We Welcome Your Application to Join Us!
We build each of our groups with care, keeping the groups small (no more than twelve students), and paying close attention to age, grade, gender, and the mix of hometowns and schools. Our goal is to put together great groups — groups where nice kids thrive in a supportive, wholesome, and caring environment. Please note: availability as shown is based on students traveling without a friend; if your child is interested in traveling with a friend, please call our office for availability.
Important Information about Availability
This departure of this trip has good availability. Apply as soon as possible since availability changes quickly.
This departure of this trip has limited availability. Apply as soon as possible, and on receipt of your application, if space is still available, we’ll confirm a spot for you. If all of the spots are taken, we’ll call you to discuss options.
This departure of this trip is currently full — please call us to discuss options.
How to Apply
Apply online using a credit card for the $795 deposit (your card will not be charged until we confirm a spot for you). Applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received (we do not hold spots over the phone).
When to Apply
The flow of applications starts in July and peaks in January/February. Some groups fill by the December holidays, and others will have space into the late spring. Our advice? Apply as soon as possible — it only takes a few minutes — and we’ll get to work right away to find a great spot for you.
Call (413.458.9672) or email (email@example.com). We look forward to hearing from you.
Cross a continent from Munich to Barcelona.
Explore Europe on a challenging ride of unsurpassed beauty
Bike past picturesque villages, snowcapped mountains, and big blue lakes. Explore six countries: Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, and Spain!
Europe by bike. In the summer. What could be better? On our European Challenge, we’ll ride through small towns and villages, along the shore of three Swiss lakes, and over a mountain range between France and Spain. That’s a lot of beauty, a lot of exploration, and a lot of adventure every single day.
And we do all of this together. The European Challenge is, first and foremost, a group experience. Our group shares every sight, every discovery, every high point together. It makes the experience incredibly rich and rewarding.
When our goal is biking all the way across Europe — from Germany to Austria to Liechtenstein, then Switzerland to France and on to Spain — you can’t help but be changed by the experience: the world is so beautiful, so full of promise. And you, well, you’re incredibly independent and resilient, but you’re also a great friend and a great group member.
At trip end in Barcelona, we’ll look back on three weeks of beauty, challenge, friendship, and fun — but just as importantly, we’ll look back on an experience that couldn’t have been nearly as incredible had you not been on a bike, in a group, with a goal. Nothing could be better.
A group of teens on a summer biking trip headed into the Alps
Sunflowers in the Bavarian foothills
Good Days and Great Days
Tour de France Excitement
French Lavender Fields
Capable and Supportive Leadership
Need to Know
A summer of adventure and challenge, of fun and friends.
Day 1: Trip Start
After meeting in Munich, we’ll build our bikes, practice riding as a group, and prepare for the journey ahead.
Days 2-5: Germany, Austria & Liechtenstein
Big valleys — so long! — are followed by some big passes, and those are followed by one very small country (we’ll stop for a snack on the way through).
Days 6-10: Switzerland & the Alps
In Switzerland, we’ll skirt two beautiful lakes, stop for the night in Interlaken, then head toward the Bernese Oberland. We’ll ride to Gstaad and Chateau d’Oex before following the Rhone River valley to the shores of Lake Geneva.
Days 11-16: Provence & the Massif Central
Following the foothills of the Alps into the heart of France, through vineyards and ancient cities, we’ll head southwest into Provence. We’ll bike toward the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct near Nîmes, and then skirt the Massif Central. We’ll explore the culture and tour the cobbled streets of Carcassonne, one of Europe’s best preserved Medieval-walled cities.
Days 17 & 18: The Pyrenees & the Mediterranean
After three weeks of riding together, we’ll face the challenging, yet beautiful climb through the Pyrenees. Crossing into Spain, we’ll make our way down to Barcelona for a celebratory swim in the Mediterranean.
Days 19 & 20: Trip End
In the morning, we’ll pack our bikes and prepare for our flights home. We’ll spend the afternoon exploring Barcelona and celebrating our three weeks riding across Europe.
