In just a couple of weeks, thousands of you will be taking part in the annual BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride. With so many of you taking part every year, we asked the regular riders amongst our Facebook and Twitter community for their words of wisdom.
Taking on the challenge for the first time? Looking to do it even quicker this year? Here are some top tips from your fellow fundraisers.
Tips for training
- Spend plenty of time on your bike
You don’t need to be going fast, you just need to get used to long periods on your bike. But don’t forget that rest days are just as important. After a long cycling session, give your body enough time to recuperate.
- Make sure you’re fitted to your bike properly
Having your saddle and handlebars at the perfect height will do wonders, ensuring that you feel completely comfortable on your bike. Pop into your local bike shop and ask if they wouldn’t mind checking that everything is at the right height.
- Get plenty of hills in your training
Ask anyone that’s already done the London to Brighton and the first thing they’ll mention will be “the massive hill at the end”. Ditchling Beacon is almost 50 miles into the route and then it’s the best part of a mile up a steep hill. When planning your training route, try to include a few hills to prepare yourself.
- Invest in some decent cycling shorts
Bike saddles don’t make the comfiest of seats, even for short trips. A good pair of padded cycling shorts will not only make your training more enjoyable, they’ll be invaluable on the day.
Beetroot juice is a natural source of nitrate and it can really boost your stamina. Try drinking a glass or two the week before the event. If you can’t quite stomach the juice, opt for a whole beetroot, once a day.
Tips for on the day
- Give yourself plenty of time
Leaving early will give you a head start and allow you to take things a little easier later on. Plus, the later you get to Ditchling Beacon, the more people there will be walking up it, making it even harder for you to ride.
- Find your rhythm
Like all exercise, cycling is different for everyone. Find a rhythm and pace you’re comfortable with and stick with it. When you come to a hill, lower your gears, relax and keep to your rhythm.
- Pack some energy boosting snacks and keep hydrated
Bananas, pasta, fruit and nuts are all popular choices.
- Vaseline, Vaseline, Vaseline…
Don’t underestimate chafing. You may feel physically fine, but discomfort from saddle sores can be enough to stop you pedalling on. If you’re not so keen on Vaseline, any kind of chamois cream will work just as well.
- Prepare for Ditchling Beacon
Plan ahead for Ditchling Beacon to give yourself a better chance of riding up it. You may wish to plan a lengthy stop just before the hill to recharge your batteries. Plus, there are some advantages to hills – what goes up must come down! Once you’ve conquered Ditchling, it’s downhill all the way.
Thanks to all the cycling pros that told us their tips! If you have a top tip that we haven’t shared, we’d love to hear it. Leave us a comment on the blog below, post on our Facebook wall or send us a tweet.