Riding the bike trails of Costa Rica…
…is an experience like no other. The popularity of the bike tour in Costa Rica has risen dramatically over the last decade or so. It’s now common to see groups and solo cyclists barrelling down the dirt trails and camping on the beaches in the twilight. If you’re planning on visiting Mal Pais, Montezuma, and San Teresa on two wheels, remember these five items.
1. Bike Shorts
For obvious reasons, you’re going to want to wear as little clothing as you possibly can. It’s important to wear a proper pair of bike shorts, though. For all of Costa Rica’s untouched beauty, it’s still bumpy and rugged. It will take its toll on your backside. You don’t want to fear having to sit down at the end of a ride because of searing pain. Bike shorts have lots of padding in the back so you can sit in the saddle for hours without feeling a thing.
2. Large Water Bottle
A common mistake of the novice cyclist is not bringing a big enough water bottle. The mountain and highland areas aren’t particularly hot. You can get away with not bringing much. In the Pacific coastal areas, the temperatures are searing. If you’re riding for eight hours each day you’re going to get dehydrated quickly.
Bring the largest bottle your bike can accommodate. It’s also worth bringing a backpack with a few emergency bottles of water. Never underestimate the Latin American heat.
3. Long-Sleeve Shirt
It might seem silly to wear clothing which actually covers the skin, but it’s helpful. You’ll need to wear suncream to stop UV rays and sunburn. As you sweat, your body washes the cream away from your skin and leaves you exposed. By wearing a breathable cycling shirt, it washes away at a slower pace and leaves you more time to enjoy your bike tour in Costa Rica.
4. Lightweight Layering
Costa Rica is a very small country, especially if you’re travelling across its width. You can find yourself in the middle of a steamy jungle before lunch and on a misty mountain plateau by dinner. It creates a challenge for cyclists. What should you wear to cope with the temperatures?
The answer is in lightweight layers. These clothes keep you warm, or cool, whilst not being bulky. You can add and remove clothing as and when you need to.
1. Energy Bars
Guided cycling tours will take you to little restaurants and outposts where you can eat and replenish energy. If you’re alone, or if you get separated from the main group, you can find yourself getting hungry fast. Stay energised by bringing along some foods which are high in energy foods. Consider dedicated energy bars and drinks, if they’re available. Energy gels are a favourite of cyclists as they don’t change in consistency in the heat.
If not, bananas are good for some quick energy. Alternatively, stop and have lunch. You don’t want to tire yourself out by continuing to cycle on against your hunger pangs.
The best way to combat hunger, though, is to eat properly before beginning your day’s ride.
About the author: Geoff McCabe is a keen cyclist and has interests in many eco friendly projects, including Anamaya, his Anamaya Resort.