Although long-distance cycling is every cyclist’s dream, it takes months of groundwork and training in order to achieve this safely. Here are some tips and ideas if you’re eager for a long bike ride to help you get to the other side without too much unnecessary stress on your body.
First of all you need to work out and build your fitness levels up for your road trip
Even if you think you can do it, never start with a long ride. Begin by covering shorter distances and then gradually increasing the length of your cycle. Your training should still leave you fit enough to ride again the next day.
Your bike must be comfortable
You need to become familiar with your bike first, which, again, can only happen over time while you gradually increase the distances that you cycle. The way a bike feels on short trips is not an indicator of how it will feel on a long ride. It also takes time to get used to a saddle and find your optimal seating position on a new bike.
Make sure to get practical clothing to ride in
The same pants that feel great on a 10 mile ride, can begin to chafe against the delicate skin on a longer ride. By increasing the distance progressively, you will be able to catch problematic trends before they become actual problems and cause further discomfort.
Analysis the terrain
A hilly ride is far more arduous than the same distance on flat terrain. You could be perfectly capable of finishing 50 miles in your own town, but find it difficult to impossible in a different, more hilly place.
Change your gears
The longer and Hillier the ride, the more you should change gears. Make it a point to switch to a lower gear when going uphill, even though it feels like you may not “need” to. Otherwise you will be wasting unnecessary energy on addressing the hills and will not have enough Vooma left to endure the rest of the ride. Try to pedal at the same speed throughout your journey. If you find your legs move slower, because it is difficult to turn the pedals, then it is a sign that you have to switch to a lower gear.
You may need to make some replacements and adjustments on your bicycle
If something does not work for you, admit it and do something about it. This may include replacing components such as saddle, handlebars, grips, gear shifters, etc. – Or maybe even the bike itself. Make sure that it works well for you.
Eat and drink
A bicycle trip can trick you into thinking you are not hungry. Until you crash and find yourself completely unable to continue. If you’re going on a long drive, make it a point to snack when you have a water break. Some people like energy bars and energy drinks, while others just munch on anything. Snack on things like trail mix, dried fruit or even chocolate. Try adding some lemon juice and (a pinch) of salt to your water bottle, as this makes for an effective, all-natural electrolyte drink.
Last but not least, listen to your body and go at your own pace
Have realistic expectations and be patient. If you can’t handle more than 20 miles at your local rail-trail, so what! Enjoy what you can do, and keep doing it over and over.
By following the above tips and advice you will hopefully make that long distance cycle as painless as possible. If you keep working on your cycling, you may just surprise yourself on your next long distance cycle.