October 1, 2016
At Sacred Rides, we take pride in helping clients plan stress-free and unforgettable mountain bike trips around the world. Over the past 20 years, we have answered many questions about how to best prepare for these types of adventures — What should I pack? What skill level is necessary for each destination? What is a typical day like on a trip? Answering these important pre-trip questions are vital to ensure you have a successful trip.
Here are 7 Frequently Asked Questions about Guided Mountain Bike Trips
1. How fit should i be to participate in a multi-day mountain bike trip?
Our trips vary in difficulty, but in general they are suited for intermediate to expert riders. An intermediate rider is someone who can ride 4 to 5 hours per day, for several days in a row. There will always be slower and faster riders on every trip; in general we try to cultivate a strong group dynamic so that people understand it’s not about logging as many miles as possible, but it is about enjoying the spectacular riding and scenery in the company of new friends. That may require waiting every now and then for the rest of the group. If there is a substantial enough split in the group that it will affect Riders’ enjoyment of the trip, we may split up the group if possible. Whatever your level, you’ll get the best possible enjoyment out of your trip by getting in shape before the trip and we’ll offer training suggestions in our post-booking communications to help you prepare.
Fitness and Skill Requirements
Ensuring you are on a Ride that’s right for you, and ensuring you are ready for the physical and technical demands of a Ride, is of utmost importance to us. It helps ensure that you will be riding with people of similar skill level and won’t be holding up the group or be held up by others. With the best client:guide ratio in the industry (4:1), Riders can more easily ride at their preferred pace. Here are a few ways we ensure you book the trip that’s right for you.
1. We’ve developed a 9‑point Skill and Fitness Rating System, with the help of one of our senior coaches and guides. Our team will walk you through the rating system to help determine your experience level.
2. When booking, each Rider complete a survey detailing their mountain biking experience. The answers are reviewed by our team and provide valuable insight as to whether or not the desired trip is a good fit.
3. We follow up with each client. If we think a rider might not be quite up to the challenge (or might be ‘over qualified’) for certain rides. We discuss their skill and fitness level in detail to discover whether they are indeed a good fit, or if another Ride might be more suitable
Pay attention to the skill and fitness ratings for the Ride(s) you’re interested in, and be honest in your self-assessment.
2. What is a typical day like on a Sacred Rides trip?
You’ll typically start your day with a group breakfast between 7:30am — 8:00 am, have a morning stretch session if feasible, then either hop on the bikes or in the support van to get to the trailhead. After a 2‑to-3-hour ride, we’ll head back to the lodge or a local restaurant for a relaxing lunch, with a bit of time to digest before heading out on the trails again. In the afternoon we’ll log another 2 to 3 hours on the bike, then hit the lodge for a shower, dinner, and a few drinks to celebrate a great day of riding. We try to incorporate as much local culture and exploring as we can while riding, so there will often be stops to check out local points of interest.
3. Should I buy medical insurance and/or trip cancellation insurance for my mountain bike trip?
All Sacred Rides participants are required to have valid travel medical insurance — and we definitely recommend purchasing trip cancellation and interruption insurance. We will ask you to fill out a medical release form with your medical insurance policy information and include general medical information before each trip. This information will be kept strictly confidential. Cancellation insurance is very strongly advised. With it, you will avoid losing the funds you have invested in your trip and airfare due to a personal emergency or illness, or illness of an immediate family member. Some cancellation policies also provide baggage loss protection and other protection.
NOTE: if you have your own travel medical insurance policy (e.g. through your work), be sure that it covers adventure travel, specifically mountain bike trips — some policies exclude what they deem to be ‘extreme’ sports, and often mountain biking falls into that category.
Your travel insurance policy should cover the following:
1. cover evacuation (e.g. air evacuation) and hospital costs while in other countries
2. cover mountain biking trips (some policies include mountain biking in their list of ‘extreme’ sports that are not covered).
We strongly recommend also getting insurance that covers the following:
• Trip cancellation up to 100% of your trip cost
• Equipment protection for delay, loss, theft and damage (if traveling with your bike/expensive equipment)
• Trip interruption up to 100% of trip cost
• Medical expenses up to $50,000
• Emergency medical transportation up to $1,000,000
4. Do I need vaccinations for the destination I am visiting?
The best option to find out if you need vaccinations for an upcoming trip is to visit the MD Travel Health website and navigate to the country you are visiting. You may wish to visit your local travel clinic to get the most updated information.
Since we’re not doctors, and we don’t always have the most up-to-date information — it’s best to seek out professional advice!
We’re not just writers, we’re riders too!
In addition to writing about mountain biking and adventure, we also operate award-winning* mountain bike adventures all over the world (actually that’s our main thing). Check ’em out:
SINGLETRACK RIDES: for passionate mountain bikers and adventurers
WOMEN’S RIDES: no dudes allowed!
