Are You FIT to Cycle Tour?

Cycle touring in New ZealandA common question we get asked by our clients is “how fit do I need to be to go cycling touring?” Honest answer? The fitter you are the more enjoyable the experience will be.

We always recommend getting some bike time in before you undertake a tour. And the earlier you start training the better, since you’ll be giving your body more time to adapt to the saddle and get stronger. Try to avoid cramming in lots of sessions right before you leave – you might end up injuring yourself.

First things first: how fit are you right now?

Are you exercising on a regular basis..or not at all? (Be honest!)

I take regular exercise each week, including several cycle sessions.
Chances are, you’re already in good shape for a cycle tour. Continue getting out and riding several times a week, making sure to include some back-to-back sessions (where you train on consecutive days).

I exercise occasionally.
Start a cycling programme that increases distance gradually and builds to at least three sessions a week. Work towards the daily distances of the tour you’re joining. So, if your tour incorporates daily distances of 50km, you’ll want to be able to cycle this distance comfortably.

I rarely (never) exercise.
Start off by cycling every third day. Gradually increase distance and regularity of sessions. You’ll need to be aiming for at least three sessions a week and to be able to comfortably ride the average daily distance of your tour. (You might also want to pay a visit to your doctor before you start your training programme).

Other ways to boost your fitness:


  • Resistance training (working with weights) can really help strengthen the muscles you need for cycling. You’ll need to get expert advice and instruction in order to ensure you’re correctly working your muscles – pop into your local gym and talk to the staff. One session a week would be a good starting point, building to two as you get stronger.
  • Stretching after rides can help ease stiffness and keep you supple for your next ride.
  • Think about the environment you’re going to be encountering on your tour and try to get plenty of practice on similar terrain.
  • Spin classes can be a great way to keep up your fitness, particularly if weather or winter darkness are hampering your outside efforts.

It probably goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway): we’re not trained fitness experts or doctors. This information is designed to give you a general overview of cycling fitness and we recommend chatting to your doc or gym coach before you undertake any type of exercise program.