Tried and Tested Useful Tips on How to Prepare for a Long Bike Ride for Beginners

Is it your first time planning a long-distance biking trip? You cannot just pack your bags and hop on a bike if you are a beginner. You need to consider so many factors to be fully prepared for what’s to come in your travel. This guide covers everything you need to know for a fulfilling biking experience, even if you are a beginner. We have prepared a complete checklist for you to keep in your mind before setting your foot outside. Read on!

If you’re planning a long ride, check out Global Cycling Network tips on Youtube on how to prepare and finish it in style! Check their video out!

Do Your Research 

Whenever you plan for a long-distance ride, this question always pops into your head, what to do? And the answer to this question is research. Research where you’re planning to go. Know everything about the place, trail, elevation, time, etc. The best way to do that is by downloading any beginner-friendly mobile app on your phone. There are so many beginner-friendly android and iOS apps like Starve, Bikemap, Google Maps, Ride with GPS, and MapMyRide that make your research easy and breezy. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of them before starting your journey. Don’t just download these apps on your phone to use later. Use them NOW to know how they’re working!

Know Your Stopovers

The next thing to consider is your stopovers. On long journeys, you have to make a list of all the places where you will be stopping for a nap or drink or just resting for a while. It’s equally important to plan your itinerary and study your route as well. For example, if the average cycling distance for beginners is 12 km, you should aim for an 8mph speed. Therefore, the distance between two stops should be 12km for you ideally. We suggest spending some time checking the locations where you will be going on Google Maps. In case you plan on setting up camp, ensure you know all the details about the surrounding areas to avoid any problems. 

Bring All the Essentials

If you have no idea what essentials to bring along with you, watch some youtube videos on what stuff to pack for the travel. Keep your stuff to a minimum, though. Any useless items will only add to your load. While you may not feel it when you start the journey, bringing along a lot of items can actually slow down your speed. In case you are traveling alone, bring a cooking set gear, a stove, and a lightweight tent. Similarly, a GPS training watch is one of the essentials. It can help you monitor heart rate, and work as a compass as well as a barometer to stay on the right track. Besides, never go out without a waterproof cycling jacket. You never know when it might rain, and shades aren’t always available. 

Prepare Yourself – Mentally & Physically

Long bike rides can be physically taxing. Think about all the pain you might have to go through on the road. Are you capable of enduring all the hardships that come with a long-distance ride? Experts say setting out on a bike ride is 70 percent mental and 30 percent physical, and we fully agree. If your mind isn’t ready and you doubt your physical health, you will carry all the anxiety with you. As a result, you won’t be able to fully enjoy your ride. It’s best to prepare yourself physically and mentally with a cycling schedule before you start your journey. Getting yourself checked by a physician is also a good option to be mentally satisfied with your good health. 

Build up the endurance

When you are planning for a long trip, assess yourself. If you think you can jump from an hour ride to six-hour without any physical injury, you are wrong. Before taking a big jump, one has to start with baby steps. So, you have to work on your endurance and build it up gradually.

So, the best thing is to add time to your workout slowly. For instance, if you ride one hour a week, add half an hour to it. This technique will help in the building of your stamina. Keep adding hours to your riding, and eventually, you will have the stamina to ride for 6 hours. Your aerobic capacity will develop during this time.

While training, you can keep a power meter to count your lactate threshold. The lactate threshold is a measure of your anaerobic activity. Cyclists achieve the lactate threshold at 95 percent, close to their maximum heart rate.

For building muscle endurance, you have to do strength-building exercises. Squats and lunges can help you in it. Stretch after every workout to develop stiffness and strength.

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    Know Your Food in Long Distance Rides

    Food is another important consideration. The human body has the capacity to absorb 60-90 g of carbohydrates in an hour, whereas water requirement depends on the temperature and activity. The body utilizes the energy derived from carbohydrates as fuel. 

    When riding, you require a good amount of energy. You can add this energy to your body in the form of nutritional supplements such as gums, gels, bars, juices, cereals, jellies, candies, or even liquids. It is of least concern that in what form you are taking them, keep up your stock so that you will not be out of energy during riding. 

     You can store a good quantity of food on your cycle. However, if you remain on cycle for the whole day, at one point, your stock will eventually end. 

