on your

in­surance

It’s a busy time for Steve Jor­dan

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