Whether you’re new to cycling or have been training in the sport for a while, mistakes are bound to be made. They are a learning experience and will help you become a better rider. Issues are bound to happen, particularly when you are cycling long distances. Which is why we want to share a few mistakes we have made in the hopes you will find these useful.
- Having an unsuitable bike. Where this may seem important for any ride, it is vital that the bike you are going to be using for long periods of time is safe and comfortable. This can be done by ensuring your saddle is at the correct height and for women maybe investing in a comfier seat. It’s also important to ensure you have the correct tools in the event that your bike becomes damaged. We recommend:
- 2 x inner tubes
- Tyre levers
- Patches (instant stick on type are best)
- Mini Pump (or CO2 inflator)
- Multi tool (ideally with chain link extractor)
You can also visit our blog ‘What to pack in your bike survival kit,’ where we write about everything you should take with you on your journeys. You should also make sure your tyres are fully pumped up and check all gear beforehand such as lights, handlebars etc.
- Not enough training. Now, we know it’s exciting to push yourself to the limit and ride for hours with the wind against you and only the views of the silent countryside in your vision. However, taking these rides without vital training and preparation can result in you getting injured and being unable to reach your goals. You need to build up endurance in order to take these rides, for instance try starting off doing a quarter of the journey, then half and so on until you are ready to take on the full course. You should also not be increasing these lengths too quickly, in the same respect don’t train at the same intensity for too long.
- Not listening to your body. Naturally, when you are exercising your body will lose vitamins and nutrients so before you begin make sure you start your day off with a balanced breakfast. Make sure you also pack lot’s of snacks to get you through the day. Most importantly, hydration. Drink plenty before you start your ride, during and after to ensure you give your body what it needs to repair. Remember to take the time after your rides to correctly recover. You can read more about how to do this on our blog page, where we list various ways to look after your body after cycling.
- Wearing appropriate clothes. This is another part of cycling that you need to plan ahead for, otherwise you may find yourself in a situation where you find yourself on a miserable ride due to the weather. Make sure to always check the weather forecast beforehand, and during the length of your ride to ensure you are aware of weather changes throughout. This way you can dress accordingly, for example for colder conditions it’s best to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. Always make sure you take out a windproof/waterproof jacket that you can store just in case. Similarly for warmer weather, ride out in a vest and cycling shorts. If the weather is looking too hot maybe reschedule the ride as the heat comes with its own set of obstacles with any ride.
- Using the wrong gear. Understanding your gears is highly important when taking your bikes on long distance routes. Using the wrong one can result in you overexerting yourself. When you are on flat terrain, it’s best to be going at about 95RPM, if you’re finding that too much of a struggle, you’re using too high of a gear, meaning this could eventually wear out. On the opposite, if your gear is too low then your legs will be doing too much work to keep the correct speed. Have a play about and find out which is comfortable for you to maintain.
We hope some of these common mistakes have been useful to you. If you are interested in reading more cycling tips, check out our blogs on our ‘Cycling Inspiration’ page, or if you have any topics you would like us to write about email in and let us know!