Bicycle Network: Tips from the pros
Tips from the pros
Drapac Professional Cycling are here to help you get the most out of your ride.
Preparation is key
So, you’ve signed up for Around the Bay - Ride for a Child in Need on October 11. You’ve been training well and much of the rest becomes a mental game. Bicycle Network Ambassadors, former Australian Champion Travis Meyer and one-day specialist and former Grafton-Inverell winner, Malcolm Rudolph share their tips for ensuring you get the most out of your ride.
One week to go:
“Get your bike fully cleaned, degreased and serviced at a bike shop if you can afford it,” says Rudolph. “If anything needs fixing or replacing this gives you time before the event to get it sorted. You don't want to turn up on event day with a dirty bike, tyres that are worn out or anything else that may be ready to break, potentially ruining your day.”
“Think ahead,” says Rudolph. “See what the weather will be like to decide which clothing you will need, sunscreen, etc. Also get your ride food sorted—bars, gels, bottles, electrolytes. Also, now is the time to get your spares organised – know where you’re at with tubes, tyre levers, pump etc.”
The night before:
“The day before the ride is just as important as the ride itself,” says Meyer. “If you haven’t prepared correctly then you may as well not swing your leg over the bike!
“Your bike is in top shape but what about your body? Hydration and nutrition is vital in making sure your body is running at its best and can last the duration of the event,” Meyer says. “Try drinking some electrolytes instead of just water and have a carbohydrate-rich meal for dinner the night before"
The day of the ride:
“Up to three hours before the start, have a decent brekky and a few coffees, remembering hydration,” advises Rudolph.
“Make sure you arrive with plenty of time before your ride so you can relax and have everything prepared,” continues Meyer. “For such a long event, you will need to be consuming at least one bottle (600ml) and one race or muesli-type bar every hour. This will enable your body to keep its energy levels up and help you avoid hitting the wall.”
Rudolph reminds us that it’s important not to get overexcited once you leave the start line. “On the ride pick a group that is going at a comfortable pace,” he says. “Don't try and keep up with the leaders if you know you won't go the distance. You don't want to end up cooked by halfway if you've gone out too hard. Also, be careful of crashes, give yourself a bit of space in the bunch as you will probably be riding with very different riders than usual with varying levels of skill, ability and bike handling.
“If it’s windy, it’s always easier to follow another rider and sit in the draft of the bunch.”
Meyer adds: "Keep your gears nice and low to avoid muscle strain and soreness. This also allows you to have more 'punch' when it really is time to put the foot down.
“Most of all, enjoy the ride and stay positive when fatigue sets in,” says Meyer.
“If you’re hurting, try and push through the pain,” suggests Rudolph. “It will be worth it in the end for the feelings of satisfaction and achievement!”
Bicycle Network is proud to have Drapac Professional Cycling as an official cycling and community partner.
There’s no question that cycling provides a great social experience, whether it be a small ride with a few friends or with a larger group that’s more organised. So what is the best way to approach the bunch ride? Bicycle Network ambassadors, Drapac Professional Cycling’s Jordan Kerby and Darren Lapthorne are here to help.
1. Stay relaxed
“It can be quite normal to make contact with another rider or touch wheels just by the natural flow of the bunch,” says Lapthorne. “The bunch constantly moves in all directions so the calmer each rider is if there happens to be contact with another wheel or shoulder, the less chance of having an accident.”
2. Remember you’re sharing the road
“If a motorist is courteous to you and gives you plenty of room, make sure you give them a wave,” says Kerby. “It shows you appreciate them not trying to run you off the road. Also, if the bunch needs to change lanes, make sure everyone changes lanes quickly and at the same time. A pet hate of mine is when you have half of the bunch committing to turn and the other half not—it’s a very bad image to spread out all across the road.”
3. Help your mates
“Always signal road traffic and objects such as rocks and potholes nice and early this makes crashes much more avoidable,” says Kerby.
Lapthorne expands: “The riders at the front of the bunch have an obligation to point out any hazards that may be approaching. Just a simple hand signal to make people aware of a pot hole or parked car is appropriate. Riders following can then pass on the signal further down the bunch. “When riding further down a bunch, it’s important to focus on what’s happening well ahead rather than looking directly at the wheel in front,” he continues. “This way you will be able to read the flow of the bunch and have more time to prepare for cornering, braking, potholes.
4. Give yourself the best chance
“If you’re going for an early bunch ride where there could be low visibility, make sure you always have your lights with you,” says Kerby.
5. Remember, learning to ride in the bunch takes time
“If you’re not comfortable riding in a large group then stay towards the back and allow extra space,” says Lapthorne. “If it’s your first time riding in a larger group, then start small and find a smaller bunch to give yourself that extra space around you. The larger the bunch, the more chance of accidents occurring. I find training in a bunch of 6-8 riders ideal as it’s still big enough to share the workload and much smoother as there are less riders for a mishap to occur.”
Ride with members of Drapac Professional Cycling on this year’s Around the Bay – Ride for a Child in Need. Enter now.