Just like their cricket counterparts, it is the dream of almost every amateur cyclist to chalk up a “century ride”. Talk any weekend warrior, and he would tell that covering long distances on his bike remains a Holy Grail for him. In addition to demanding a lot of stamina, cycling long distances require planning and mental strength.
Thus, in our effort to do just that, we have listed out a number of logistical and mental steps. Provided that you follow them as documented, there is no reason why you won’t be the envy of fellow cyclists.
1: Plan the route logistics
- Decide the time you’ll spend on the road
Food and gearing system are two things which depend on how long you’ll be gone. For example, if you plan to be on the road for only one day, you would require both these entities in a small amount. Thus, after setting your vision, check whether your expectations could be met with the things you are planning to take with you.
- Route Planning
Google the map of the area where you’re planning to go and print it out. Afterward, mark the shortest or longest – depending on your preference, route. It is also recommended that you break down your journey into several, shorter steps. For example, if your journey is of 100miles, break it down into five parts of 20miles each. This would give you a good perspective of whether you could do the remaining or not.
- Things to carry
In addition to food and drinks, there are many other things which you need to carry. Either take a hard copy of the map or download it to your smartphone. Have things i.e. standalone GPS on standby in case if you need them during your journey. Make a list of people who you could call if confronted with an unwanted situation during the journey.
2: Nutrition and Packing Gear
- Your dress should be appropriate
Starting with your shorts, they should be wear padded. As for your jersey, it should be breathable. However, if you think that the above-mentioned things could cost a dime, at least go for those shirts and shorts which wick your sweat and allow you to ride without any discomfort. Also, if the weather isn’t very hot, wear gloves to save your hands from the stinginess which comes with holding handlebars for long. Get a pair of cycling shoes, however, also take an extra pair of shoes to whom you should be comfortable to move.
- How to carry your things?
If your trip is between medium and long term, consider using a backpack to carry things along. However, if you would be gone for long, buy some panniers as they would help you carrying things while residing on the rear side of your bike.
- Emergency Kit
It doesn’t matter how safe the road you’re planning to travel is, no one has ever been let down by having an emergency kit in his traveling luggage. Moreover, before starting your journey, acclimatize yourself with the tools which you’re about to pack. This would give you a much needed hands-on practice to use these things in the future.
3: Long distance cycling
- Stretch Yourself Before starting every session of cycling
To get you in the mood, try different types of stretches i.e. jumping jacks, bur-pees, and jogging before every session of long distance cycling. To minimize the risk of leg cramps, stretch your legs. Also, paying special attention to your thighs would do well.
- Gear shifting
Gear shifting depends on the type of road you’re traveling. For example, if you’re going uphill, shift the bike into lower gear. This way, you would easily reach the top. When going downhill, opt for a higher gear as it would result in a better friction between your bike tires and the road. Consequently, the chances of your bike getting out of control would be mitigated.
- Regular brakes
Whenever you feel that your legs are starting to wear out, opt for a break. However, even if you’re overly enthusiastic, going for a ride ever 20-30km is recommended. During break time, check your bike and whether it has any problems which need sorting out.