5 Common mistakes Long Distance Cyclists Make
My name is Robbie Ferri, I am a seasoned Ultra cyclist here in the UK, and I am here to tell you the most common mistakes long distances cyclists make to avoid them.
Long-distance cycling isn’t easy. When I hear the phrase “as easy as riding a bike,” I don’t think they know about long-distance cycling because it’s tough and requires so much thought and hard work to go into it. I have learned so much over the years as my Ultra cycling career and have progressed by making some awful mistakes and learning the hard way.
Not having a Bikefit
Having a bike fit will help you so much more than you will ever think. Not only will it make sure you prevent yourself from injuring yourself too quickly, but it will also make the riding much more efficient and faster.
It will give you more confidence to push on. Knowing you’re in the proper position will make your riding much more enjoyable than ever.
Unfortunately, as a Bike Fitter myself and an Ultra cyclist, I can see a mile away when people avoid this. I’ll never know why people do. It’s such an easy process, and in the grand scheme of long-distance cycling, probably one of the best bang for your buck upgrades. road biking techniques.
Wherever you live, you will likely have a Bikefitter close, go and see them or failing that, try doing it yourself. Read our long distance cycling tips.
Not training enough for big events
When I first started riding, I was always out on my bike, and training just came naturally and was part of my lifestyle. Now I work a lot and have other commitments.
I find myself having to make time for training. I was always surprised turning up to Ultra races and Audaxes and people saying they hadn’t trained.
They were just going to “chance it” I honestly can say only a slight majority of them I saw at the end. The ones that did make it had been cyclists their whole lives and just knew how to pace it nice and slowly and understood what they were doing.
Unless you fall into this category, I strongly recommend getting some base miles before you ride anything of a high distance.
When I’m getting ready for an event, I do power sessions when I’m at work in the week and long sessions at the weekend.
This gives my body a mix of strength and also some endurance.
Going in unprepared
When it comes to long distances, you are taking yourself and your bike to absolute extremes. I have gone to many events and have seen a lot of people turn up to events completely unprepared, asking if anyone will sell them a spare tube, not charging their lights, even forgetting their cycling shoes.
I’m ready two days before then. I can have a day to switch off before the event and go in feeling really prepared and mentally ready, not stressed and worried.
The best way to break down the preparation is to make a list of what you need to do and what you need to take and just tick it off as you go. The more you use this method to prepare, the more you will naturally be able to do it quicker each time, and before you know it, you won’t even need a list.
Taking the wrong Clothing
I have to say honestly, I have done this many times, and it’s awful getting your clothing wrong. In the middle of winter, going out expecting it to warm up and it doesn’t, so you spend the majority of your day frozen and using your body’s energy to stay warm instead of chasing down your mates on those climbs.
In spring starting with that nice long sleeve top and bib tights on a cold morning and then literally feeling like you’re in a kettle by lunch.
It is such an easy mistake to make, and it’s very tough to get right, especially if you are here in the UK and the weather is all over the shop all the time.
The best way to avoid this is to either check your weather and make sure you get precisely the Clothing you need or getting a large frame bag for your bike where you can store your jacket and leg or arm warmers when you’re done with them.
Riding long distances is a skill, and the experience is very different for everyone who does it. It might just be a bit of fun or might be a professional Ultra race. The same rules apply no matter what you are doing.
By neglecting any of these, you will cause yourself some actual discomfort and not enjoy the miles. I love riding my bike, and if I can make it easier and the journey better for myself is a no-brainer. I see a lot of cyclists suffering through miles when they don’t have to.
Not getting fueling right
Here’s the most challenging bit I find when it comes to long-distance cycling, eating. It’s not easy and is entirely different for everyone.
It all depends on what you like, what your stomach can handle, the suitable types of food for what you’re doing, and what’s available on the route.
I now spend a lot of time using certain foods in my training, so when I go on a long-distance ride, my body knows what to expect and that I won’t upset my stomach on the journey and find myself having to run into a bush.
It takes time, and I’d highly recommend putting a lot of thought into this process. I use the application MyFitnessPal to track my food when I’m riding so when I get home, I can see the types of food I had and the calorie content and then start building a nutrition strategy on that information.
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