The hot sun beats down, causing sweat to drip down your back as you slowly push the pedals with your legs, cycling up a slight incline on a long stretch of road. You have put hundreds of miles behind you already, but there are still hundreds left to go. You focus on your breathing, fix your eyes on the horizon and let yourself be driven by the steady rhythm of your legs pumping the wheels.
Attempting a long distance cycling trip, such as the London to Paris Bike Ride can be a major physical and psychological challenge. It will take a toll on your mind and your body, but the euphoria of making it to the end of the route is well worth any sweat, blood and tears along the way. If you are raising money for charity you will have the satisfaction of supporting a great cause with your efforts.
In order to make the trip a little easier, here are some survival tips that you can keep in mind when you are on your next major long distance bike ride:
Long Distance Bike Ride Survival Tips
Use the right technique to conquer hills. Keep a steady rhythm going and alternate between sitting down and riding, so that you can use all of your different muscle groups. Use a higher gear to push yourself along more.
When you reach the top of a hill, use a little more effort to get yourself over the top. You can then use that momentum on the way down.
Test the food that you plan to take with you and make sure that you like it and it doesn’t make you feel ill.
Take a test ride with all of your food and supplies loaded up on your bike, to make sure that it is balanced and not too heavy.
Make sure that the food you are bringing with you gives you enough energy. It should not be high in sugar, which can cause you to have an energy burst and then a crash. Instead, choose food that is high in protein as this will give you sustainable energy over a longer period of time.
Use the power of aerodynamics to conserve your energy and cover more distance. When you are going for sleep, tuck in your elbows, head and arms and make your body as compact as possible.
One of the most difficult aspects of a long distance bike ride is the mental aspect. Try not to think of the entire distance at the start break it up into mini goals along the way.
Avoid carrying a backpack and use bike panniers instead. A backpack will cause you to sweat more and will cause back fatigue too. It will also raise your centre of gravity and make it more difficult for you to balance.
Always bring plenty of water, especially if you are riding in warm weather as dehydration can be dangerous. Experts recommend that you should drink one bottle of water every hour, or more if you are riding in very hot climates.
It is also a good idea to bring with you a repair kit, which you can use to solve any bike related problems along the way. A basic kit might include spare bolts, a bike tire pump, a patch kit, replacement rivets and a spare inner tube for the wheel.
Ride with a friend whose pace is similar to yours. It will help you to pass the time and feel less lonely and it is also safer to have someone around in case something goes wrong.
Hit the gym to build the muscles that you will use on your bike ride. Kettlebell training will help to train functional muscles such as your glutes and hip flexors.
On a long distance bike ride it is crucial to have padded cycling shorts. They don’t make a difference on short rides, but you will really start to feel the pain after a while on the long ones!
It is a very smart idea to get your bike tuned up at your local shop right before you leave. This will ensure that your tires, brakes and gears are ready for the long ride.
These are just a few of the ways that you can survive a long distance charity challenge bike ride. With the right preparation and technique you will be able to tackle even a major long distance ride with confidence. Good luck out there and have fun!
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