Tips for long-haul riders
Do a trial run
It's normal to feel intimidated by a long bike journey, so take a warm-up trip to learn whether you have what it takes. 'Some practical experience can help you get a good idea of what you need, what might happen on the road and [the] adjustments your bike needs,' says Leung Chi-fai, who cycled 1,000km from Tin Shui Wai to Shantou, Guangdong, last September.
Know your limits
Set realistic goals and map out a cycling schedule that won't wear you out. 'It's not a competition. Do it at your pace and take your time. Don't be too ambitious,' says Fred Lam. 'You'll be tempted to keep going when the day is long. But a ride usually takes longer than you think. It's dangerous if you're stuck on a path in the dark,' says Chan Ka-chun.
Keep asking around
You might have consulted maps and guidebooks, but keep checking because advice from passers-by is often contradictory. 'There might be a construction site ahead and you need to make a detour,' says Chan. 'But from my experience, some people don't know what they're talking about, so exercise your judgment.'
It's risky to cycle when it rains or snows. Watch out for poorly maintained trails. 'I almost fell into a big hole in the middle of the road, so don't cycle too quickly,' Chan says.
Pick a compatible partner
Although it might be preferable to have company, cycling trips may become highly stressful when you can't keep in sync.
Keep things light, but make sure that you don't skimp on medication and spares for your bike. 'You never know when you'll need them and whether you'll be able to get parts easily,' says Fong. Post staff who bike regularly also recommend carrying light pliers, white and red lights, plenty of water and powerbars, a spare inner tube and, vitally, a helmet and gloves.
Make sure you take precautions such as getting the required inoculations. Fong Pak-mau had to finish one trip alone as his friend was too sick to carry on after contracting hepatitis in Pakistan.