Long distance bike rides come with a great sense of adventure, freedom and achievement. Most cyclists dream of reaching new places, exploring new lanes and ticking of some of those important distance milestones. After all, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of exploring on two wheels.
Think you’re ready to take on a lengthy ride? Here are 6 invaluable tips for long distance bike rides
There is no doubt that you can do anything if you set your mind into it. But in order to enjoy the bike tour, you’ll need to have a strong and physically fit body. It will take time, commitment and motivation to get yourself ready for this.
Start your training by riding for at least 40 miles, and then build from there. Gradually increase the intensity and length of your rides until you reach your desired distance. Once you’ve done that, try to work on your speed. While speed is not as important for long bike rides, this will help build endurance. Plus, this will train your body to ride more briskly while maintaining comfort. Training increases your chances for a fun, smooth sailing ride. It will help reduce injuries as well.
Plan your route
Anytime you plan to do long distance bike rides, you should start by looking at a map and then plan your route. This is especially important if you have a destination in mind. Print out the map before you leave so you can check on it from time to time. Nothing can ruin the fun of long distance bike rides than getting lost.
Pack enough food and fuel
Start drinking during the first 30 minutes of your ride. If you drink when you’re thirsty, it’s already too late. Remember that thirst is a sign of mild dehydration. When you’re thirsty, this means your body is giving you a signal that it doesn’t have enough water to carry out normal tasks. Drink about one bottle of water or sports drink every hour. Opt for drinks that are aimed at hydration rather than energy. Drink more during the summer to rehydrate your body.
Carbohydrate rich-foods are ideal for snacks for long distance bike rides. This is because carbohydrates can easily be broken down into glucose, which will then be converted into energy. Banana and energy bars are your best snack options for long bike rides. However, it is easier to overload on carbs than you think. This increases the chances of an upset stomach. Experts recommend consuming 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of exercise. Ride strong and avoid stomach rumble by eating the right foods at the right time.
We want you to enjoy your bike tour. Given that this will be a long ride, you wouldn’t want to waste your energy early on. Otherwise, you may end up getting really fatigued and struggling badly towards the last third of the ride.
Keep your legs moving rhythmically and stay light on the pedals. Although the perfect RPM varies per person, 90 RPM is generally acceptable. When you’re using a gear that’s too low, your cadence will increase. You’ll feel tired easily because your legs will be working too hard to keep up with the cadence. Riding on a gear that is too high, on the other hand, will cause your cadence to sink. The cadence may be lower than 90 RPM, but you’ll easily get tired because of the effort required. Learn how to use your gears efficiently.
Get in the zone
Our mind is a powerful thing. It can be your ally or a destructive pest. It can directly affect your performance during the bike tour. If you feel exhausted and tell yourself that you can’t do it anymore, then you are likely to fail. But if you tell yourself that you can do it and keep pushing forward, there is no doubt that you can achieve your goal.
Mental toughness trumps physical fitness. It doesn’t matter how hard you prepared for this ride, you won’t be able to reach your goal if you think negatively. If you are on the verge of giving up, just imagine how amazing it would feel at the end of the ride.
Dress for success
You can ride a bike without any special clothing at all, but you can’t just wear a tank and shorts for a bike tour. Dressing appropriately will have you riding in comfort for longer. Lightweight jersey, shorts or tights and gloves are the outfit of choice for long distance bike rides. But if you are starting early in the morning, and you would like a bit more coverage, consider wearing arm and leg warmers. These are also beneficial during the warm weather as they protect your arms and legs from the sun’s harmful rays.
For bike rides during the winter months, you’ll need to bundle up. Thermal clothing, thick tights, long-sleeve jersey, arm and leg warmers, wool socks and lobster gloves are recommended during this time of the year. You may look like a bloated oaf with all these gear, but function over fashion is important for this ride.