18 nights of camping. All campground facilities will include hot water, sinks, and toilets. Many campgrounds will have showers and laundry.
1 night in a hostel just outside Barcelona. The hostel is a dormitory style accommodation with rooms divided by gender.Itinerary may vary by group and is subject to change.
"My leaders exemplified selflessness in an inspiring way. "
"Skylar's Overland trips have had an immeasurable impact on her confidence, resilience, independence, teamwork, and leadership. "
Maplewood, New Jersey
What to PackDownload PDF
We travel light at Overland.
Panniers are saddlebags sold in pairs that attach to either side of your rear rack. You should have large panniers, 2,400-3,000 cubic inches total (for the pair), designed for touring. One large pannier has internal dimensions of approximately 17" x 13" x 7". You should be able to fit all of your belongings, besides your sleeping bag and pad, into your panniers and have some space left for group gear.
- Navy Overland T-Shirt (1)
We will send every student an Overland T-shirt prior to the trip. Please wear this T-shirt to trip start.
- Synthetic High-Visibility T-Shirts (3) & Vest (1)
A high-visibility outer layer is required at all times while biking (high-visibility is a neon or fluorescent color, typically yellow, orange or pink). On warm days a high-visibility T-shirt will be sufficient. The vest should be large enough to wear over warm layers while riding on cooler days. High-visibility bike jerseys are acceptable but not necessary.
- Synthetic T-Shirt (1)
- Lightweight Long-Sleeve T-Shirt (1)
- Bike Shorts (2)
Biking-specific shorts with a padded seat.
- Shorts (1)
Comfortable shorts to wear around camp.
- Fleece Pants (1)
Please do not bring cotton sweatpants (they are heavy and bulky and will not keep you warm if wet).
- Synthetic Long Underwear Top & Bottom (1)
- Underwear (5)
- Athletic Socks (4)
- Wool and/or Synthetic Socks (2)
- Winter Hat (1)
- Winter Gloves or Mittens (1)
Insulated, warm and waterproof. Avoid knit and porous materials.
- Swimsuit (1)
Boys should bring a Speedo for this trip as most pools require it.
- Fleece Jacket or Pullover (1)
- Raincoat (1)
Waterproof material (e.g., Gore-Tex, or similar) is required. Your jacket should be large enough to allow layers underneath. Ponchos are not acceptable. Choose high-visibility if available.
- Waterproof Rain Pants (optional)
- Sleeping Bag
A lightweight, compact sleeping bag rated to 30 degrees Fahrenheit or less. We recommend either synthetic or treated down material. Your sleeping bag should compress into a stuff sack no larger than 20" in length.
- Sleeping Pad
¾-length or full-length closed cell foam (thin and firm) or self-inflating.
- Bowl, Mug & Utensils
6" to 8" plastic dish or bowl with top, insulated plastic mug, spoon, fork, and knife. These don't need to be special camping utensils (a Tupperware dish and regular utensils are fine).
Please bring an extra battery/batteries.
- Water Bottle
A 24-ounce bike bottle is ideal (on arrival you will receive a second bottle from us).
- Hydration System
A CamelBak or Platypus (or similar) with a 2- or 3-liter capacity. Must be a high-visibility color (if it is not hi-vis, you must cover it with hi-vis fabric or tape). The hydration system should be designed to primarily carry water (if it is too big it will be uncomfortable to wear all day).
- Touring Bicycle & Rear Rack
One of the following bikes is required: Trek 520, Surly Long Haul Trucker, Surly Disc Trucker, Fuji Touring, the Kona Sutra or Salsa Marrakesh. These bikes must be in excellent condition and must have been purchased in the past 48 months. Other bicycles are not acceptable. Please see the Right Bicycle for Your Overland Trip for more information.
- Bike Helmet
If you are flying to trip start, carry your helmet on the plane with you.
- Bungee Cords (4)
These should be 18-24" in length. Bungee cords are included with an Overland bike rental.
