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Getting Ready for Your First Big Bike Ride

A few weeks ago, I provided you with a few helpful tools to get you out and started on your cycling journey. Today, I want to add a few more key recommendations for those ready to take it to the next level.

Cycling events like GranFondos, charity rides, or Centuries (events of 100 km or 100 miles - be sure to check which one beforehand!!) are challenging, but can be extremely rewarding. You’ll enjoy amazing scenery, good camaraderie, and of course the bragging rights that come along with such an accomplishment.Here’s a list to help ensure your big day is a big success.

  • Clothing:
    • A short sleeve jersey or athletic top combined with arm warmers and a vest, provides similar warmth as a jacket but allows you to easily strip layers as the temperature rises.
    • Gloves, sunglasses, and a helmet are crucial and you’ll look professional!!
    • Bike specific shorts with padding (called a chamois) are a good investment as they make riding more comfortable.
    • Unfortunately, not every event will have hours and hours of glorious sunshine, so consider investing in a light waterproof jacket and bike gloves to keep you warm.
  • Reduce the risk of mechanical problems by getting a tune up a few days before your event. Make sure you pump your tires and have a clean, well-oiled chain. As much as I tune and prepare my bike, flat tires happen; have a spare tube, a couple of tools, and a pump on hand for these unexpected stops.
  • Do your homework, by looking at the course description beforehand. Knowing when the next hill or rest-stop is can provide extra motivation.
  • Carry an “emergency kit” in a plastic baggy, including: a piece of id, emergency contacts, cellphone, a little cash (e.g., for a taxi, snacks, pay-phone if required), and spare keys.
  • Stay safe by avoiding sudden movements, overlapping wheels; and be gentle on the brakes to avoid locking wheels or skidding.
  • Use your gears to your advantage. Spinning at a higher cadence (80-90 RPM*) is most efficient.
  • Proper hydration and nutrition are important considerations, before, during and after your ride. Thankfully, Dietitians of Canada have some great resources to help you plan.
    1. Sports Hydration
    2. Sports Nutrition

Still have questions or concerns? The qualified exercise professionals at the Physical Activity Line (1-877-725-1149) have ridden their fair share of big events and would be more than happy to help!

For those of you not quite ready for the long distance rides, don’t feel discouraged as it takes time and practice to tackle these events. Just getting out there, riding and feeling good about yourself is healthy and fun!

*RPM: Revolutions per minute is a measure of how many times your pedals/cranks turn around in one minute; this is also called cadence.

Related blogs

The Benefits of Bicycling
Bike Riding Is Easier Than You Think

Resources and references

The Ride to Conquer Cancer: Safety Guidelines

 

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