    Thus, be aware of the food available in the area and what you eat. When planning to have a dine-out, make sure you are not having anything unhealthy. Get yourself used too of eating energy-rich food that may not even taste good to your buds. Any stomach issues will result in delays, can prolong your journey, or even abort it altogether. When you ride, make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Drink as soon as your body tells you it’s thirsty. Delaying can weaken your body. Also, bring a hydrate along with you. During long-distance rides, you’re burning a lot of salts and sugar. Therefore a hydrate can help keep your essential body nutrients in optimum amount.

    Prepare your cycle for the long journey!

    As it is a famous saying: ‘one who fails to plan, plans to fail.’ So if you are not planning well before going on your cycling journey, you are actually failing. There is always a chance of any fault in the equipment going wrong, so prepare well before going. 

    Ensure that everything is working in the proper order. Check the health of the tires so that there is no tearing. Make sure that the chain doesn’t need replacement, and that the gears are absolutely fine.  

    Keep the spare parts with you that you might need on the ride. Pack some spare brake pads, gear cable, and chainlinks with you. They will aid you if any unfortunate circumstance occurs on the way. 

    Plan to adventure in a Pack

    Although it is exciting to go on a solo adventure, if this is your first experience and you are not very sure about it, I recommend you go with the other riders. A pack of riders will keep you motivated, and your chances of success will significantly increase.

    Group riding is also beneficial in a way that you will not face any navigation-related issues. If your bike meets any problem, there are people with you to help you out. 

    Value your body over your mind!

    When you are riding, consider the signals your body is giving you. If your body is telling you that now you need rest, abruptly take rest as it may impact your health in the long run. 

    Sometimes your brain may deceive you and wants to give up even before your body gets tired. In such a situation, you have to motivate yourself slightly and give yourself small targets.

    A Good Bike

    Finally, the most important gear is your bike. Make sure you have a good mountain bike if you are hiking on a mountainous trail. Train yourself for the long ride by taking multiple small rides every once in a while. Never go with a bike you aren’t already familiar with. You don’t want it to break down in the middle of the road and end your journey abruptly. 

    Comfort should be your first priority. With a comfortable bike, you can cover long distances with ease and convenience. Many adventure and bikepacking bikes come with multiple sections where you can store your stuff easily. Likewise, tourism bikes have racks and water bottle cages to make sure you have all the supplies you need for the ride. 

    Steel Vs. Aluminum Bikes

    Do people often wonder whether to go for a steel frame bike or an aluminum bike on long trips? We suggest steel bikes over aluminum ones because: 

    • Steel bikes are stronger
    • Steel bikes are also cheaper
    • Steel bikes are less likely to bend, deform or warp under your weight 
    • Steel bikes can carry more load
    • Steel bikes are better at absorbing any road vibrations
    • Steel bikes are more durable

    Bike Components to Consider For a Long Ride

    1. Saddle
      As you will be spending a lot of your time on a saddle, invest in a good quality one that can easily support your weight. It should also be comfortable to help you relax and just focus on your ride instead of focusing on every next bump. We suggest going with any quality all-leather saddle as they are the most comfortable saddles today.
      Photo Title Price Buy
      Schwinn Comfort Bike...image Schwinn Comfort Bike Seat, Foam, Noseless Saddle, Black $34.99
      Bikeroo Oversized Bike...image Bikeroo Oversized Bike Seat - Compatible with Peloton, Exercise or Road Bikes - Bicycle Saddle Replacement with Wide Cushion for Men & Womens Comfort $39.99
      BLUEWIND Bike Seat,...image BLUEWIND Bike Seat, Bicycle Saddle Compatible with Peloton, Exercise or Road Bikes, 2in High Elastic Memory Foam Waterproof Dual Shock Absorbing Multi-Color Wide Cushion for Men & Women (Green) $19.99
      Brooks England Cambium...image Brooks England Cambium All Weather Bike Saddle, Black, C19 $66.02

    2. Bike Rack
      A Bike rack helps you bring your stuff along. With a bike rack, you don’t have to carry a backpack with you all the time. Imagine carrying a backpack for more than 6 hours. It can give you back pain along with should cramps. A bike rack can help make your long ride much smoother and more comfortable as you become free from load.
      Photo Title Price Buy
      Allen Sports Deluxe...image Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack, Model 102DN-R , Black $34.17 ($0.21 / oz)
      KYX 2 Bike...image KYX 2 Bike Car Hitch Rack - Bicycle Racks Mount Carrier with 2 in. Hitch, 143LBS Capacity Steel Frame with Foldable Arms and Tilt-Away Modes, Easy Assembly and Safe Locking for Car SUV Truck, Grey $119.98
      Allen Sports Deluxe...image Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack (2-Inch Receiver) , Black $96.00 ($0.23 / oz)

