While speaking at century rides or cycling club meetings, I am often asked what are some key points that one needs to consider to complete a long ride comfortably and with energy to spare.
Over the years I have put together some key tips that will lead to your success in long-distance cycling. Here are my top 10:
It's important to drink every five to 15 minutes for healthy hydration. The wind can make you feel cool, but don't be fooled. The wind evaporates your perspiration. So to prevent water loss, drink at least one bottle for every hour you're on the bike.
Use your gears to climb and descend with an even effort. Your energy will last longer and your fitness will improve consistently (even if you are pedaling downhill).
They help you conserve energy and make the ride easier. Learn how they work.
Drink plenty of water or sports drink before you ride. The wind produced from cycling evaporates perspiration, making most cyclists unaware of their personal water loss. Keep hydrated by drinking every five to 15 minutes. You are losing more water than you think!
Group Cycling Is Fun
In most states, cyclists are legally entitled to ride two abreast where it is safe to do so. When following another rider, look at their hips and beyond. Looking forward gives you the reaction time necessary to adjust for changing conditions.
Practice Pack Riding
Call your local bike shop for information about group rides. You'll find that riding in a pack is a lot of fun once you get used to being surrounded by other riders.
Test Your Sports Drink
Many riders swear by sports drinks, but if you're not used to them they can upset your stomach. Try them out before you're in the middle of a long ride.
Always Carry Food
Training takes a lot of energy. Some riders like fruit such as bananas while some opt for energy bars. Steer clear of snacks high in fat. Always carry food if you're going to be out longer than two hours.
Check Your Tires
Be sure your tires are in good condition and properly inflated before each ride. The proper pressure to inflate your tires is on the side of the tire (around 100 psi for most road tires).
Familiarize yourself with flat-tire repair. Bring a pump, tube, tire levers, change for a phone call, water and sunscreen, and a rain jacket when needed along with any cold-weather gear you may need. Even if you don't know how to repair a flat, there is normally someone on the spot who can help if you have the proper equipment and supplies.Search for a cycling event.