About to set off on your first long ride? Long rides are one of the true joys of cycling, but it’s important to take your time before throwing yourself into the deep end.

To help you feel more prepared, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to handling long bike rides, whether for training or recreation, so you can relax and enjoy the ride!

Be Prepared

Before committing to your first long bike ride, make sure you’ve built up to it gradually. You’ll want to build your strength and endurance by working up to longer, more intense rides over time.

You should also be prepared in the way of emergency gear, just in case the day’s cycling doesn’t go perfectly to plan. We recommend packing:

  • 2 flat tyres
  • a mini tool
  • your mobile phone
  • identification (ID)
  • a small amount of cash, say $20

These items can get you out of a tough situation on a long day ride, so they are well worth taking.

Keep Hydrated on Your Ride

It’s imperative that you keep properly hydrated during a long day of cycling.

Consider how many hours you’ll be riding for and plan to drink about one bottle per hour – more if it’s a hot day or the ride is particularly challenging. After 2 hours of riding, stop and refill your water bottle.

Fuel Yourself with Food

As well as staying hydrated, it’s important to keep up your energy and blood sugar levels by refuelling your body with small, consistent amounts of food.

Take a bite or 2 to eat every 15-30 minutes throughout your ride and stop for a proper snack after riding for 2 hours, when you refill your water bottle.

Stretch While Cycling

Doing some basic stretches throughout a long ride can make a big difference to your day. Here’s some you can do quite safely while still cycling.

  • Shrug your shoulders up towards your ears and hold for 5 seconds, then release
  • Stand up on your pedals, straightening out one leg and letting your heel sag down below the pedal for 20 seconds, then switch to the other leg
  • Reach one hand up between your shoulders for 5 seconds, then release and switch hands
  • Make sure you change hand positions regularly

Have Your Bike Professionally Fitted

Before setting out on a long ride, make sure your bike has been professionally fitted. This is a key element of successfully handling long cycling sessions and will optimise your riding.

Bikefit is the process of professionally fitting a bicycle to its rider, ensuring ideal positioning that maximises each rider’s athletic input while minimising impact on vulnerable parts of the body.

Perth’s Star Physio team can complete a professional Bikefit for you, getting you ready to ride longer, better and pain-free.

Star Physio is a physiotherapy clinic in West Perth with a special interest in sporting injuries and Bikefit. Call your nearest clinic or fill out our quick online form to start preparing for your long ride.