Not every ride is just a quick spin around the neighborhood. When it comes time to put some serious miles down on the road, make sure that you’re prepared with this road ride survival guide.
Preparing for the ride ahead of you is a crucial part of riding that should not be overlooked or forgotten about; but rather it should be mastered. You’ll get much more out of your rides if you have the right equipment to help you get through your ride as smooth as possible. Good experiences on the bike = more motivation for more bike rides, which in turn = a happier you. We want you to be happy, we also want you to get the most out of your road riding and for you to build on more positive experiences on the bike, which is what this following piece of compiled information is for.
Always prepare yourself a day or two in advance, especially if you plan to go for a highly demanding ride that might include any of the following: High mileage (Century ride or anything above 50 miles/80 Km), fast pace (local race emulating group ride), or if you’re going for the elevation gains (a long journey up into the mountains to fight vehicular trolls and increased blood pressure).
“Fueling” up your body with proper food and water leading up to the ride preps you to ride all day.
For starters, I recommend hydrating yourself throughout the day and carbo loading on the days leading up to your ride (eating foods high on carbs. For example: Potatoes, whole wheat, pasta, fruits, etc.). Properly fueling your body before a big ride allows you to carry less emergency food, and aids in the prevention of a serious bonk.It is of high importance to stock up your body on energy reserves for your ride; this also helps with the prevention of “bonking”, a word very well known in the roadie world. If you’ve never heard the word “bonking,” it essentially means your body has depleted itself of energy which causes you to hit a mental, emotional, and physical wall, making it extremely difficult to keep going. Remember to stay within your abilities or you’ll find yourself working a lot harder than you should, and will eventually bonk and be forced to call your loved one to come pick you up; No one wants to go through that.
It’s important to bring additional food and water to keep your energy levels high throughout your ride.
Always make sure you bring water and enough food to feed you for a day’s worth of riding, even if you’re only planning to be out for a couple of hours. You never know what to expect during your ride, so it’s always good to be prepared for most situations. Make as many stops as needed, although keep them to a minimum if you can. Too many breaks and the day will drag on longer than planned, and your body won’t feel as good as you’d expect it would after resting. If any type of bodily pain (lower back, knees, etc.) is persistent and keeps you from enjoying your ride, then a proper bike fit is in order. You don’t want to ride through the pain, as ignoring it can lead to more serious health issues.
Be ready for common mechanical issues so you don’t have to cut the day short.
Saddle bags are great for carrying the extra gear you may need.
The following is a list showing you the essentials you’ll need to bring along for your ride, let it be a spin around the block, or a double century. Depending on the longevity of the ride, you’ll have to pack accordingly.
- Saddle bag with goodies, such as a spare tube, tire lever, a Co2 cartridge/inflator and cash money in case of a side-wall gash on your tire or an urgent stop at a cash only donut shop.
- Mini air pump and a patch kit (Necessary if you’re planning to do an extra-long ride and are only carrying one spare tube).
- 2 full water bottles and loads of snacks. You don’t want to run out of either of these two items, so pack more than you think you’ll need.
- Comfortable cycling kit; if you value your “valuables”, choose bib shorts that have extra padding on the chamois meant for endurance rides. Thank me later.
- Helmet to protect your precious noggin in case of the worst.
- A front and rear light, which will grant you visibility and an upper hand against potholes and road debris should your ride go after hours.
- A riding buddy; someone around your fitness level is recommended. It’s important to have someone else with you in case anything unexpected goes down. Plus, riding with a friend is just more fun than riding solo.
As always, make the most out of your ride and cherish those unique experiences on the bike. Remember to keep yourself properly hydrated and fueled, and most of all, keep pedaling.. unless you’re body is demanding you otherwise.
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