    3. Panniers
      A pannier is a box bag. It’s a container – usually carried in pairs – attached to the sides of a bike. It can help you carry even more weight. You can put all of your clothes, sleeping bag, tent, and even your laptop rather than carrying them around in your backpack or carrying them on a bike rack. These bags are waterproof and have a rugged design to keep your stuff safe.
      Photo Title Price Buy
      Ibera Bicycle Bag...image Ibera Bicycle Bag PakRak Clip-On Quick-Release All Weather Bike Panniers (Pair), Includes Rain Cover , Black $99.99
      FANWU 50L Bike...image FANWU 50L Bike Panniers Bicycle Commuting Bag Waterproof Saddle Bags with Rain Cover for Bicycle Rear Rack Carrier, Support for Width Less Than 7 inches Bike Rack $49.99
      Bike Mule -...image Bike Mule - Grocery Pannier Bags - The Ultimate Carrier Baskets for Shopping with Your Bicycle - Pair $109.99
      BV Bike Bag...image BV Bike Bag Bicycle Panniers with Adjustable Hooks, Carrying Handle, 3M Reflective Trim and Large Pockets $30.98

    4. Multi-tool
       A Multi-tool is a must-have item for any bike ride. It’s very useful for instantly repairing your bike. Especially on long rides, sometimes you have to pass through areas with no repair shop nearby. Now, if any of your bike components gets loose or a nut needs to be tightened, you can simply employ a multi-tool. It comes in really handy to repair your bike right away.
      Photo Title Price Buy
      Multi Bicycle Tool...image Multi Bicycle Tool (17-Function, Gold), 10755 $22.53
      WOTOW Bike Repair...image WOTOW Bike Repair Tool Kit, 16 in 1 Bicycle Multitool with Bike Tire Levers Hex Spoke Wrench, Multi Function Accessories Set for Road Mountain Bikes $7.99
      MatyKit Bicycle Tool...image MatyKit Bicycle Tool Kit, 20 in 1 Bike Multitool, Mountain Bike Repair Tool Kit With Bike Bone Wrench, Portable Bicycle Essentials Easy Road Riding Travel Emergency Maintenance and Carry for Men $16.89
      CECO-USA 10 Function...image CECO-USA 10 Function Bike Tool – Bicycle Multi Tool – Heavy Duty, Compact Pocket Sized, Lightweight – High Strength CR-V 6150 Tool Steel – Easy To Carry $14.95

    5. Sunglasses
      Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from harmful UV rays but also safeguard against dust. A good pair of sunglasses will relax your eyes and make you less stressed out. There are several quality UV protection bike sunglasses available in the market. You can go with any suitable one. Just make sure they have a good aerodynamic design, and they’re durable enough to last till the end.
      Photo Title Price Buy
      X-TIGER Polarized Sports...image X-TIGER Polarized Sports Sunglasses with 5 Interchangeable Lenses,Mens Womens Cycling Bike Glasses,Baseball Running Fishing Golf Driving Sunglasses $26.99
      TOREGE Polarized Sports...image TOREGE Polarized Sports Sunglasses With 3 Interchangeable Lenes for Men Women Cycling Running Driving Fishing Golf Baseball Glasses TR002 Upgrade (Black&Ice blue lens) $21.99
      FMY Polarized Cycling...image FMY Polarized Cycling Glasses Sports Sunglasses,Pit-Vipe Style UV400 Protection Baseball Running Fishing for Men Women $21.98
      Sports Sunglasses Bike...image Sports Sunglasses Bike Cycling Sunglasses for Men Women with 5 Interchangeable Lens,Polarized Sunglasses with Anti-Uv400 for Driving Fishing Golf $25.99

