Are you planning to take your first long distance cycling trip, such as a London to Paris Bike Ride? If you are new to the world of long distance cycling, there will be a lot for you to learn. Often rookie cyclists make big mistakes on their first long distance ride and those mistakes can really slow them down.
Of course, your first ride will never go 100% smoothly – but if you know about the most common rookie mistakes then you will be able to avoid them. Here are some of the errors to avoid on your first long distance bike ride:
Overestimating Your Ability
You will have spent quite a bit of time training for your long distance ride, so you are probably quite confident about your ability. However, be careful not to set unrealistic goals and overestimate how fast or far you can ride. If you try to push yourself too much, your body will fail you and you risk injuring yourself. It can help to use a power meter or a heart rate monitor to help you monitor your optimum pace so that you know what you are capable of.
Not Servicing Your Bike
Make sure that you give your bike a complete service from top to bottom before the long distance cycling event. You can do it yourself, or take it to your local bike shop if you don’t know how. If you are riding a bike that hasn’t been serviced, you run the risk of injuring yourself if it breaks down or malfunctions on the road. You don’t want to fail to finish the race because your bike let you down! If you go on a lot of long bike rides, make sure that your bike is serviced before and after each charity bike ride event.
Being Late for the Start
Long distance cycling journeys usually start very early in the morning, so make sure that you are there on time and you don’t miss the start. If you need to, set two alarms and allow yourself plenty of time to get there. Have everything ready and packed the night before so you don’t have to do it in the morning when you are in a rush. Stretch your muscles and warm up before you head to the start line.
Riding With Your Seat in the Wrong Position
You’ll know if you have been riding with your seat too high or low – you will feel sore, stiff and achy in your hips, back, legs and joints the next day. Poor seat placement will cause you to overcompensate and will put strain on your body. There is an ideal position for your seat that will ensure you are sitting at the right angle and that your legs are rotating and extending in the best possible way.
Not Making Effective Gear Changes
On your long distance cycling ride you will need to tackle different terrain including hills and inclines. Make sure that you know how to change gears effectively, so that you can make your ride more enjoyable. It is not possible to make a gear change while you are in the middle of pushing up a hill, you will need to change gears ahead of time when you see the hill coming.
Not Preparing for the Weather
Another rookie mistake to avoid on your first long distance cycling trip is failing to check the weather before you leave. If you see that there is going to be heavy rain, you can be prepared by bringing your waterproof jacket and other gear. You can also choose your route based on which roads will be the least muddy and dangerous.
Not Staying Hydrated
A major mistake that cycling rookies make is not staying hydrated, which can be very dangerous to your health. It is important to keep your body replenished with fluids because you will be sweating a lot during a long day of riding. You could do with consuming sports drinks as well as water because sports drinks contain the electrolytes and minerals that your body is losing throughout the day. Carry a bottle with you on your bike and sip from it regularly all throughout your ride.
These are just a few of the mistakes that rookie cyclists often make on their first long distance ride. Make sure that you avoid these mistakes if you plan on taking part in any charity challenges or other cycling events in the future.