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How to prepare for your first charity cycle ride -

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Ready for a new challenge? Be prepared and enjoy the ride.
Guildford Challenge Ride
Guildford Challenge Ride

How to prepare for your first charity ride

If you are taking part in an organised charity ride then there is not a lot of organising to do other than prepare physically and make sure your bicycle is in a road worthy condition.

Entries: Get your entry in well in advance to avoid disappointment, especially if you are planning on taking part in a popular event. The majority of charity events have a limit on the number of riders that can take part due to insurance reasons and the types of road the event will be run on. The police also have an input as to the number of entries allowed.

Bike: Check that the saddle height is correct for you and make sure your bike is in a road worthy condition. Make sure your tyres have got plenty of tread and check them for flint and other sharp objects you may have picked up while out training. Bring a puncture repair kit, a spare tube and a pump with you.

Check that your brakes work, that the cables are not frayed, and that the brake blocks still have plenty of life left in them.

Check that all your gears work, especially the lower ones if the charity ride is a hilly route.

If you are not mechanically minded, it might be a good idea to take your bike to your local cycle shop for a check-up or a local cycle mechanic who is qualified. Do this in the week leading up to the charity ride, if it's left to the last 24 hours before the event you might not have a bike to ride.

Clothing: Wear the appropriate clothing for the conditions. Check the weather forecast during the week leading up to the event and bring a change of clothes for afterwards. It is better to have layers of clothing as this will keep you warm and dry; and if you get too hot you can peel away a layer at a time. If rain showers are forecast bring a rain cape/jacket, which can fold easily into your back pocket. A good gauge is to be prepared for either 5 degrees C warmer or cooler as it warms up throughout the day, the wind picks up or a rain shower arrives.   

                                                    

Fuel: Bring enough food and drink that will get you round the course - this also applies to charity events which advertise feed stations. Don’t depend on the feed stations as they might be poorly stocked or offer nutrition that doesn’t agree with you. This is one other aspect the ride you can practise prior to your big event. Try different drinks and foods to see what your body agrees with and makes you feel good. One of the all time great mistakes is to try something new and find it makes you feel ill during a bike ride!

One good marker along the way is to check you have emptied a bottle each hour. Fuelling is about staying ahead of the game, don't wait until you feel hungry or thirsty - by then it's too late and very difficult to catch back up. Lastly, bring some food for afterwards and start the refuelling process as soon as you finish. Protein is great to take after the event, as it helps repair damaged muscle fibres.

                                             

Training: If you have long enough before your charity ride, it's great idea to cover the distance at least once prior to it - that way you will know that you can complete the distance and how much nutrition you require.

If you are new to cycling slowly build up to the distance. Speed is not important, but distance is. Start off riding for 30 mins, and increase the time each week to what you can manage. Don’t do too much too soon. As your ride time increases, remember to drink and eat during the ride and immediately afterwards.

If the charity ride you have planned is hilly, be sure to ride a hilly route in training as riding up hill can use a lot more energy than riding on flat roads. Developing your own personal style of climbing hills - be they short or long - is good to do in advance of the event.

A typical training schedule for a beginner may look something like this:

 Week 1:

Monday          Day Off

Tuesday         30 mins: Easy effort. You should be able to hold a conversation.

Wednesday   Day Off

Thursday       30 mins: Easy effort. You should be able to hold a conversation.

Friday             Day Off

Saturday        10-15 miles on flat roads (if possible) Easy effort.

You should be able to hold a conversation as a gauge of pace.

Sunday          Day Off

Week 2:

Monday          Day Off

Tuesday         45 mins: Easy effort.

Wednesday   Day Off

Thursday       30 mins: Easy effort.

Friday             Day Off

Saturday        15-20 miles on flat roads (if possible) Easy effort.

Sunday          Day Off

Week 3:

Monday          Day Off

Tuesday         45 mins: Easy effort.

Wednesday   Day Off

Thursday       45 mins: Easy effort.

Friday             Day Off

Saturday        20-25 miles on flat roads (if possible) Easy effort.

Sunday          60 mins: 20 easy warm up/20 min steady (you should be able to talk in short sentences)/ 20 min easy cool down.

Week 4:        

Monday          Day Off

Tuesday         60 mins: Easy effort.

Wednesday   Day Off

Thursday       45 mins: Easy effort.

Friday             Day Off

Saturday        30-35 miles on flat roads (if possible) Easy effort.

Sunday          60 mins: 20 easy warm up/20 min steady (you should be able to talk in short sentences)/ 20 min easy cool down.

N.B. This is just a sample - everyone has a different amount of time available to exercise and is starting at their own level of fitness. You will soon get a feel for what works for you and how it fits into your daily routine.

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  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Gordon Seabright
  • Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC): A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1147607 and in Scotland No SC042541
  • CTC Charitable Trust: A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.5125969. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1104324 and Scotland No SC038626

 

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