    6. Cycling computer
      A cycling computer measures your cadence and more. Depending on the model you go for, it tracks your real-time data and sends it to your loved ones. This way, if something bad happens to you, they know your location. It also helps you with built-in features such as a barometer, compass, GPS, etc. Whatever model you go for, make sure it is water-resistance, durable, lightweight, and has long battery life.
      Photo Title Price Buy
      COOSPO Bike Computer...image COOSPO Bike Computer GPS Wireless, ANT+ Cycling Computer GPS with Bluetooth , Multifunctional ANT+ Bicycle Computer GPS with 2.4 LCD Screen, Bike Speedometer with Auto Backlight IP67 $49.99
      Garmin Edge® 130...image Garmin Edge® 130 Plus, GPS Cycling/Bike Computer, Download Structure Workouts, ClimbPro Pacing Guidance and More (010-02385-00), Black $199.99
      CYCPLUS Bike Computer...image CYCPLUS Bike Computer Set Include Speed Sensor and Mount, Wireless Bicycle Speedometer Odometer, Waterproof ANT+ Bluetooth MTB Tracker $69.99
      Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM...image Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM GPS Cycling/Bike Computer $287.02

    7. Cadence for Beginners
      Cadence is the pedal stroke rate. It’s the number of revolutions the crank is taking in a minute. In other words, it’s the rate of pedaling. Cadence is an important consideration as you need to preserve your muscle strength on long-distance rides. If your bike has a big ring and a slow cadence, you will have to exert more force and muscle groups. However, high cadence preserves your body’s lactate and helps with your cardio. We suggest going with a moderate cadence. You can go slow or high when needed. In most cases, our suggested cadence is 90 RPM when you’re riding against the wind. There are several gadgets available in the market that can help you calculate your cadence as you ride.
      Photo Title Price Buy
      Garmin Speed Sensor...image Garmin Speed Sensor 2 and Cadence Sensor 2 Bundle, Bike Sensors to Monitor Speed and Pedaling Cadence $58.00
      Wahoo RPM Cycling...image Wahoo RPM Cycling Cadence Sensor For Outdoor, Spin And Stationary Bikes $39.99
      Magene S3 Cadence/Speed...image Magene S3 Cadence/Speed Sensor $16.99
      COOSPO Cadence and...image COOSPO Cadence and Speed Sensor, 2 in 1 Bluetooth ANT+ RPM Cycling Cadence Sensor, Wireless Bike Speed Sensor for Bicycle, Compatible Cycling Computer Runtastic Pro, Zwift, UA Run, Rouvy,Openrider $25.99

    8. Tire Pump
      The bike’s tire pump is another must-carry item. A tire pump becomes very useful whenever you face an emergency situation during your long ride. For instance, if you get a flat fire or low air pressure, a pump takes the stress off your mind. Never go biking anywhere without a tire pump, as you don’t know when or where you may have to face a flat tire. It’s not a heavy item either. You can easily keep it in your bike bag or bike’s frame.
      Photo Title Price Buy
      VIMILOLO Bike Pump...image VIMILOLO Bike Pump Portable, Ball Pump Inflator Bicycle Floor Pump with high Pressure Buffer Easiest use with Both Presta and Schrader Bicycle Pump Valves-160Psi Max $12.48
      Schwinn Air Center...image Schwinn Air Center Plus Floor Bike Pump, Gauge Fits Schrader and Presta Valve Types, Navy Blue $24.99
      Hycline Bike Pump,...image Hycline Bike Pump, Portable Floor Bicycle Tire Pump, 150 PSI High Pressure Air Pumps with Presta and Schrader Valve for Road Mountain Bike Tires, Balls, Balloons, Inflatables (Black) $17.99
      Portable Air Compressor...image Portable Air Compressor Mini Inflator Electric Pump for Bike Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery 150PSI Power Bank Ergonomic and Sleek Design Digital LCD, LED Emergency Light A2B $39.99

    Final Thoughts

    So, that’s pretty much all the helpful cycling tips for long-distance biking for beginners. While your rides will mostly be smooth, bad things can happen at any time on long rides. Therefore, you should always hope for the best and plan for the worst. We hope you know how to prepare for a long bike ride with these tips, and you are well prepared if something goes wrong along the way. Besides all the items we suggested above, you should always keep your ID, documents, and some extra cash stashed somewhere apart from your money. That’s all for now. Thank you for reading! 

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    Tried and Tested Useful Tips on How to Prepare for a Long Bike Ride for Beginners — Bike Hacks