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17 June, 2014 0 comments

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If you have signed up for a charity bike ride and are worried about what lies ahead, Victoria Hazael from The National Cycling Charity provides a handy guide to ensure you enjoy the day, and ultimately help achieve your goal

Victoria explains: “Too many people turn up at the start line of a charity bike ride unready for what lies ahead. In order not to disappoint all the people who have sponsored you, you need to be prepared. Preparation is the key to rising to the challenge, achieving your goal and, most importantly, enjoying your first charity bike ride. If you need inspiration, don't forget you are raising vital funds for a great cause and your bike ride will be helping many others.”



Bike Checks

Check that the saddle height is correct for you and make sure your bike is in a roadworthy condition. Make sure your tyres have got plenty of tread and check them for flint and other sharp objects you may have picked up while out training. Bring a puncture repair kit, a spare tube, tyre levers and a pump with you.

Check that your brakes work, that the cables are not frayed, and that the brake blocks still have plenty of life left in them. Also check that all your gears work, especially the lower ones, if the ride is over a hilly route.

If you are not mechanically minded, it might be a good idea to take your bike to your local cycle shop for a check-up or a qualified local cycle mechanic. Do this in the week leading up to the charity ride as if it's left to the last 24 hours before the event, you might not have a bike to ride!


What To Wear

Wear the appropriate clothing for the conditions. Check the weather forecast during the week leading up to the event and bring a change of clothes for afterwards.

It is better to have layers of clothing as this will keep you warm and dry; and if you get too hot you can peel away a layer at a time. If rain is forecast, bring a waterproof jacket that can fold easily into your back pocket.

A good gauge is to be prepared for either 5 degrees C warmer or cooler as it warms up throughout the day, the wind picks up or a rain shower arrives.  


What To Eat

Bring enough food and drink to get you round the course. This also applies to charity events which advertise feed stations. Don’t depend on the feed stations as they might be poorly stocked or offer nutrition that doesn’t agree with you.

This is one other aspect of the ride you can practise prior to your big event. Try different drinks and foods to see what agrees with your body and makes you feel good. One of the all time great mistakes is to try something new and find it makes you feel ill during a bike ride!

One good marker along the way is to check you have drunk a bottle of liquid each hour. Fuelling is about staying ahead of the game. Don't wait until you feel hungry or thirsty as by then it's too late and it can be very difficult to restore your equilibrium.

Lastly, bring some food for afterwards and start the refuelling process as soon as you finish. Protein or milky drinks are great to take after the event as they repair damaged muscle fibres.


Training Plan

If you have long enough before your charity ride, it's a great idea to cover the distance at least once prior to it. That way you will know that you can complete that distance and you can gauge how much nutrition you require.

If you are new to cycling, slowly build up to the distance. Speed is not important, but distance is. Start off riding for 30 minutes, and increase the time each week to what you can manage. Don’t do too much too soon. As your ride time increases, remember to drink and eat during the ride and immediately afterwards.

If the charity ride you have planned is hilly, be sure to ride a hilly route in training as riding uphill can use a lot more energy than riding on flat roads. Developing your own personal style of climbing hills, be they short or long, is good to do in advance of the event.

The majority of charity cycle events have a limit on the number of riders that can take part, due to insurance reasons and police advice. To avoid disappointment, especially if you are planning on taking part in a popular event, remember to sign up early!

If you are looking for your next challenge you should visit Action medical Research 

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