With more and more people heading out on the bike as a party of one, it’s important to prepare to make sure you have a successful ride.
Whether you’ve always been a lone wolf or are just starting to discover the joys of riding solo, here are a few top tips for when you are cycling on your own.
Pick your route
One of the real benefits of riding on your own is that you can go where you want at the pace you want. Unless you are feeling really adventurous, have a great sense of direction, or don’t mind getting lost, make sure you know where you are going by planning the route ahead.
Most of us have our favourite routes already but if you trying to explore a new area or want to go a little further, then familiarise yourself with the roads online first. Using the satellite or street view can help you pick quiet rural lanes that are cycling paradise. And you don’t want to suddenly find yourself on a dual carriageway, fighting the turbulence from passing lorries.
If you like to cycle alone often, switch up your route regularly and discover new areas around you.
Cycling alone requires additional attention to safety. When venturing out on your own, always make sure you are well prepared, never put yourself at risk and tell a family member or friend where you are going.
There are also several apps available that help your friend or family member keep an eye on where you are. With apps like Find Friends, Garmin LiveTrack, or Road iD you can add further security to your ride.
There are a few things you should always take with you, but this is even more important when you are riding on your own. As much as we hate to admit it, sometimes not all rides go as planned—don’t find yourself stranded on the side of the road with no help.
1. Spare tube, mini pump, and tyre levers
Punctures do happen, and you don’t want to have one on a small country lane, miles away from home without some kit to fix it! Make sure you are also familiar with how to change a tube. A small saddle bag is ideal for storing the tyre tube and levers. Alongside these, a small multi-tool is always handy.
2. Wear the right clothes
It’s often tricky to get the amount of clothes to wear right but generally, it’s best to start with a little more and take some off as you get warmer. The longer you ride the more important it is to invest in good quality cycling kit too – it really makes a big difference.
One top tip, always take a rain jacket with you, even if it’s unlikely to rain (It’s always possible when cycling in the UK!). If you do have to make a longer stop, for example to fix a puncture, then you have an extra layer to keep warm.
Obvious, but a phone is invaluable when you are on your own, whether it’s to help your friends or family track your ride or call for help if you find yourself in a tricky situation.
4. Cash/credit card
Even if you are not planning to stop for a coffee or need to top up your drinks bottle, some emergency cash can come in very useful.
Fuel & Hydrate
To help you have a great ride, make sure you fuel and hydrate properly. There is nothing worse than going out on a longer ride (whether on your own or in a group) and hitting the wall with 10 to 15 miles to go – it really is unpleasant, and completely unnecessary. It is well documented that you can avoid it by fuelling correctly.
Eat and drink often throughout your ride. A steady supply of energy and fluids is more beneficial than loading up in one go. Our new Slow Release Energy range is ideal for a stable and sustained energy supply for longer-lasting fuel. If you are going out for more than 2 hours, we recommend starting with 2 x 750ml bottles on your bike mixed with a sports drink like Slow Release Energy Drink. If you think you might need to top up your bottles then take some additional powder with you (small freezer bags are a great re-usable containers). Petrol stations, cafes or convenience stores are good options for fresh water – we can’t stress how important it is to stay hydrated, especially in hot conditions!
Depending on how much you drink, you can also take some bars and gels to top up your energy. When taking Slow Release Energy you should aim for around 60g carbohydrate per hour. So if you drink 500ml (provides you with 38g carbs), you can then also eat a Slow Release Energy Bar.
If you struggle to remember to refuel, set your watch to go off every 15-20 minutes as a reminder.
Find a club or group
With social distancing still in place, we are likely to be going out on our own but as restrictions are lifted we can already go on rides in small groups. Besides the extra company, riding with others can make it physically easier (you can draft off each other for less wind resistance) and more motivating).
Joining a club is a great way to get the most out of your cycling. Whether you are a seasoned racer or a complete beginner, it’s a great feeling riding with like-minded cyclists to develop your skills and challenge yourself. British Cycling has over 1,700 affiliated clubs so there is a club to suit everyone, ranging from informal groups who ride for leisure, Go-Ride clubs that cater for young people right through to competitive racing teams. If you want to join a group, the British Cycling club finder is a great tool to find the right club for you.
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The Slow Release Energy Pack contains all the products and flavours of our new Slow Release Energy range, providing you with longer-lasting energy. Enhanced with Ocean Minerals for an invigorating hit of magnesium and over 70 minerals and trace elements. Get yours here.