Long Distance Cycling – The Steps To Make It Happen!
Ever since I bought my first bike, which was a HUGE HDT 10, I always wanted to ride long distances. I read a lot of articles online and was confused and did not know where to start from. Long Cycle Ride is something that every cyclist want’s to do, however only a few succeed. Even though there are a lot of articles on the web to help you make it happen, no one explains in a Lehman’s language. So let’s start.
A Day Before long distance cycling ride
The first step before attempting a long cycle ride is to check whether your bike is good condition or not. Check the tire pressure, make sure the gear shifting is perfect, check for anything that might get you into a problem while on the ride. I rode my bike a day before in the evening just to make sure that everything is ok with my bike. I found that the air pressure was not right on rear wheel so did the needful. By the time I got back home, my bike was perfect for the next day long ride.
There are few important things before you start your ride. I am listing all of them below for your understanding.
Before The Ride
Firstly make sure that you start early. Ideal start time would be anywhere from 4 AM to 5 AM. Offcourse you do not want to miss your office. The place that I come from, summers are unforgiving. (Jaipur, Rajasthan, India) The temperature here in summers can go as high as 50 degrees Celsius that is about 114-degree Fahrenheit. Enough to boil or roast you. Everyone like those tanned cycling legs, however, I prefer not to have them. I start as early as 3 AM on the ride day.
Eat Before You Ride
One of the most important things is to eat something before the ride. Never ever ride empty stomach. You will be needing a lot of energy for the ride. The idea behind eating is that your body only stores a little amount of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates act as a fuel for any form of exercise that you may do. Keeping your body fueled up is the most important thing to do before you go on any kind of ride. Keep it topped up! I usually eat a couple of bananas or a peanut butter sandwich before I start any ride.
Warm Up before long distance cycling
To prepare your body for the long cycle ride ahead it is advisable to do few warm-up exercises before you begin. I have prepared a video to show you some basic warm-up exercises that one should do before you begin your cycle ride. Watch the video below.
things to carry on a ride
There are quite a few things that you need to carry while going for a ride. Especially long distance ones. Firstly hydration pack or ample amount of water which of course as you know is a life savior in any life-threatening situation. I usually carry two water bottles while going for a ride. Carry a hydration pack if you can get hold off. For eating although there are numerous options available out on the road, however, I do carry few energy bars with me. In case I am riding on a stretch where there is a scarcity of places to eat.
“My friends suggested to have another bottle with energy drink like glucose, electral, enerzal or elecrobion. If in case you need sudden energy boost it would be very helpfull” Courtsey: Yuvraj Dagur & Navneet!
“I also recommend carrying a simple cycle toolkit, extra tyre tubes, puncture kit in case you know how to use one. Also keep an ID proof with handy cash. Also try and get a sticker which can have your name and emergency contact number in case of any trouble on the road.” Courtsey: Nav Ratan!
On The Ride
Ride With Your Tribe
I usually ride along with my group as it’s fun and this way I cover more distance without getting bored. Also if I get into any trouble there is plenty of help available. This is always not the case at times when I ride solo and get stuck I have to deal the problem myself. (PS: This will, in fact, make you a stronger cyclist)
Ride Strategy for long distance cycling
This is what usually I prefer and do. I break my long cycle ride in three halves. So supposing if it’s a 100 KM’s ride. I break the distance into three parts. First 40 KM’s I ride at a steady pace and try not to stop for anything. I have the hydration support on my bike so I do not have to stop. I also make sure that I do not exert more during the first 40 KM’s of my ride. You have to save energy for the rest of your ride. After 40 Km’s I take a break of 10 to 15 minutes max, as taking more break might settle you in that uneasy and unwanting muscle fatigue phase. You might not want to ride more. The second phase is when I use my energy levels to keep the steady pace which I had before. Post about completing 80% of my ride I take a second break, and again the rest is of not more than 10 to 15 minutes.
Hang on your journey is almost complete!
The last phase of your journey is the most important and will drain all your energy by the time you reach home. Make sure that you eat something in the second break to replenish your energy level. if you want to keep the same pace, give it everything you got. I normally ride slow not exerting too much. The idea is to complete the ride successfully without causing any muscle fatigue.
“I would also recommend to carry a power bank on long rides to support your phone battery, in case you are tracking your ride on STRAVA”
After The Long Cycle Ride
Welcome back home buddy! Your body will now demand serious rest and will force you to lie down or sit for sometime and have plenty of water. Don’t do this! You will need to do some stretching exercises to make sure your body cools down. The same way it’s important to warm up your body, it’s equally important to cool down your body to prevent any injuries. The best way to do this by stretching exercises.
Visit my YouTube channel for more cycling Vlogs.
Now once you are back from the ride and are done with the stretching of your body, its time to relax and few beers as they are well deserved.
And that feeling when Your Strava stats looks like……!
Hope there are few good things that you may have picked from this article. In case you think I have missed something out, please let me know in the comments below.
Watch the video of 100 km cycling tips below on my YouTube channel.
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