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  1. #1
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    General Advice for first all day bike trip?

    I've got a goal this year of biking to my parent's house, which is 90 miles away. I google mapped the route and it lists the time it would take as a little over eight hours, and based on that I would expect it to take me 10. I've never done a bike ride that far before, and I was hoping for some tips on how not to die from it. Here are my basic area's of concern:

    Prepping for the distance: My plan right now is to bike it on the weekends, a little further at a time so that I'm comfortable with it. So Bike an hour of the route, then bike home, Then next week bike 15 minutes further than last time. Is this a good way to get ready for that kind of heavy biking or is there something else I should be doing (besides going to the gym, obviously)?

    Water: Everything I carry adds weight to my biking, but I obviously don't want to die of heat stroke. How much water should I be carrying? Also, should I be carrying gatorade or something similar and how much of that?

    Food: A bike ride that long, I expect I'll need to eat a power bar or something similar at regular intervals. How much of this kind of stuff should I be carrying. Also, what should my breakfast and lunch be like, should I prepare something special for meals to avoid making myself sick?

    Breaks: I figure an hour for lunch, to give me time to digest, but should I be making regular stops to cool myself down or is it OK to just go as long as I can?

    That's everything I'm concerned about, but I'm probably missing things too. If you can think of something I didn't, please mention it. Any help on this is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    You should be comfortable riding for 50 miles then you can stretch to the last 40 with a bit of effort. That is not just one 50miler but a handful of them. Dont do a big rode the day before.
    Eat something big the night before and have a substantial breakfast. You don't need to eat special sports foods during the ride. I usually take sandwiches and ripe bananas and stop to eat them. Take a bit of easy to handle food such as fig newtons.
    Get used to drinking lots before you ride so you start fully hydrated. Carry 2 waterbottles and check out some re-filling posts along the way.
    Make sure your bike fits. The main obstacle to long rides is pain not fatigue.

    You dont cool down by stopping, that makes you heat up. You ease up on the pedalling and roll along. If you have spare water, splash it over your head.
    Last edited by MichaelW; 05-05-12 at 03:04 AM.

  3. #3
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Yes, you have the right idea about building the mileage. If you can ride for two hours now, make it two and a half next week, and so on. But don't just do one ride a week, do shorter rides in between. Any time you can spend on the bike is valuable. Going to the gym will make very little difference for what you are trying to do - unless you're using the stationary bike, of course. I agree with MichaelW, once you can do 50-60 miles in reasonable comfort you can do 90.

    How much water depends on the likely temperature and the distance between points on the route at which you can get more. Generally not a good idea to run out of water, so a couple of bottles is certainly sensible, and top them up whenever possible. As for food, I personally don't much like energy drinks or gels or all that stuff, so I tend to drink water and eat real food. Large breakfast, stop for a proper lunch, carry whatever bars/flapjacks/dried fruit etc.you find most palatable, you'll be fine.

    As you get used to being on the bike for extended periods you'll find you don't need to stop much, and there's no particular need to except for mealtimes, or to pee, or whatever. Depending on the weather, make sure you stay warm while you're stopped.

    Again depending on likely weather, make sure you're equipped. Rain jacket, something that will keep you warm when wet. Take the basics for repair. Spare inner tube, tyre levers, multi-tool or set of allen keys/ hex keys. Carry a pump.

    You won't die. And if you prepare by building up the mileage, it won't take you ten hours, either.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Have a look at the Tips for riding a Century thread in the Long Distance forum ... it might help you with some tips and suggestions for your ride.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ding-a-Century

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Have a look at the Tips for riding a Century thread in the Long Distance forum ... it might help you with some tips and suggestions for your ride.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ding-a-Century
    Thanks for the link. That helps a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    Eat something big the night before and have a substantial breakfast. You don't need to eat special sports foods during the ride. I usually take sandwiches and ripe bananas and stop to eat them. Take a bit of easy to handle food such as fig newtons.
    Thanks for the food advice, I wasn't sure if I needed something like power bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    Get used to drinking lots before you ride so you start fully hydrated. Carry 2 waterbottles and check out some re-filling posts along the way.
    Sorry, I wasn't clear on part of this before-hand. I live in Nebraska, and my parents live a few towns over. The route is county/state roads. I pass through some towns in the second half of the trip, but not any sooner, so I'll need to have water for 4-5 hours before I can refill. Based on Machka's link, I probably need to bring four liters of water?

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54
    Again depending on likely weather, make sure you're equipped. Rain jacket, something that will keep you warm when wet. Take the basics for repair. Spare inner tube, tyre levers, multi-tool or set of allen keys/ hex keys. Carry a pump.
    Ah, see, didn't even occur to me for some reason. I've got a pump that fits in a backpack, and tire levers and a spare tube. I'll pickup the hex keys.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54
    But don't just do one ride a week, do shorter rides in between. Any time you can spend on the bike is valuable.
    Sorry, I didn't mean one ride a week in total. I meant the route google mpas gave me once a week in addition to my regular biking. I bike for an hour and a half (counting both the trip to and back) twice a week for work, and usually run my weekend errands on my bike. Is that enough, or should I be upping my weekly biking?

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurbarnhouse View Post
    Sorry, I wasn't clear on part of this before-hand. I live in Nebraska, and my parents live a few towns over. The route is county/state roads. I pass through some towns in the second half of the trip, but not any sooner, so I'll need to have water for 4-5 hours before I can refill. Based on Machka's link, I probably need to bring four liters of water?
    Approx. 750 ml for ever 1 to 1.5 hours. If you hydrate well the day before, and drink a tall glass of water in the morning before you leave (and eat something salty for breakfast), and if you estimate it will be 5 hours before you encounter water again, you could probably get away with 2.5 to 3 litres. Carry two 1-litre bottles on the bicycle, and a third litre in a bottle in your trunk bag.

    But if it is a hot day, bring 4 litres.

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Start real early, Average at 9 mph it will take 10 hours.

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurbarnhouse View Post

    Sorry, I wasn't clear on part of this before-hand. I live in Nebraska, and my parents live a few towns over. The route is county/state roads. I pass through some towns in the second half of the trip, but not any sooner, so I'll need to have water for 4-5 hours before I can refill. Based on Machka's link, I probably need to bring four liters of water?
    Speaking for myself, it would have to be pretty hot before I was drinking a litre every hour. Nearer half that amount, in ordinary temperatures at touring speeds. But it is certainly better to have too much than too little.


    Ah, see, didn't even occur to me for some reason. I've got a pump that fits in a backpack, and tire levers and a spare tube. I'll pickup the hex keys.
    I'd recommend avoiding cycling with a backpack, if at all possible. They may feel OK for an hour or so, but as time goes on they tend to hurt. If you can fit a rack to your bike, that is a much better solution. Alternatively, a saddlebag or compression sack tied beneath the saddle. It is much better for the bike, rather than the rider, to carry the weight.


    Sorry, I didn't mean one ride a week in total. I meant the route google mpas gave me once a week in addition to my regular biking. I bike for an hour and a half (counting both the trip to and back) twice a week for work, and usually run my weekend errands on my bike. Is that enough, or should I be upping my weekly biking?
    Not bad. If you could make it three times per week for work, so much the better. If not, try increasing the intensity of your rides to and from work. Although your priority is endurance rather than speed, having a higher cruising speed makes a big difference when riding a long way. It means that going at your touring, all-day speed feels that much easier.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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