Thursday, 15 Nov 2018

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day?

One hundred miles has a very special status in cycling. We use 100 miles as a fundamental unit of long distance. It’s a good drive or a long train ride, which makes travelling 100 miles using your own power extra special but very achievable on a bike. Bikes were made to travel long distances, they support our bodies and transfer our power efficiently, but of all the distances you can ride why is 100 miles such a prize for cyclists?

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 1

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

It’s partly the shape of the number, partly the way it looks and trips off the tongue. Plus, in our heads it’s much more than one mile further than 99. Cyclists pride themselves on riding 100 miles and always have. I have a friend in his 70s who rides 100 miles every Sunday. If he returns home and his computer says 99, he’ll ride around the streets until 100 pops up. He’s always done it, and he always will for as long as he can ride a bike.

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 2

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

One hundred miles is a prize, it’s a badge to be worn, something cyclists do because they can. But more than doing it for its own sake I’ve used 100 miles as a device in this book. It’s a look at the best places in Britain to ride, delivered in 100-mile units. I hope it encourages you to experience the roads, views, hills, forests, towns, villages, lakes, rivers and sea of this beautiful island, and to discover them all from the unique perspective of riding a bike. I think it’s a great way of meeting the enduring challenge of riding 100 miles in a day.

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 3

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

What Bikes? How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day?

Bikes are wonderful machines. Any well-maintained bike can travel 100 miles if you provide the power, but some bikes make the experience easier and better. Road bikes are the most suited to travelling long distances on metalled surfaces, but mountain bikes, hybrids or cyclo-cross bikes will get you there so long as you swap their knobbly tyres for slick ones.

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 4

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day? The main thing is to enjoy the experience of riding 100 miles, and for that you need comfort. Unless you are used to riding one, or you are an experienced racer, out and out race bikes probably aren’t the best. They are built for speed and tend to be very stiff so all your energy gets transferred into the back wheel, but that means they can be quite harsh to ride. If you are buying a new bike with regular 100-mile rides in mind then the best place to look is in the cyclosportive category of your favorite bike manufacturer’s range. Cyclosportive bikes have lower gear ratios than race bikes, and they are more comfortable, something achieved by the shock absorbency of the materials they are made from and by their design.

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 5

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

Extra Kit. How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day?

There are some extras you need in order to ride 100 miles. An under-the-saddle bag is the best way to carry spare inner tubes, a multi-tool device, tyre levers and some money. You also need cycling-specific drinks bottles to carry in special cages that fit on your bike frame. And you need a good, reliable pump in case of punctures. Front and rear lights are a must if there is any chance of the ride starting or ending during the hours of darkness, and having small, flashing front and rear LED lights on your bike helps increase your visibility to other road users. Mudguards make riding in wet conditions much more comfortable. They don’t have to be permanent fixtures on your bike – there are some very good ones that can be attached and detached in seconds. A cycle computer keeps you in touch with how many miles you’ve done, and a GPS device allows you to enter the ride route before you start, which is a big help. You should also build up a good wardrobe of cycling-specific clothing, with items that suit all weather and riding conditions, before attempting to ride 100 miles.

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 6

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

Bike Preparation. How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day?

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day? A lot of things depends on your preparation. It’s bad news when your bike lets you down, but it can be avoided by maintaining it. Do it yourself or let a bike shop do it, but regular servicing, prompt replacement of worn parts, and cleaning and lubricating your bike all ensure its dependability, but they also make riding it a pleasure.

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 7

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

Check your tyres for wear and cuts in the tread before every ride, and check that everything fastened to your bike, like bags, lights and a pump, is secure. Check the frame for cracks and dents, and if your transmission and/or brakes aren’t in tip-top condition, get them fixed. Regular cleaning and lubrication are important, too. Clean and lubricate your bike after any wet ride, and if you don’t have time to clean it all, at least clean and lubricate the chain and gears. Otherwise clean, inspect and lubricate once a week if possible, but not less than once a fortnight.

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 8

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

Technique. How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day?

Low gears are crucial, and not just for coping with hills. They are one of the secrets that make riding 100 miles achievable and enjoyable. Gearing down spreads the load on your legs over more pedal revolutions. Think of it this way: it causes less strain to lift 100 kilograms in ten 10-kilogram lots than it does to do it all in one go, but in both cases you still lift 100 kilograms. By pedalling a low gear quickly you can apply the same power as pedalling a high gear slowly, but the strain on your legs is less.

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 9

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

Cyclists call this fast pedalling style spinning, and spinning is a good word to keep in mind to reinforce the need for it while riding. It feels strange at first but with practice spinning becomes second nature. Watch the top guys in races like the Tour de France to give you a feel for what it looks like. Don’t force your pedals around – spin them.

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 10

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

Spreading food and drink intake over the whole distance is crucial, too. Eat and drink little and often, and start doing it early. If you wait until you are hungry or thirsty you compromise the ride, and certainly compromise enjoying it. If you have a cycle computer or stopwatch with an alarm, set it to bleep every half hour to remind you to eat and drink. And there’s nothing wrong with stopping once, twice or as many times as you like on a ride for a sit-down eat and a cuppa in a cafe. Doing it just makes cycling better.

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 11

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

I’ve tried to indicate any danger points if they occur on these rides, but it’s up to you to gain experience of riding on the road, and to feel comfortable and be competent at handling your bike, and you must know the law as it applies to cyclists. There are lots of manuals and courses to help you ride better, but there are two big things to remember. Always ride downhill at speeds at which you feel in control, and bikes are only under control when you brake or accelerate when riding in a straight line. Do either when you are not going straight and you risk a skid or even falling off.

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day. Useful Tips - photo 12

How to Cycle 100 Miles in a Day

To be continued…

 

“Best 100-Mile Bike Routes”

Chris Sidwells

 

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