Preparing for your first long ride is one of the most important aspects to ensure that you stay safe while out on the road and complete your ride and enjoy it.
If you are an experienced rider, then more than likely, you would have been through the ups and downs of preparing for your ride. It’s easy for even the most experienced cyclists to make mistakes and overlook critical factors like route planning, stretching before the ride, checking tire pressure, and even ensuring you’re hydrated.
In this article, I’m going to provide readers with my top pre-ride tips to make your 100-mile ride enjoyable, memorable, stress-free, and safe.
Know Your Current
One of the first things you need to do is ensure you understand your current
Start by slowly increasing your time in the saddle by an hour or two each week. This way, you can strengthen your cardiovascular system and cycling muscles without worrying about getting injured.
Stretching & Mobility To Guarantee Your Best Performance
How many of you cyclists out there know that there are at least three primary types of stretching exercise? That’s right, three. One of the most critical aspects of preparing for your long ride is to make sure to stretch and warm up correctly.
Almost everyone knows this most common form of stretching and has probably performed it. Passive stretching is not ideal to use as a warm-up; rather, it’s better utilized post-ride to help the muscles stretch and recover. A standard passive stretch would be touching your toes or stretching your hamstring while standing.
These types of stretching are similar to passive stretches. However, they include slightly more movement, which makes them perfect for warming up before your long ride.
This type of stretching has become increasingly popular over recent years and is performed by professional athletes as warm-ups before the jump on the
Pre-Ride Fueling For Your First 100-Mile
I highly recommend consuming high-quality solid meals at least one hour before you head off on your first 100-mile ride. You want to ensure you’re safe and get your ride off to a good start. Some foods will be better suited to a longer ride, like foods such as low-GI food, which release slowly during your ride.
Avoid eating anything that might upset your stomach; yes, I know bacon, sausages, eggs, and croissants are delicious, but unless you want to avoid an embarrassing time on the
Some easily digestible foods you can eat before a long
- Trail mix
- Energy gels
- Energy bars
- Peanut butter sandwiches
Some Of The Best Meals Perfect For Pre-Ride Fueling
- Eggs and toast (sorry, no bacon)
- Yogurt with granola
- Rice and fish
- Peanut butter sandwiches
The last thing you want to ensure is that you have already started drinking water and/or sports drinks before riding 100 miles. Not drinking enough before the ride begins is one of the most neglected areas that cyclists fail to consider.
Start Slow And Work Up Incrementally
Far too many cyclists, even experienced ones, start their rides out by pushing too hard on the pedals and trying to make good time. This is a big mistake. On your training rides leading up to your first long ride, you can start by practicing to start nice and slowly and warming up for the first hour or so.
If you feel good after the first hour, you can slowly increase your average speed. But remember, you always want to make sure you have enough energy left to push out those last few miles. Simply put, don’t go too hard, too early.
Never Forget Your Helmet
Pardon the pun but wearing your helmet on long rides is a no-brainer. The day before, make sure to check that everything is fine with your helmet by checking the straps and looking for any cracks or chips in the helmet that could impact its performance.
E.T. Phone Home; Don’t Leave Home Without It
Many things could go wrong on your first long ride, so the day before, please ensure that you have your phone fully charged and that you have a spare battery or charger with you.
Most of the time, your long ride is comfortable, safe, memorable, and enjoyable, but if something goes wrong, your phone should always be with you. There are many apps you can download the day before your ride that will transmit your GPS signal and make it easy for emergency services to find you.
Again, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and this is one of the most important things to check before heading out on your ride.
Staying Safe Means Staying Seen
If you don’t have any highly visible cycling clothing, then you need to purchase some before you head out on your first 100-mile ride. Bright clothing will keep you safe and seen on the road, so you’ll get back home safely and sound.
Colors such as white, yellow, and pink make excellent choices and are easy for motorists to spot. There’s no need to spend a lot of money, and if you look around, you can find some really good bargains and prices online.
Stay Within Your Budget When It Comes To Gear
Cycling clothing can be costly, so before you plan your ride, ensure you have the appropriate clothing to help you stay comfortable and protect you from all weather conditions.
As I previously mentioned, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg, but with that being said, if you do have the budget, you should consider purchasing some high-quality cycling-specific clothing like windbreakers, rain jackets, and winter or summer cycling gloves.
Plan Your Route and Do Your Recon
If possible, it’s a good idea to get to know most of the route you intend on riding. There are plenty of ways to research your routes, such as using google maps and other cycling apps like Komoot, which will provide details like gradients and precise distances.
Driving the route is obviously the best way to do your research, but that’s not always possible especially considering most of us are busy with our everyday lives.
So do yourself a favor, and the day before your next long ride, spend some time researching the route and coming up with a backup plan just in case roads are closed or blocked.
Check Your Tire Pressure And Get It Right
Did you know that your
Aspects like the weather also play a substantial function in the loss of tire pressure. Colder temperatures have the most significant impact, with roughly 3% of pressure loss for every 15-degree drop in temperature. I check my tire pressure before every ride; it’s as straightforward as squeezing the tires between your fingers; if they feel a bit soft, give them a pump up.
If you don’t check your tires regularly, you could be setting yourself up for a less-than-comfortable riding experience and the inescapable punctures that come with the wrong tire pressures. You can utilize CO2 canisters, which have become quite prevalent among cyclists in recent years; however, re-check them after your every ride if you do happen to with the CO2 route.
Either way, don’t overlook inspecting your tire pressure; there’s no excuse; it’s for your protection and comfort and takes less than 30 seconds.
At the end of the day, preparing carefully for your first long ride is absolutely critical to your success. Ensuring you perform every step listed above will not only give you plenty of confidence that you can complete your ride, but it will also strengthen your body and mind for future long rides.