Tried and Tested Tips on How to Prepare For a Long Bike Ride

Useful Tips for Long Distance Biking 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!

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 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 rest 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 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, 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. 

Know Your Food in Long Distance Rides

Food is another important consideration. When riding, you have to drink and eat a lot of food. However, 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. 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. 

A Good Bike

Finally, the most important gear, 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. 

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    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. 

     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.

    4. Multi-tool

     A Multi-tool is a must-have item for any bike ride. It’s very useful to instantly repair 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. 

    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. 

    6. A 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. 

    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. 

    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, 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. 

    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 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 Tips on How to Prepare For a Long Bike Ride — Bike Hacks