Book A Cycling Tour
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on LinkedIn Share on Email
Top Tips (Part 1) for your first Ride25 cycling adventure

Cycling Blog

Top Tips (Part 1) for your first Ride25 cycling adventure

Tweet This
Share This
Ride25 Training route - Grand Depart Tour de France

June 4th, 2014

One of our Ride25 riders, Trica Bacon, who is about to embark on the Ride25 leg from Geneva to Milan, has kindly given us her top tips for ‘rookie’ Ride25 riders… There is some great advice here for those of you who are training for your first cycling tour with us – and even some good tips for the more experienced riders amongst us!  These are Tricia’s first 5 tips, we’ll publish the rest in a couple of days.  Thanks Tricia!

Tricia Bacon Ride25 RiderThis may be your first Ride25 leg…it might be the furthest you’ve ever cycled… The first time your bike gets to experience the European climbs and sweeping downhills, and you may well be feeling much excitement, a little trepidation and concern for how your bottom will survive it!

Well, 7 years ago I got on a road bike for the first time in North Wales only to find myself on a trip to the Alps 6 weeks later having hired a bike and wearing trainers. It was an epic ride as will be each of the Ride25 legs…. Breathtaking scenery, immense climbs and dreamy downhills, incredible group camaraderie and bonding and tears of joy at the finish.

I picked up so many tips from other experienced riders then and still continue to now so I would love to share some of these with you and hope you find them useful. These are personal to me and you will find your own adaptations of them but these are some of the essential ones I’d have love to know before my first big trip.

TIP NUMBER 1 – Use electrolytes in your water

After 90 mins on the bike water will flush through your body, but you need to replenish it with electrolytes and help it recover. Use Nuun or Zero that are brands you can get in most bike shops. Pop one in to both water bottles (make sure you have 2 bottles fixed on your bike as you will definitely need them.  And it will make a difference… Aim to try them out on a training ride before so you are used to the flavour. I didn’t use these on my first Alps trip but the following year on another trip and since I never ride without them. Pop 4 in to a plastic bag too in your shirt pocket to add later in the day in your refills. And sip regularly…. It’s easy to get focused on a climb and forget to keep drinking….sometimes I ensure I sip at 10 min intervals.

TIP NUMBER 2 – Go at your own pace

If you are breathing too heavily too early on listen and slow down…. They will be amazing, magical but very long days… So you must pace yourself correctly. I was told this on the first climb out of Annecy 7 years ago as I tried to stay with the group. Whilst I was a little put out at being told to drop back and slow down it was the best advice as it meant I got to enjoy the rest of the climb, managed the whole day and rest of the week and is still a lesson to me to listen to my body and be sure and steady. And you’ll find a partner or group to ride with. (See TIP NUMBER 6).

TIP NUMBER 3 – Ensure your seat is at the right height.

This continues to be a huge discussion point… Riding too low on the seat will exhaust your legs…SO, ensure your seat is raised high enough so that as you pedal through you still have power and your leg isn’t quite straight….  If in doubt I would really encourage you to pop in to your bike shop and sit on the bike and ask an experienced rider there to check. Too high a seat will result in your hips visibly shifting too much from side to side so get them to check this too. NB: when packing your bike in the box put a marker pen or tape where the saddle seat height is so it’s easy to put this back together when you get to your destination and avoids playing around with seat height on the first day.

DSC_4598-copyTIP NUMBER 4 – Respect and fuel your beautiful body

Unlike any other exercise I am amazed at how the body is a total machine on a bike and needs regular refuelling. This was a surprise to me having done long distance runs and I’ve come to respect what the body does on the bike. Don’t wait until you sense hunger as you will suffer. You need to keep it at bay so the refuelling bars (Cliff, Mule, Sis, Bounce, etc) are essential to take with you. Bananas are great and slow releasing. Before a big climb I will have a bar 10 mins at least before. I have used dates and dried apricots as good energy sources too. It is a personal preference but I have taken gels with me but am yet to use them although I know they work as my fellow rider overtook me from nowhere last year in the Sierra Nevada at the top of a climb and he said the gel got him through it. I would absolutely recommend having tried anything you use before so you know how your body reacts with it… But never say never and those gels will be in a back pocket just in case!

TIP NUMBER 5 – No extra weight…backpacks at your own peril

I have worn a backpack once but ended up putting too much stuff in it and regretted it, got terribly sweaty and was carrying extra unnecessary weight. The cycling tops have 3 pockets in so enough for your money (various currencies), passport (on days required), phone (in plastic bag), extra electrolyte pills, fuel bars, maps etc.

Comments are closed.

Sign Up For Updates

* indicates required