- Bike Lights
Bike lights (front and rear) are required—both when you train in the spring and once you are on your Overland trip. The lights should be USB powered with a variety of mounting options (clipping onto a pannier or a rear rack, for example). For front lights, we recommend either the Bontrager Ion 100 or the Bontrager Ion 120. For rear lights, we recommend the Bontrager Flare R or Flare RT. These lights are available from Trek bike dealers and on the Trek website.
- Water Bottle Cages
Two cages, attached to the bike frame. Some smaller-sized bike frames cannot accommodate two cages. If this is the case, you will be able to carry water bottles in your panniers or on your rack. All Overland rental bikes come with two water bottle cages.
- Spare Bike Tube (4)
Spare tube that matches your bike's tire size. All Overland rental bikes come with spare tubes.
- Spare Set of Brake Pads (1)
- Spare Bike Spokes (4)
Spare spokes that fit your wheels (two front and two rear) including the spoke nipple. Ask your local bike shop for guidance.
- Spare Bike Tire (1)
One spare tire that matches your bike's wheel size (use the same dimensions as the tires that are currently on the bike).
- Set of Tire Levers (1)
- Hex Wrench Multi-tool (1)
- Tire Patch Kit (1)
- Bike Gloves
Well-padded for comfort.
- Chamois Cream (optional)
Special cream to reduce chafing and saddle sores. You can purchase chamois cream at any bike shop.
- Handlebar Bag (optional)
Great for snacks, sunscreen and bike tools.
- Shoes for Biking
Bike touring or mountain biking shoes with bottom treads and "clipless" recessed cleats. A popular style of clipless shoes and pedals are SPDs. You may also ride in running shoes and bring toe cages to attach to your pedals. Please do not bring racing shoes as they have hard soles that are uncomfortable to walk in.
- Camp Shoes
Closed-toe shoes to wear around camp. Crocs or lightweight tennis shoes are ideal.
- Synthetic Camping Towel
A medium-size synthetic camping towel (synthetic camping towels dry much faster than regular towels).
- Travel Size Toiletries
- Sunscreen (SPF 15+) & Chapstick (with SPF protection)
- Gallon Sized Ziploc Bags (10)
To organize and waterproof your gear and small items.
- Large Trash Bags (5)
To waterproof your gear.
- Personal Journal or Book (optional)
- Camera, Charger & Extra Batteries (optional)
A digital or disposable camera.
- Health Insurance Card
Please bring an original or copy of your health insurance card.
Please bring a passport that is valid until at least six months after your trip end date.
- Passport Photocopies
Make at least four photocopies of your passport and visa (if applicable). Leave one copy with your family and put photocopies in both your checked luggage and carry-on luggage for the flight, separate from your original documents.
- Spending Money, Bike Repairs & Miscellaneous Expenses
Each student should bring a debit card, an ATM card, or a prepaid Visa card to cover spending money, bike repairs and miscellaneous expenses. Spending Money: While all meals and activities are included in the trip fee, we recommend $25/week for spending money (for example, for souvenirs or an occasional drink or snack beyond what is provided to the group as a whole). Bike Repairs: Over the course of long distance bicycle tour, every bicycle will need replacement parts and most bikes will need repairs. Please add $100 to the debit/ATM/Visa card (in addition to spending money) to cover these expenses. Miscellaneous Expenses: Most Overland students will incur some expenses while traveling (for example, to replace a worn or lost clothing item). Please add $100 to the debit/ATM/Visa card (in addition to spending money and bike repair money), to cover these expenses.
Things to Know
- Students should bring at least two reusable face masks on their trip. Overland will provide one additional mask.
- Your group will have access to laundry periodically.
- Please do not bring your smartphone (or any other electronics).
Please visit the FAQ tab for more information on our cell phone and electronics policy.
- Do not bring any type of knife or multi-tool (such as a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool).
- A high-visibility outer layer is required at all times while biking. See packing descriptions for more details.
