Many cycling clubs hold organized rides in which bicyclists of all levels participate. The typical organized ride starts with a large group of riders, called the mass, bunch or evenpeloton. This will thin out over the course of the ride. Many riders choose to ride together in groups of the same skill level to take advantage of drafting. Most organized rides, for example cyclosportives (or gran fondos), Challenge Rides or reliability trials, and hill climbs include registration requirements and will provide information either through the mail or online concerning start times and other requirements.
Rides usually consist of several different routes, sorted by mileage, and with a certain number of rest stops that usually include refreshments, first aid and maintenance tools. Routes can vary by as much as 100 miles (160 km). Riding your bike across or around a country is one of those epic journeys that many dream of, and quite a few actually manage too. Whether it’s due to a love of cycling, a desire to see your (or another) country at a slower pace without creating too much impact on the environment or just something you’re keen to try because it’s a major achievement, riding your bike across or around the country can be a fantastic goal in life.
And it doesn’t even need to be your own country––some of the most hardcore cyclists have ridden around countries other than their own, choosing a foreign land for its scenery, interest, culture or whatever other personal reasons. If you’d like to join in this increasingly popular activity, you’ll need to prepare well, be fit and know how to fix your bike in any weather or situation. The rewards will outweigh the effort though, so start planning now for your journey of a lifetime.
While you could borrow or rent a bike, if something happens to it, you could find yourself spending more money to repair or replace it than you would have actually spent buying a new bike, so it’s recommended that you save your pennies and purchase your own. If you already own a bike, it might be suitable if it’s in top condition and has plenty of life left in it. If you’re not sure, it’s probably better to purchase a new bike specifically for the purpose of your across-country trip.
Another approach is to ride your old bike into the ground, being prepared to purchase a new one along the way. The downside is that you need to know where it is possible to purchase the exact bike you want, you need to be near such places when your old one gives up. You may find that you’re not happy with the new one because it hasn’t been broken in through test riding.