Long-distance cycling isn’t for everybody. If your fitness level isn’t up to par, you need to focus on either…
- a) Sticking to designated cycle lanes and enjoying those gentle bike rides around the park, or…
- b) Start working on your fitness levels, preparing your body for the endurance test that is long-distance cycling.
If you do decide to go for the second option, then well done you. We hope you appreciate the benefits, but to help you survive the ride, you do need to pay attention to the following tips.
1) Build up your strength. As we said, you won’t get very far if you haven’t already put the work in. To ensure you aren’t drained of energy after the second mile, develop a training schedule to help you prepare yourself for more intensive routes.
2) Speak to your doctor. If you have any prevailing health issues, you don’t want to put yourself at risk on the ride. Check with your doctor about the viability of your plans, and if given the approval, follow his/her advice when you finally set out on your long-distance adventure.
3) Pack your bags. Don’t leave without the essentials. These include food and drink, your smartphone (for emergency contact details and navigation apps), a bike pump, and a first-aid kit. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so while you should travel light, you should also make a checklist of those things you shouldn’t leave home without.
4) Give your bike a health check. Not only do you need to be in peak condition to survive the ride, but your bike needs to be roadworthy too. Tighten the brakes, check the handlebars, and blow up your tyres to ensure you don’t run into any difficulties later on.
5) Stay hydrated. As a cyclist, you should already know about the importance of hydration. You will lose a lot of fluid through sweat, especially when you’re exerting yourself more than normal, so ensure you take plenty of water with you. Should you be in danger of running out, plan to stop every so often to refill your bottle, be that from a natural water source or any stores you are passing en route.
6) Eat plenty. We aren’t talking about scoffing down a large meal before you head out, so don’t overdo it. Rather, we are talking about eating plenty of healthy snacks sporadically throughout your journey to give you the energy you need on the ride. We recommend Papa Steve’s No Junk Raw Protein Bars, but you can pack your bags with whatever healthy option takes your fancy.
7) Pace yourself. Don’t push yourself too hard at the beginning, as you will start to flag later on. Take it easy, enjoying a gentle pace at the beginning of your ride, before pushing yourself further later on, especially as you get to the last stretches of your trek. Ensure you stop when you need to, giving yourself a break every few miles to sit and take in the scenery. This is especially relevant should you start to have difficulty with your breathing or feel any cramp in your legs. The more steady your pace, the more likely you are to enjoy, and benefit from the experience.
If you’re thinking about long-distance cycling, follow our tips to help you get the most out of the ride. It will be an endurance test, especially if you haven’t cycled long distances before, but the sense of satisfaction you get at the end of the journey will counter the intensity of what came before.