- If you are flying to your trip, pack your sleeping pad and bike shoes in your bike box or checked bag. Take your helmet and sleeping bag with you on the plane as carry-on items, in case your checked luggage fails to arrive on time. Pack all remaining items in your checked duffel bag or in your checked panniers.
- There are no reimbursements for lost, damaged or stolen items.
Please schedule expensive items—phones, cameras, bicycles, etc.—on your homeowners insurance policy.
How challenging are Overland's bike trips?
Overland’s bike trips increase gradually in difficulty–from two weeks on Cape Cod & the Islands to our six-week American Challenge.
Many students start on Cape Cod & the Islands (averaging 20 miles of riding per day) or Vermont (averaging 25 miles per day). Nova Scotia & Acadia offers daily rides that are in the 30 to 35 mile range. For students looking for a three week West Coast bike trip, Pacific Coast groups ride 45 miles per day. High school students looking for a challenging summer experience can choose from European Challenge, Canadian Rockies & Montana, and American Challenge. These three trips vary in length and location, and on average ride 70, 75, and 85 miles per day, respectively.
We’d be happy to talk with you about each trip and the best fit for you: please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does my child need to have previous experience?
While no previous experience is required, we have high expectations of our students.
We expect your child –with your help– to select a trip that is appropriate for their interests and abilities. You should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the details of the specific trip and help your child understand what to expect.
We also expect our students to prepare ahead of time: to review the packing list, gather clothing and gear, and complete whatever training the trip requires (for recommended training please see the Before You Go tab).
Once the trip begins, your child should be ready –and excited– to contribute to a wholesome and enthusiastic group in which each member feels welcomed and valued.
Is the European Challenge a sight-seeing tour?
The European Challenge is not a sight-seeing tour; it is three weeks of sustained physical effort and group teamwork. The landscapes we ride through on our fully-packed bicycles are sublime in their beauty, and we will take time to enjoy them, but the focus is on the group experience and our shared goals.
The European Challenge is a chance for you to be challenged in ways that you might never have encountered before. Riding a bike is not technically difficult — but riding across Europe with 13 other people is one of the hardest sustained challenges we can imagine. To succeed on and enjoy the European Challenge, you have to be committed to the goals of the trip.
What are meals like at Overland? Can Overland accommodate allergies and intolerances?
Meals at Overland
Good food (and plenty of it!), excellent nutrition, and fun are the goals of Overland’s meals. Each group buys, prepares, and eats all of its meals together. Our students, with their leaders’ supervision, prepare all meals. A typical breakfast has cereal, milk, juice, and fruit; most lunches are sandwiches (or wraps) with a variety of fillings, plus chips, and fruit; dinners reflect easily prepared group meals like pasta, burritos, and stir-frys (all of which will typically have a selection of sauces and fillings). At Overland, meals are a group experience, an important way to foster connection with and consideration for other group members.
Allergies & Intolerances
We recognize there are many young people with food allergies or intolerances. We welcome these young people’s interest in joining us, and we ask parents of a prospective Overland student with an allergy/intolerance to please consider the following important information.
Most meals at Overland are prepared in basic kitchens (or outdoors), and groceries are typically purchased from small stores with limited choices. As a result, meals are prepared and served in what may be allergen-contaminated environments, and on many trips allergen-free/gluten-free foods are not readily available. While we cannot guarantee allergen-free meal settings, we will do what is reasonable to provide allergen-free/gluten-free foods on those trips where available.
In all things, our top priority is to help maintain all students’ well-being; to this end, all Overland leaders are trained to recognize and respond to allergic reactions, including administering antihistamines and epinephrine (both are carried in every trip’s first aid kit); leaders carry cell phones, and in some cases, satellite phones, so that should the need arise, emergency personnel can be contacted and their services requested. It is important for all prospective parents to understand that many groups travel in remote areas where emergency services may not be easily or readily accessible.
