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How To Prepare For A Bike Ride

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How To Prepare For A Bike Ride

From leisurely rides through scenic countryside to challenging uphill treks, cycling offers many benefits for both our physical and mental health. However, before you set out, proper preparation is required to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable ride.

In this blog we’re going to take you through some essential steps to prepare for any bike ride, so you can hit the road feeling confident.

Equipment

Every cyclist needs a few essential pieces of kit.

Kit List:

  • Bike
  • Helmet
  • Appropriate clothing- Getting the correct materials is essential, you should try to avoid cotton and stick to moisture-wicking materials.
  • Sunglasses- More essential than you would think, sunglasses can come in handy for a variety of reasons. They will protect your eyes against sun, wind, rain, dust and grit, and even bugs.
  • Hydration & snacks
  • Repair kit- You never know when you might get a puncture.

Equipment Checks:

There are a few basic checks you should make to your bike and helmet before setting off. Making these checks will take less than 10 minutes and will ensure your safety while you’re out on the road.

Bike:

  • Tyres- Are they pumped up?
  • Brakes- Do they hold firmly?
  • Chain- Check for rust and make sure it is well oiled.
  • Seat & handlebars- Are they at the correct height?

If you have an issue with any of the above, do not ride your bike before fixing the problem. If you’re not a competent bike mechanic, then take it to someone who knows what they’re doing to get the problem checked out.

Helmet:

  • Correctly positioned- Your helmet should sit forwards on your head just out of your eyeline. Wearing a helmet on the back of your head will not protect you in a crash. Use the retention system at the back of the helmet to keep it in place.
  • Chin Strap- Correctly adjusting the strap that goes under your chin is crucial for a secure fit to keep the helmet in place should you get into a crash or fall from your bike. You should make sure this is tight enough that you can only fit around 3 fingers between the strap and your chin. You may also need to adjust the strap around the ears to avoid discomfort and ensure a secure fit.
  • The right way round- This might sound silly, but it is something new cyclists can often get wrong, especially with aerodynamic helmets. Make sure you know which way the helmet is supposed to be worn, wearing it incorrectly could compromise your safety.

Logistics/Navigation

Before you head out there are a few logistical/navigational things to consider to make sure you’re safe and enjoy your ride.

Know/plan your route:

Even if you’re cycling a new route you should have it planned out in advance.

Have access to a map:

Regardless of whether you’re cycling a brand-new route or one you’ve been on been on many times before, it’s always helpful to have access to a map.

You never know what unforeseen circumstances might throw you off your planned route. If riding on the road, traffic, road works, and even the weather could all force you to take a different route. Off-road cycling can be even more unpredictable.

Nutrition

As well as having the right gear, getting the correct nutrition is also hugely important in cycling.

Whether you ride casually or competitively, understanding how to correctly fuel your body will improve your performance as well as enhancing your overall experience and enjoyment.

Pre-ride Nutrition:

What you eat before a ride will depend on how much time you have, and how far you’re going. Before a long ride or race you should eat around 2-3 hours before to allow time for proper digestion and get the most from your food. Aim for a meal that is balanced in carbs, protein, and a small amount of fat.

If you have less time, then you should eat food that is lower in fat and protein and contains carbs that are quick to digest.

Pre-ride meals if you have 2-3 hours:

  • Breakfast burrito- Eggs, whole wheat wrap/tortilla, cheese, veggies
  • Veggie omelette- Any vegetables you like with cheese, you may also like to add ham.
  • Porridge- Topped with fruit and nut butter of your choice (we like blueberries, banana, and almond butter).

Pre-ride meals if you have 1 hour:

  • Yoghurt, granola & fruit.
  • Avocado toast
  • Rice cakes with nut butter & honey.

Energy Drinks:

If you don’t have a lot of time a great option for pre-cycle fuelling is to drink an energy drink such as the SIS Beta Fuel Energy Drink or the Maurten Drink Mix 320, for a fast delivery of carbs.

As well as eating the right foods before you set out on a bike ride you should also make sure you’re properly hydrated, especially in hot weather.

Nutrition on the bike:

If you’re going on a longer ride, then there are a couple of things you should take with you.

Takeaway:

Every bike ride is an opportunity for adventure and exploration, whether navigating busy city streets or serene country roads. However, preparing to hit the road goes beyond simply hopping onto your bike and setting off.

There are essential preparations you should make before any bike ride. By following the steps set out in this blog you will set yourself up for a safe and successful journey.

So, as you gear up for your next bike ride, remember to prioritise safety, plan your route, and pay attention to your pre-ride nutrition. By doing so you will ensure you get the most out of your ride.

Related Articles:

Nutrition Guide – Cycling

Answering the Top Googled Cycling Questions

The Role of Nutrition in Cycling Performance

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