Ever considered cycling abroad? Arguably, some of the greatest and most breath-taking views in the world can and should be seen on a bicycle. Searching for the experiences of others who have traveled abroad bring up stunning and enviable images. But before you pack up and go off  to cruise Australia’s coast, the French Alps, or maybe the Karakoram Highway from China to Pakistan, it is important to consider these tips from experienced cyclists from Build Your Tour that will help you have a safe and satisfying trip abroad.

International Bike Safety Tips

As you already know, the most important bicycle safety tips know no borders. The tips that you have learned and are already putting into practice can also certainly help you as you tour abroad. But here are a few important reminders for you to take with you:

International Bike Laws

Familiarize yourself with the cycling laws in the country where you will be touring. Generally speaking, bike laws are the same wherever you are, due to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic established in 1968 which established international bike laws and recognized the bicycle as a motor vehicle with its own right to the road. Once you know the laws, obey them!

Basic Reminders

Even though bicycle laws are similar from country to country, you will learn that traffic laws and flow can be dramatically different from country to country.

  • Pay attention, and don’t assume that drivers will all treat you the same.
  • Bike laws may be similar to what you are used to, but traffic laws can be dramatically different (i.e. driving on the opposite side of the road)
  • When you stop, whether to check your directions or to get a drink, etc. make sure that you pull off to the side of the road or path.
  • Be friendly and treat others with respect. You are their country’s guest.
  • Be aware of village roads—oftentimes they have rough spots or obstacles (cable laying, road repair, cobbles, etc.)
  • Be prepared for unmarked roads, unfinished paths, and tunnels.
  • Consider the culture. Before you go, learn about the culture where you will be visiting. Be respectful and gracious. This will also help prepare you to know what to bring and watch out for.
  • Always have snacks with you. Be prepared with your favorite energy bars and beverages.
  • Always carry identification, contact information, and a map with directions.
  • Don’t forget to secure the proper travel documents!

 Health and Vaccinations

Take the proper health precautions before you go abroad. Visit a doctor and get a checkup before you go to make sure that you are healthy and in the proper shape for your tour. Different vaccinations are recommended by country or area of the world where you will be visiting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up a website that can help you figure out which vaccines you should get for your journey. You may also find useful information on the World Health Organization website.

First Aid Kit

It might be wise to take a basic First Aid kit with you on your journey. This should include moleskin, band-aids, anti-bacterial cream, allergy medications, etc. that can help you get to the nearest doctor or pharmacy.

Travel Insurance

You may not need travel travel insurance, depending on the location, the cost of your airfare, duration of your stay, etc.

Photo courtesy of: Mt. Hood Territory