Our Admissions Process is Collaborative
During our admissions process, we will review all submitted Allergy Questionnaires to understand the applicant’s allergy/intolerance. We will then consider whether or not the applicant’s allergy/intolerance may be reasonably accommodated. If our admissions team has any concerns, they will contact the parent. In this conversation, we will seek to learn more about the allergy/intolerance, and we will discuss the available grocery stores, emergency services, and medical facilities on the applied-for trip. These conversations generally have one of three outcomes:
- The applicant is placed on the applied-for trip if the applicant otherwise qualifies.
- We offer a different trip if the applicant otherwise qualifies.
- We recommend waiting a year and re-applying.
Managing Food Allergies/Intolerances is a Partnership
Our commitment is to the health and well-being of each of our campers. Our goal is to partner with parents and campers—a partnership in which:
- We clearly describe our trips and policies;
- Parents clearly describe their child’s allergies or intolerances and their child’s maturity level and capability to self-manage their allergy or intolerance.
- We work together with parents in a collaborative and interactive process to determine if there are reasonable accommodations that can be made so that otherwise qualified applicants can participate in our trips.
- Students on an Overland trip take an active role in managing their allergies, including reading food labels as needed, eating only those foods with known ingredients, and seeking a leader if a reaction is suspected.
Meals: Vegetarians & Specialized Diets
Every summer there are many vegetarians who join our groups and who enjoy meat-free meals. We are happy to welcome these students as long as they understand they will share in the group’s meals but will simply have the meat portion withheld. For example: sandwiches at lunch with hummus, lettuce, tomato, and cheese (while the rest of the group has sandwiches with sliced turkey or ham); pasta at dinner with a tomato sauce (while the rest of the group has pasta with a meat sauce). We sometimes have requests from applicants with specialized diets—vegans, for example—to provide separate, specialized meals. As much as we might like to accommodate these applicants, the limitations of our kitchens, the size of available grocery stores, and the importance of group meals make it impractical to provide separate, specialized meals.
How often will there be access to showers and laundry? Will my child have to bring quarters and detergent for laundry?
Staying clean and comfortable is important at Overland!
Most trips have frequent access to hot showers. This ranges from nearly every night on some of our Introductory trips and our shorter biking trips, to every couple of days on many hiking trips, to longer stretches–three to five days, sometimes a little longer–on some of our more challenging trips. The goal on every trip, however, is to take showers when they are available!
In general, on every trip we do laundry once a week— this is typically in a laundromat with funds and detergent provided by Overland (and it’s usually a lot of fun!).
My child doesn't have experience being away from bathroom facilities. Will Overland's leaders teach and support the group?
Yes. We want each of our students to feel completely supported.
Every one of our trips will spend some of their time in areas with access to bathroom facilities, many of which include flush toilets, running water, and trash receptacles. Our youngest students, and most of our bike trips, will spend most of their time in settings like these.
All of our hiking trips will spend time away from areas with bathroom facilities. In preparation for a day hike away from facilities, or for a longer backpacking section, our leaders will teach the group about backcountry bathroom practices. In most cases, this will include digging a cat hole (a shallow six-inch hole) in a private location away from water sources. Leaders will also provide every group member a small bag to pack out toilet paper (and other paper products, e.g., pads and tampons).
Our leaders will also make sure that group members are supported with menstruation information, needs, and supplies (i.e., pads, tampons). We recommend sending your child with a supply of these items. If your child needs additional pads or tampons, the leaders can provide them.
What are Overland’s policies on phones, electronics, and communication?
To maximize independence and self-reliance, we do not permit phone calls, emails, or text messages to or from our campers. Your child will call home on arrival and departure with our phones and assistance, and in the case of an emergency. If your child brings a phone for use while en route to Overland, please do not send an expensive smartphone. Instead, an inexpensive prepaid cell phone will do. All phones will be collected on arrival and returned at departure. While we will take reasonable steps to prevent damage, theft, or loss, we will not make any reimbursements for lost, damaged, or stolen phones.
Cameras are welcome but please do not bring any other electronics (e.g., iPods, iPads, Kindles or other readers, GPS or similar devices). All electronics (except cameras) will be mailed home on arrival (at your risk and expense).
