With the season getting closer, it’s a good time to get out on your bike and increasing your distance! But, before you get going, there are some things to keep in mind if you’re going on a long cycle ride. Here are our top tips. Happy riding!
1. Work up to it
Firstly, it’s important to not throw yourself in at the deep end. If you’re not used to cycling long distances, work up to it - don’t jump straight into doing a 100 mile ride. Start with some shorter distances and build up to longer ones. Whether you’re cycling 1 mile or 100 miles, you’re still making a commitment to exercise so concentrate on celebrating that rather than pushing yourself too far.
2. Refuel regularly
Did you know a rider in the Tour de France will burn in excess of 8,000 calories each day? While, your cycle rides may not compare with the Tour de France, you’ll still be burning energy that needs replenishing so you can keep going! Eat and drink often - a steady supply of energy and fluids is more beneficial than loading up in one go. If you struggle to remember to refuel, set your watch to go off every 15-20 minutes to remind you. We recommend starting with 2 x 750ml bottles on your bike and then carrying some Energy Drink powder sachets with you so you can fill up your bottles with the Energy Drink on route. If it’s not an organised cycle ride with feed stations then petrol stations, cafes or convenience stores are good options for a fresh supply of water - it’s vital to avoid dehydration! For more information on nutrition, check out our sportive nutrition guide.
3. Pace yourself
Save your energy – don’t go too hard at the start. Pacing yourself is key. You might make up a few minutes in the first part by pushing on but if you, as the pro cyclists call it, “bonk”, then you will lose a lot more than that. Try to save your energy for the latter part of the ride – that’s where you’ll need it the most. One way to test if you’re going at a good pace is to talk to others while you ride - you should be riding at a pace where you still feel comfortable to hold a conversation. And, this leads us onto our next tip….
4. Don’t go it alone
Riding with someone or a group has two advantages: Firstly, it can take your mind off the distance and you can share the experience. When it does get tough, you can encourage each other to keep going. Secondly, riding with someone or a group can also help you stay out of the wind. When you’re riding in the wind, you can use up a lot of energy and it makes a huge difference when you ride in the shadow of another rider. If there is a lot of wind out there, take it in turns to be facing the wind.
5. Go for some caffeine
Take some caffeine with you for the second part of the ride. Energy Gel Aqua Caffeine Hit is easy to carry with you and it will give you a much needed boost when the ride gets tough. There are many scientific research studies that have shown that caffeine helps to improve your endurance performance. To find out how much caffeine you should be taking, and how much our caffeine products contain, have a look at our guide below:
We hope these tips help you on those long cycle rides and get you that little bit further! For more top tips, check out our blog!