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Do you need to train for a bike tour? 

Before we answer that, some good news: There’s no required power output or miles-per-week ridden to enjoy inGamba. Once you love riding your bike, you’re in the right place!

Travel with us and you’ll have fun regardless of your current fitness level. But the more fit you are, the easier it is to enjoy long, meandering climbs and big days in the saddle. And even better news: No matter what your current state of fitness is, you can be bike tour-ready without devoting huge hours to the bike every week.

Here, we’re breaking down tips based on your current riding time, in order to help you have the biggest fitness gains in the least amount of time. We know you’re busy!

What to do if you’re not currently riding more than once a week

Firstly, build a base quickly through intensity. If you want to make the most of a bike tour, it is a good idea to build a base of fitness, so that every day doesn’t end with you feeling exhausted.

The old-school style of thinking for base-building involved big hours on the bike and lots of long, slow distance. That still works, but fortunately for time-crunched athletes, research has shown that for recreational-level riders, doing a few short sessions (under 2 hours total per week) that focus on high-intensity intervals actually creates similar gains to the long distance riding.

So, try hopping on the bike twice a week for 30-45 minutes and adding in sets of intervals like 30 repetitions of 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy or 10 sets of two minutes hard with 1 minute recovery between. Just give yourself at least five minutes to warm up before you hit the gas.

Secondly, get moving! Any chance you get. When you’re starting from minimal riding or activity, any movement is going to be extremely beneficial. This could mean taking the dog out for an extra walk, walking during a conference call, taking a spin class, hopping in the pool, or any other activity that gets your heart rate up.

What to do if you’re already riding 2-3 times per week

Make sure you’re doing at least one day of intensity with intervals. While simply getting on the bike and pedaling at a conversational pace for 60 minutes a couple times a week is great, the addition of some high-intensity will be hugely beneficial. 

Add hills when possible. Is there a way to add some climbing to your ride? Most cycling tours include plenty of ups and downs throughout the day, so getting used to climbing (and perhaps more importantly, descending) will make the days much more fun.

Make one ride a longer one. If you’re not time-crunched, try to spend one day a week riding for a little longer than normal. If every ride is around 60 minutes, try to work your way up to 2-3 hours in the saddle. The time in saddle isn’t just good for your legs: It also helps your whole body (from your upper back and shoulders to your bum) adjust to the position you’re in on the bike, and where the pressure is. Often, the biggest limiter on cycling tours isn’t legs, it’s saddle sores from not being used to sitting on the saddle for extended periods!

Practice good in-ride fueling and hydration. Drink roughly a bottle per hour and for rides over an hour, add 200-400 calories of simple carbs per hour as well. Getting your gut used to taking in fuel while riding will make you feel much stronger on the bike.


Would you like to find out more about what our different destinations can offer? Book a call with our team now and get some personal advice on the best inGamba adventure for you.

What to do if you’re already riding 4+ times per week

Once you’re riding more than four times per week, you’re already in ‘training as a cyclist’ territory and you’ll easily enjoy a cycling tour. But you can optimize your fitness – and your tour enjoyment! Just make these couple of easy tweaks.

Make sure you’re doing at least one day of intensity with intervals. Often, the more time we put in on the bike, the less inclined we are to do harder rides. Whether you hop into a workout on Zwift or just try to push the pace during that one climb on your ride, spending some time at that harder pace will pay big dividends.

Add in some strength and mobility. You don’t need to hit the gym to work on your core and upper body strength.

Often, cyclists neglect their body from the hips up, but a strong core and arms will not only help you avoid fatigue when in the saddle for hours at a time, it can also keep you safer in the event of a crash. (You’ll have more muscle padding your fall, and you’re more capable of saving yourself from crashing in the first place!)

It doesn’t take much to make a big difference: Incorporate a short yoga flow, a few plank holds and push-ups and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you gain strength. 

pinerello bikes
Molly Hurford

Molly is the author of Fuel Your Ride, and a Precision Nutrition-certified coach. Her writing has appeared in many leading publications, including Bicycling Magazine and Outside. When she's not writing or coaching, she loves ultra-running and racing on trails, riding bikes, or hiking with her mini-dachshund DW.