Communication: We’ll Be In Touch With You If Needed
Our leaders in the field check in with our office regularly; they carry cell phones (and in some cases satellite phones). Anytime a camper is treated for an injury or illness by a doctor or other medical personnel, parents are notified by our office. A director will call the parents to explain the nature of the injury or illness, the sequence of events leading up to the injury, and/or the steps leading to the treatment. Parents are typically able to speak with the medical personnel, with the leaders, and with their child.
Can I send mail to my child during a trip?
Getting a letter, card, or postcard while on an Overland trip is always exciting.
Please keep in mind that sending mail to your child on an Overland trip is different than sending mail to a traditional camp because your child will be on the move. Our experience has been that mail often does not arrive on time, and sometimes even when it does, post offices, campgrounds, and other mail stops do not reliably deliver mail to our groups.
For these reasons:
1. Please do not send anything valuable – please send letters, cards, or postcards only. If mail is late, lost, or misdirected, Overland’s leaders and staff are not able to return to the post office (or other mail stop) to collect it.
2. Please use the US Postal Service first-class mail only; do not use UPS, FedEx, or DHL (many of our mail stops accept US Postal Service mail only).
3. Please do not send overnight letters: many overnighted letters arrive before or after we arrive and are sent back. For this same reason, please do not send mail that requires a signature upon delivery.
4. Please allow one week for delivery to U.S. mail stops.
5. Please allow two weeks for postal delivery to international mail stops.
My child’s birthday is during the trip — can I send a gift?
We recommend that you send a letter, card, or postcard instead and save the gift for when your child returns home at the end of the trip (and, don’t worry; your child’s trip leaders will make sure there is a celebration!).
Can I send my child a care package during the trip?
We recommend letters, cards, or postcards instead of care packages. If, however, you send a care package, bear in mind that many don’t make it to the intended recipient (because we’re moving), and that many aren’t returned to the sender.
Where does this trip start and end?
You will need to arrange transportation for your child to Munich (MUC) for trip start and from Barcelona (BCN) at trip end. We will provide more specific travel information once we have placed your child on a trip.
Please tell me about safety at Overland.
Safety and risk management are at the forefront of our decision-making–from trip planning to leader training to supporting our groups in the field.
We cannot guarantee absolute safety–no program can. All recreational activities include inherent risks. Therefore, we strive to manage the risks that we can, knowing we cannot eliminate them.
We work hard to recruit, train, and support our trip leaders so they can create the kind of trips that have made us successful since the 1980s.
Please click here to read more about our approach to risk management and our accreditation by the American Camp Association.
What is Overland's admissions process?
When we receive your application, if your first choice is available, we will:
(1) call you to thank you for your application,
(2) send you an email with a link to our enrollment forms, and
(3) charge a deposit of $795 to your credit card.
If your first choice is not available, we will call you to discuss options.
For more information, and to access our application, please visit our Apply page.
Before you Go
Bike from Munich to Barcelona — a grand tour of Europe from the seat of your bicycle.
Students going on European Challenge should prepare for:
- 1000+ miles of riding led by two caring Overland leaders
- Biking full days through a wide range of terrains
- Camping out and cooking meals as a group
- 15 days of biking with an average of 70 miles per day
- A fun, supportive, and wholesome Overland experience
We expect you to arrive to your trip fully prepared for all activities.
Preparing for the Biking
Daily rides on the European Challenge average 70 miles over varying terrain. There are five days over 80 miles, and the longest day is approximately 90 miles (the exact mileage varies by group). You will encounter challenging terrain: long mountain passes in the Alps, hot temperatures in southern France, and more long mountain passes through the Pyrenees entering Spain. You will spend some days off of the bikes: arrival day, departure day, plus two buffer days to allow for delays en route (most groups will find that they spend these buffer days partially or completely off of the bikes).