EXPLORER RIDES: for beginner mountain bikers
BRING-YOUR-PARTNER RIDES: for passionate mountain bikers with partners who don’t ride
*No. 1 Mountain Bike Tour Company on Earth — National Geographic Adventure
5. What if I’ve never travelled with my mountain bike?
If you’ve never travelled with your bike, don’t worry — it’s much easier than you think. If you don’t have a case for your bike, we recommend picking up a cardboard bike travel box at your local store. Some stores will also pack your bike up for you for a fee.
Alternately, if you want a higher level of protection, and/or are planning on travelling with your bike more than just once, we recommend investing in a quality bike bag or case. Our guides and past clients have recommended the following products:
For tips on packing your bike, watch this handy video we made just for you.
6. What are some general items I should pack for a guided mountain bike trip?
Below is a comprehensive list for you to use as a guide only, in efforts to make your trip safe, memorable and enjoyable. These are items we suggest you consider bringing regardless of the Ride you are on — each destination will also have a ride specific packing list. In efforts to pack appropriately, we encourage you to understand your destinations climate during the month you are visiting and the activities you will be participating in, other than mountain biking.
on the bike:
● jersey tops
● cycling shorts with a quality chamois (padding)
● bike gloves with padding under the palm
● cycling socks (synthetic or lightweight wool)
● arm warmers
● leg warmers
● cycling shoes
● energy bars and electrolytes
on/off the bike:
● rain jacket (Gortex with pit-zips)
● wind jacket (lightweight and form fitting)
● sweater (fleece and form fitting mid layer)
● top and bottom base layer (synthetic or lightweight wool)
● sunglasses (clear lens and polarized lens)
● backpack with hydration system (2–3L water capacity)
● cycling water bottle (with squirt lid)
● camera (phone, GoPro, point and shoot)
● ear warmer (toque or headband)
● flip flops
● small camp towel (to use for swimming etc.)
● comfortable, casual clothes for relaxing in (cotton attire, such as jeans, t‑shirt, hooded sweater will be welcomed after a day in synthetics or wool)
● down-filled coat
● trail shoes or hiking boots
● backpack (for day hikes)
● flashlight or headlamp
personal items and first aid:
● toiletries i.e. toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, soap, feminine hygiene products etc.
● sunscreen (oil-free for sport)
● insect repellent (with Deet)
● anti-bacterial wipes
● anti-bacterial gel
● toilet paper (depending on the country you are visiting, this could be hard to find!)
● chamois crème
● first-aid kit (ibuprofen, band aids, Polysporin, tweezers)
random items you don’t realize you need, until it’s too late:
● electrical tape (tape your bike tube or pump to your bike, without leaving a stickyresidue)
● duct tape (tape up holes in a bug net and/or everything else duct tape fixes!)
● solar panel battery charger with USB adapter
● international travel power adapter and converter (check out Lonely Planet for this destination to find out more about currency and plugs)
● zip-lock bags
● grocery bags
● zip ties
● foam roller (travel size)
● tennis ball (for rolling out knots in your worked muscles)
● elastic bands
tools to bring:
We recommend bringing the following tools with you. Rest assured your guides will have a full tool kit, but it’s a good idea to have the following items with you in case of trailside breakdowns:
● multi-tool (preferably with chain breaker)
● tire levers
● small bottle of chain lube
● small tire pump
spare parts for your bike:
Although there may be some parts available locally, we recommend you bring the following parts with you to avoid availability problems in case of broken parts:
● Rear dérailleur hanger (at least 1, preferably 2)
● Front and rear brake pads (1 set of each is sufficient)
● Extra chain if your chain is more than 6 months old
● 2–4 spare tubes (our guides can’t realistically carry enough 26″, 27.5″, and 29″ tubes for everyone)
● 2 extra spokes
● Any rare parts that might be hard to find locally (Shimano and SRAM are generally available in most locations, but Magura levers, for instance, might not be available everywhere).
7. What if I need to cancel my trip?
At Sacred Rides, we understand life happens and plans change… that’s why we have the following policies…
Our Lifetime Deposit allows any of our Riders (i.e. clients) forced to delay a departure or wanting to switch destinations altogether the ability to apply their initial deposit towards a later scheduled date or another Ride at no extra charge. A Lifetime Deposit has no expiration date and can be used for any departure — provided room is still available. Simply put, we want to ensure you can enjoy the Sacred Rides experience you want, at a time that works best for you. A Lifetime Deposit is also transferable, meaning that you can transfer your deposit to another Rider as a gift. You can even choose to donate your deposit to our sister non-profit, Bikes Without Borders. We’ll then match the value of your donation!
14-Day Risk-Free Booking Window
After putting down a deposit, you can cancel at any point during the first 14 days after booking and get a 100% refund. This buys you 2 weeks to sort out flights, vacation time, etc. and not have to worry about someone else taking your spot(s).