Is 2017 the year you plan to take on a big cycling challenge? It might be a New Years resolution, or perhaps it’s been in the diary for a while. Either way, if it’s your first big challenge then check out our top tips below for pre-pedal-prep.

First things first, it’s all about the bike. If you’re working with an oldie but a goodie, then you’ll know it well and handle it with ease. However when you’re planning to spend a long time behind the handlebars, even a slight niggle in positioning can throw you off when you least expect it. Whilst training for your ride, adjust it as many times as you need to feel comfortable, and pay attention to how you feel towards the end of your ride, as you might need to make slight changes.

If you’re in the market for a new model, and treating yourself to a new bike ahead of your planned ride, we can tailor your bike for the perfect fit in-store. We’ll take all your measurements into consideration, along with your discipline and what you’ll be using the bike for most.

Now you’ve got the bike, and you’re happy with the fit, next up is the kit. So, everything you’ll need to keep on your person during a ride to limit stopping and slip-ups.

Let’s start with the carrier, save the extra weight on your back and go for a saddle bag rather than a rucksack. If you’re savvy, you can get everything you need in there to last the whole duration of your ride. So, what should you take?

  • Two bottles of drink; one bottle of water and another electrolyte drink for those quick fix energy bursts
  • Energy bar
  • A couple of energy gels – these are packed with carbohydrates and can quite often get you through those tougher stages of your ride
  • A spare inner tube – our top tip is to wrap it in cling film or a sandwich bag and sprinkle it with talcum powder for easy fitting
  • A patch kit for any punctures
  • Two tyre levers 
  • A mini tool

Although that seems like a lot to pack, once you’ve bundled it all into your saddle bag you’re sure to ride happier with peace of mind should you run into any trouble – or if you simply need a little energy boost.

The next thing to remember before setting off for a long ride is to set mini, manageable goals for the duration. These will act as a focus for your ride, and when it feels like you’re a million miles from finishing, or you start to lose faith in your abilities, achieving these ‘little wins’ throughout will help to see you to the finish line. When the weather, the route and your energy levels are against you, remember how amazing you’ll feel at the end!

What’s most important, and by far takes the longest to prep, is training.

If it’s your first big ride, the fear of physical strain can often take precedence in how you plan your training regime. When in reality, it’s all about how you train in the run up to your ride that can better prepare you for what’s to come.

If you’re taking on a 60-mile ride for example, you might be deceived into thinking you’ll increase your resistance by doing a handful of 60 mile rides as you train. This isn’t the case. Your resistance will increase by gradually upping your distance on each ride, not by putting yourself through loads of tough rides which might leave you feeling much less physically ready to take on such a challenge.

It’s also worth taking into account the different terrains you’ll encounter during your ride challenge. If you know there are lots of hills then try to incorporate a few inclines into your training regime.This will put you in good stead for the main event!

Lastly, remember to get lots of rest. After each training session take some time to put your feet up and refuel, and most importantly after you complete your challenge! Muscle recovery is most important after a prolonged period of exercise, so really make the most of your down time and take a few days off before getting back on the saddle.

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