Overland bicycle tours are self-contained — there is no van support. You will carry all of your belongings, plus some group gear and food, on a sturdy rack mounted over the back wheel of your bike. You will hang panniers (these are saddlebags, pronounced “pan-yers”) off the rack and attach gear like your sleeping bag and sleeping pad to the top of the rack using bungee cords. On average, you will carry about 40 pounds of equipment on your bike (not including the weight of the bike).
You should come prepared and recognize that some days will be more challenging and longer than others. Delays occur due to a wide range of variables — weather patterns change and road conditions vary. You, or someone in your group, might get a flat tire or encounter another mechanical issue that could delay your group. On some days your group will arrive at camp in the early afternoon, with plenty of time to explore the area or go swimming, while on other days your group will spend more time on the bike.
Completing all of the pre-trip training is essential. There isn't a gradual build to the miles, nor is there a settling-in period — you'll ride long, hard days from the very start of the trip.
Every European Challenge participant must complete all of the spring training rides, and, once on the trip, must be able to maintain 12 mph over challenging terrain on a fully loaded bicycle. We've designed the early weeks of the training so that most of the riding can be completed on the weekends. As the trip draws closer, there are more rides, so you will have to make time during the week to ride. Be sure to plan your training rides on consecutive days so that your training more closely approximates the riding that you will do on the trip. Please keep the following responsible riding practices in mind as you complete your spring training.
Responsible riding practices
Wear a helmet and closed-toed shoes
Always, no exceptions.
Design a good training loop
To the extent possible, ride on bike paths, bike lanes, and bike routes.
Follow the law
You have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.
Make your intentions clear to everyone on the road. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you before turning or changing lanes.
Ride where people can see you and wear a hi-vis top. Ride with your rear light on and flashing. Make eye contact with others and don’t ride on sidewalks. When possible, ride with others.
Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes, and other road hazards. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
Check that your tires are sufficiently inflated, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release levers are closed. Carry tools and supplies that are appropriate for your ride.
- 8 weeks before your trip: two rides a week (on consecutive days) with loaded panniers of two hours each (24 miles over varied terrain); try to ride for two hours without stopping to rest.
- 6 weeks before your trip: two rides a week (on consecutive days) with loaded panniers of three hours each (36 miles over varied terrain); try to ride for three hours with one five minute stop for rest after 20 miles.
- 4 weeks before your trip: three rides (on consecutive days) with loaded panniers of three hours each (36 miles over varied terrain); at this point in your training, you should be able to ride for three hours with just one five minute stop for rest after 20 miles.
- 2 weeks before your trip: four rides (on consecutive days) with loaded panniers: three rides of three hours each (36 miles over varied terrain), and one ride with loaded panniers of four hours (48 miles); complete each of these rides with one five minute stop for rest every 20 miles.
- 1 week before your trip: five rides (on consecutive days) with loaded panniers: three rides of three hours each (36 miles over varied terrain), and two rides with loaded panniers of four hours each (48 miles over varied terrain); complete each of these rides with one five minute stop for rest every 20 miles.
All pre-trip training rides must be completed using the bike, pedals, and shoes you will use on the European Challenge. All training rides must be at an average speed of 12 miles per hour on a fully-loaded bicycle.
Once on the trip, you will start riding at first light, taking short breaks (typically five minutes or less) during the day, and complete the day's ride in the late afternoon.
Please refer to the Pre-Trip Training Calendar where you will record your training in the weeks leading up to trip start.
Preparing for an Overland Experience
Overland trips are wholesome, structured experiences with high expectations of each student’s behavior. You are expected to be enthusiastic, positive, helpful, and supportive of your trip mates and your leaders. We ask that you leave your cell phone and electronics at home (cameras are always welcome), so you can fully engage with your group and your trip. Arriving ready for a challenge — and prepared to contribute to an enthusiastic group — will go a long way toward creating a successful trip. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss preparing for the European Challenge.
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Overland offers introductory, hiking, biking, language, writing, service and field studies programs domestically and abroad for students in 4th through 12th grade.