This Article is About
long distance
adhesive patches
bike mechanic
spare tubes
energy bars
necessary tools
flat tire
soft drink
biscuits
Long Distance Cycle Rides
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Long Distance Cycle Rides

Cycle Tips for Long Rides. The definition of a long rides depends on where you are at with your cycling. For some it will be 100kms (62mls) for others, 200kms (125mls) would be a challenge. These rides could take anywhere from between 4 to 8 hours depending on the terrain, your level of fitness, the weather and your riding companions. You’ll need to ride to the slowest members ability, to all get home together. Either way when undertaking a long ride, there are certain factors to consider.

Safety. First, give your bike a good check a couple of days before hand. Getting breakdowns a long way from home is no fun. Check your brakes are working efficiently, make sure the pads are ok. Check your tires for wear, and any nicks or cuts. If in doubt replace them. Check that your gears are changing smoothly, if not get them adjusted by a bike mechanic.

What to take. Make sure you have the necessary tools and spare tubes to fix a flat tire. I always take 2 tubes, as well as some self adhesive patches, in case there’s need to repair a tube.   And don’t forget your pump. Get one of those under the saddle bags to put your tools and tubes in, leaving your jersey pockets for food. The weather will dictate what clothing to wear, but layers that are removable gives you the option to adjust to different temperatures. Though a lightweight jacket is a good idea, which you can put on if you stop or if it cools down.

Food and Drink. Take two bottles of drink of a fluid and energy replacement nature. This replaces salts and minerals lost through sweat. You’ll also need to top these up as you go, at service stations or local shops, with either water or soft drink. For food, I would take things like bananas, energy bars, muesli bars or biscuits. Anything that is reasonably small, and fits into your back pockets. You don’t want to laden yourself down with too much stuff.   You can also take “squeezys” or carbo shots. These are small sachets of a gel like substance, which are basically pure carbohydrates. You can either take these on a regular basis, say one per hour. Or save them until you get near the end of your ride as a boost for that last few kilometres. Eat and drink regularly, rather than waiting until you feel hungry or thirsty. Following these basic food tips will get you through the ride in good shape.

The Ride Long rides should be fun to do, so make them challenging with out being torturous. A mix of terrains helps to break up the ride, so try and include some climbs as well as some flat sections. I always ride with a cycle computer, so I know not only how far I’ve come, but also how far left to go to the finish. This can be physiologically important if you’re getting tired. When tired, knowing you only have 15kms to go is manageable, compared to being tired and having no idea how long you have left to ride. Plan at least one longish stop to re-fuel. Make this somewhere you can get real food. Eating energy bars and carbo gels all day gets very tiresome, so having some real food is a good pick me up. Stops also gives everyone a chance to say how feel, and if they have any issues. If riding with a group, rotate the front riders to give everybody a go, and also to give everyone a rest at the back of the bunch. Riding pace will depend on your group and terrain, but as a general rule, don’t go out to fast or hard, especially if your not used to the distance. Slow and steady is the way to go, that way you finish in good shape and not completely exhausted.

So in Conclusion. Long rides are a natural progression as you improve your cycling, they are nothing to be afraid of, if you plan for them, and follow a few basic cycling tips. It is very satisfying completing a longer distance than you’ve done before, it also gives you confidence in the knowledge that you can do it.


Street Talk

Anna26  

Great article, I like long rides for the challenge, you're right some preparation makes them more enjoyable.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks Anna, yes long rides are really what cyclings all about.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Anna26  

Great article, I like long rides for the challenge, you're right some preparation makes them more enjoyable.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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