If you’ve always dreamed of taking a big, cross-country bike trip, possibly with some camping along the way, then now is the time to start planning and training for that trip right now with this advice from guest blogger Lisa Walker.

You can see the world from a bicycle, and enjoy the scenery along that way. You can plan to ride all day and cover lots of miles, or take short travel stints and spend more time at each stop. The itinerary is up to you. There are so many options for bicycle travel that the opportunities are literally endless. Cycle along a coastline and stop to visit boardwalks in beach towns. Travel from hamlet to ski town through the Alps. Cross the steppes of Mongolia if you want to. Start imagining; then start planning.

First, decide where you’re going and what kind of mileage you plan to put on your bike. Figure out the terrain and what kind of equipment you need. Visit your favorite bike shop and ask a lot of questions. Chances are, the people on staff have all been on similar trips, so they will know what you need or who to ask. Ask if your bike is the right type for the terrain and mileage. If not, look into purchasing a better one or modifying the one you have. If you buy a bike, get the highest quality bike you can afford. It will pay off on the road.

Look into the type of camping equipment you’ll need. Lower elevations will require different weather gear than the mountains. You should be aware of the climate where you’re going and prepare for it. Even if you’re not camping, you will likely be carrying your stuff on your bike, so be mindful of weight. Don’t forget a hydration system and sunscreen. Even in colder climates, you need water and sun protection.

Next you need to start training. If you haven’t been going long distances on your bike, you should start venturing out on longer rides. Work during the week on shorter distances with higher intensity and building up muscles by cross-training. On the weekends, spend your time gaining higher mileage. Add some more distance with each long ride, eventually building up to the distance you need for your trip. Make sure to train in similar conditions to your trip. If you’re climbing mountains, you should definitely try to mimic those hills at home.

When you’ve trained and you’re ready to head out on your trip, tidy up loose ends at work so you won’t have any lingering work-related worries distracting you. If you run a business, simple actions like designating a registered agent can make things run smoothly while you’re gone. When you establish a registered agent in Michigan, you designate a person to receive important legal notifications and other information about your business. This way you’re covered if anything serious pops up, like a lawsuit or tax notification, while you’re gone. If you’re an employee, work with your boss or manager to make sure your key tasks will be covered while you’re gone and set an away email message indicating who folks should contact while you’re out.

Leaving your home for an extended period of time can cause some anxiety. Will your belongings be safe? What if there’s a fire or break-in and you don’t know about it? Ensuring home security before you leave will help. A good home security system with electronic home monitoring will give you peace of mind while on your amazing adventure. Set your lights on timers and stop your mail and newspapers. Let your trusted neighbors know you’ll be gone so they can keep an eye on your home for you.

To ensure safety on your trip, make sure your bike is tuned up well in advance of your trip. Just before you go, you can stop in for a quick safety check, making sure everything works as it should. Spend a lot of time on the bike you plan to take with you. You don’t want to use a brand new bike without getting to know it a bit before you go.

Once you’re all ready, just get going! Enjoy the outdoors with friends or alone. You’ll see the world while your body reaps the benefits.