Long Distance Cycling

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Despite its many challenges, long distance cycling is extremely rewarding. If your cycling adventures typically involve getting to work on time or a casual ride through the park on a weekend morning, consider participating in a long distance race for a new experience. To ensure a positive experience, you will need the right attitude, proper equipment, and specialized training. This guide will help get you on your way.

10 Tips for Long Distance Cycling

1. Gradually Increase Your Training

You may feel ready to jump on your bike and ride for miles and miles.

If you do not want to pay for this choice through muscle aches, pains, and throbbing soreness, you should ramp up your training gradually as you prepare.

Trainers often suggest increasing the length of your ride by approximately 10 percent each week, giving your muscles plenty of recovery time between practice sessions.

2. Pack Food That Will Provide Energy

While you ride, you will need to have snacks on hand that are convenient and nutritious, as cycling on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Snacks that are great for long distance cycling include trail mix, granola bars, and dried fruit.

3. Don’t Forget Water

Your body requires a greatly elevated amount of hydration when you are cycling. Prepare yourself to meet this need with water bottles in your backpack or attached to your bike. You might consider using a water bladder that conforms to your bag and provides hands-free hydration to you via a tube.

4. Warm Your Muscles

Do warm up stretches to loosen the muscles and increase circulation. This can reduce the risk of developing cramps or becoming injured.

5. Become Familiar with Your Gears

Biking for long distances often means biking over varied terrain. Before you embark on your trip, familiarize yourself with which gears are best in a given situation, so you can quickly make the change when the time comes.

6. Pace Yourself

A common mistake made by beginners when long distance cycling is to burst forth at the beginning of the ride at maximum speeds. This will only lead to becoming very fatigued early, which is very bad news if you are competing. It is best to stay at a steady, comfortable pace that will help you sustain enough energy to sprint past fatigued competitors later.

7. Eat and Drink Regularly

Another way to avoid becoming fatigued during your ride is to eat and drink at regular intervals. You want to refuel your body before your resources become depleted. It can be wise to set a timer on your watch to remind you to have a snack.

8. Replenish Lost Salts

In addition to regularly drinking plenty of water, you will also need to restore your essential salts that are lost as you sweat. A good way to replenish these minerals is by using isotonic drinks, such as 100Plus or Pocari Sweat.

9. Stretch During Your Ride

Keeping your body in the same position for hours at a time can be very tough on your muscles and joints, and can reduce circulation, resulting in stiffness and cramps. You can reduce these problems while long distance cycling by changing your position, stretching, and loosening your muscles. This can be as simple as regularly straightening your back, rolling your shoulders, and shaking your hands down at your sides.

10. Cool Down

Just as you warmed your muscles, you will also need to stretch every time you stop riding to cool down your muscles and help with recovery.

Recommended Accessories for Long Rides

The accessories you carry will vary depending on the length of the ride. If you will be riding a few hours, then bicycle repair tools are all you will probably need. On a cycling tour you will need to haul a significant pack to hold your cooking equipment, sleeping bag, and other essentials.

Bicycle Repair Tools

Long Distance Cycling

  • We have put together some helpful tips you can use to create your bicycle repair kit.

  • Typically, you will want to have pliers, spare inner tubes, a wrench, tire levers, and a bike pump on you for a long distance rides. Keep in mind that the longer the ride the higher the probability of dealing with a malfunctioning bike part.

Bicycle Rear Rack

Long Distance Cycling

  • A rear rack is an essential you can't truly appreciate until you have one. For a long distance cycling tour you will need to pack your sleeping bag, food, clothes, and water into a suitcase or duffle bag because all your essentials won't fit in a cycling backpack. Your duffle bag gets mounted right onto the rear rack.

  • We have done a ton of research to determine the best bicycle rear racks on the market.

Bicycle Bags

Long Distance Cycling

  • A bicycle pannier will be used to store essentials you need direct access to, such as your phone, MP3 player, water, and snacks.

  • On longer rides you will appreciate the increased storage offered by a backpack.

Long Distance Cycling: Training Techniques

Just as a specialized training regimen is needed by cyclists working on their sprints; specific training techniques need to be adopted by long distance cyclists, as well.

These techniques will help you be better prepared for the physical demands associated with long distance cycling. These training methods will help improve your performance.

High Repetition Weight Training

  • You are going to have to incorporate weight training into your routine, if you are really serious about long distance cycling. The philosophy of "low weight, high repetitions" is what you want to focus on.

  • Low intensity cycling dominates endurance bike races. So, muscular endurance is going to be significantly more important than having explosive power. Rather than training with heavy weights and only doing 6 to 15 repetitions, use light weights and try to squeeze in 40 to 50 repetitions.

Interval Training

  • Although muscular endurance is vital, those explosive bursts of power will come in handy during a long distance cycling race. These sprints will empower you to move to the front of the pack, so you don't get crowded out around corners.
  • Ideally, you should aim to do six sprints at your maximum speed for every hour you train. So, shoot to sprint once every 10 minutes.

Improve Core Strength

  • Proper cycling posture is pretty easy to maintain, when you are merely sprinting a 400-meter race. However, on a ride that extends many miles, this perfect posture will become increasingly harder to maintain. You may not even realize you are slouching, but this poor posture can damage core muscles over time.

  • To reduce your risk of injury you will need to focus on your cycling posture. This is done by strengthening your core muscles.

  • Hyper Extensions and hanging leg raises are ideal exercises for improving core strength. If you are training for long distance cycling try to tense the muscles in your core for 15 seconds per repetition. This is a good simulation of the pressure that core muscles endure during a lengthy bike race.

You are invited to read more information about training for long distance biking in this article.

Get Started

You have all the information you need to train for your first long distance ride. All that is left to do is find the motivation to get started. You will agree that spending a significant amount of time on the open road will prove to be a satisfying experience.

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One thought on “Long Distance Cycling

  1. Hi!
    My name is Sara and I’m from Panama (Central America). I do triathlon in my country (amateur) and brought my tri bike to Frankfurt. I’ll be staying here until July and would like to have a personal trainer to improve my biking skills and to show me road cycle paths here in Frankfurt.

    Can you help?

    I’m currently staying at 60322 Frankfurt am Main.

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