Completing a long ride will fill your confidence cup to overflowing, but how do you work your way up to one? Here's everything you need to dream, plan, and execute your longest ride ever.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Ready For a Big Day Out?
Here’s the thing: there’s no one definition for “long ride.” For some, a long ride goal will be taking their current 30-minute pedal around the park and ramping it up to an hour. Do it! For others, it’ll be building from 20 miles to 30, with a goal of tackling a 50-mile charity ride this year. And while we’re focusing on the longer end of the spectrum here, these tips can be applied to all kinds of riding. Here are four New Kid Know How topics on how to plan and ramp up your miles.
- Build Your LongGetting your body ready to go long.
- Grub and GearWhat to eat and pre-ride checklist.
- Crush the RideStrategies for your longest ride ever.
- 100 Mile Training PlanDream bigger with a century training plan.
NEW KID KNOW HOW
Build Your Long
You’re ready to commit, but where are you going to ride? And how is your body going to handle it? Before you get cracking on your Big Day Out campaign, we’ve compiled a few pointers that’ll help you gradually build up to your longest ride ever.
Gran Fondos and charity rides are popular Big Day Out goals. They often have multiple distances to choose from—just pick a distance that makes you a little nervous. Rule of thumb is that most cyclists will be able to complete a ride that’s three times the distance of their average training ride without struggling too much.
- If you’re riding less than an hour, you don’t need to take food—trust us, you’ll be fine.
- For rides over two hours, bring along some ride snacks. The best kind of ride snack is one that fits easily into a jersey pocket—a banana, a gel, or a bar. Eat something about 45 minutes into the ride, then maybe every 20 to 30 minutes after that. Take a bite or so—just enough to keep your body fueled and the bonk at bay.
- Drink often. A good rule of thumb is one bottle-per-hour, and on really hot days, drink more. On rides over two hours, plan a refill strategy. Some people will also add hydration mixes into their water, but be aware these can cause some issues. Trust us. You don't want your Big Day Out to be the day you discover your body really doesn’t dig the “Mega Awesome Sugar Rush Head Kick Power Boost Hydration Mix,͟ so try stuff in training first to see what works for you.
Long Ride Checklist
- The Route: Make a turn-by-turn cue sheet for yourself, or use a mapping program like Strava or Ride with GPS to load the route to your map-enabled cycling computer.
- Check the Weather: Look at the weather for the day of your ride and plan to dress accordingly. Chance of rain? Stuff a packable rain jacket in your pocket or wear a camelback to carry essentials.
- Emergency Contact: Who are you going to call if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew (Which you haven’t, but just in case)? Let them know they’re on the hook.
- On-bike Gear: Take flat supplies—at least two tubes for a long, long ride—and a multi-tool. Don’t know how to fix a flat? Learn here.
- ID, Cash, and Phone: Put it all in a little plastic baggie to keep it together—it’ll also keep your phone dry if it rains. And your phone is not just for calls—take photos on your Big Day Out.
- Food: As above, stick with stuff you’ve tried on rides before. If you do "bonk," use your cash to buy snacks at gas stations or cafés to bring yourself back to life.
- Sunscreen: Take care of your skin. If you’re going to be out for a long time, consider taking some travel sunscreen with you for reapplication.
NEW KID KNOW HOW
100-Mile Training Plan
While your Big Day Out can be any distance you dream of, some of you will be looking down the road at the months ahead and declaring: “I’m gonna ride a century.” Kilometers or miles, this is an epic achievement. Here’s one potential training plan for a 100 miler that should see you through, but you’ll find plenty more online, too.
Rider’s Choice:You should take at least one rest day per week—where you do no physical activity—for one of these days. Many people will take the day after their long ride for this. Use the other Rider's Choice days for yoga, strength training, or easy spins. A Fast Ride:Riding fast once a week helps build endurance—seriously. We’re talking about intervals here. Aim for four to six hard efforts during your workout. Make those efforts 30 secs to 2 mins long, with rest in between. Search online for interval suggestions. A Steady Ride:This is a ride that’s not at full gas, but is a mix of a few longer efforts during the ride, at about 80-85% of your flat out. Or to put it another way, ride hard for a couple of longer spells, but don’t blow yourself up. A Long Ride:You're actually building two types of fitness on a long ride—physical and 'saddle fitness.' Train your body to spend hours riding in the saddle. Each week adds more time and miles. You’re going to crush this
WORTH IT WILL DO
TERMS USED IN THIS ARTICLE:
BONK: Sometimes on a long or hard ride, you forget to eat. This causes a severe loss of energy. To bonk means you’re totally spent on a ride. Eat something! GRAN FONDO: An entry-fee event, typically with multiple distance options with anything from 25 to over 100 miles or kilometers. They usually offer swag, food, and good vibes, too. Mostly casual, but fast folks line up at the front. HOODS: On the corners of your handlebar, there are rubber hoods that cover your brake levers. Riding with your hands there is a common and comfortable handlebar position. DROPS: On typical road handlebars (the curly ones), you’re in the drops when you place your hands on the lower, or curved, part of the bars. You can still work your brakes from this position.HUNDO: A century ride—one that’s either 100 miles or kilometers. A 100km ride is also called a "metric century." TOPS: A handlebar positon whereby your hands are on the top, straight part of the bars.
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