Tips and Resources

Couch to Around the Bay in six weeks

Want to have a go at a bike riding event, but not sure where to start? Check out this very simple guide to get you from your couch to riding United Energy Around the Bay in six weeks.

If it’s been a while between rides, getting back on the bike can be daunting. One sure-fire way to kickstart your motivation is by signing up to an event in the not-so-distant future.

You don’t have to be an elite athlete to enter a bike riding event either. There’s plenty of social events, like United Energy Around the Bay, that are designed to be a personal challenge, a bit of fun, and a celebration of your own ride at your own pace. Even better is that you don’t need special gear – just a bike, a pair of runners and some clothes that you’re comfortable getting a little sweaty in.

This year, we’re riding United Energy Around the Bay on Sunday 11 October, but don’t worry, you haven’t missed the boat!

Even for inexperienced riders, the 20km or 50km ride at United Energy Around the Bay are highly achievable with six weeks between now and event day, or even less.

To help show just how it easy it is – we’ve put together a really simple, uncomplicated guide to preparing for the 20km or 50km in United Energy Around the Bay ride in six weeks (or less!). 

Week 1

Start riding

You don’t have to pedal yourself into the ground, but as with most things, the hardest part is getting started. 

A good way to overcome the first obstacle is to remove the barriers. It’s always so easy to make a last-minute excuse. Have your riding clothes ready and your helmet and bike lock prepared the night before, so you’re ready to go when the time comes – no excuses.  

It doesn’t have to be every day, and it doesn’t have to be very far, but week one is all about having a ride, or two, or three, to start the legs and wheels spinning. Riding to work, or part way, is a great way to start building a routine. It’s all about starting to get comfortable and familiar with your bike.

Riders rights and legal support

Week 2

Check your bike

Once you’ve got over the first hurdle and blown the cobwebs off the bike, it’s probably a good time to take a closer look at your noble steed. If it’s been a while, or a lifetime, since you’ve been in a riding routine, you should consider getting a professional bike service and/or fitting. 

Any good bike shop (or good bike riding friend) can help you tune up your bike and make sure it’s set up to make riding as comfortable and efficient as possible. This includes having your seat height at a level where your leg is completely straight when you rest a flat foot on your pedal at its lowest point. 

You can refer to this simple bike check. 


Week 3

Keep pedalling

Keep pedalling. As your fitness and comfort builds, you may want to increase your distance a little. Invite a friend to come along with you so you can encourage each other.  

If you’re craving a little extra motivation, The Smith Family have you sorted. What could possibly be more motivating than helping disadvantaged kids get access to the education they deserve. That’s what The Smith Family do, and by partnering with United Energy Around the Bay they’ve raised more than $10,000,000 to help change the lives of thousands of Aussie kids.

With three weeks until we ride, there is plenty of time to set up a fundraising account, share the details on your social media and around the office or classroom and start raising funds.

Learn more about Around the Bay fundraising here.

Training ride with Jess Douglas

Week 4

Try a longer ride

You don’t have to ride the full distance before the event, as you can always leave something in the tank to achieve with the adrenaline and excitement of the big day. But you should familiarise yourself with some longer days in the saddle

With an average speed of about 12km/h, you could spend over 1.5 hours (20kms) or over four hours in the saddle for the 50-kilometre ride. If you haven’t spent extended hours on the bike before, you’ll soon find out that the hardest part is in fact the seat. 

You may find you have a sore tailbone after your first hour-long ride, but you quickly get used to this, so it’s wise to harden up the bum before the main event so that you can focus on soaking up the atmosphere of Australia’s biggest celebration of bike riding.


Week 5

Food and drink

It’s important that as you start to increase your distances that you start paying attention to what your body is telling you it needs while riding.

Chances are that if you’re a not a regular rider, you’ve probably never really paid much attention to what you eat or drink while you ride. And truth be told, for a 20km or 50km ride, you don’t need to adopt any sort of extreme diet changes.

All you need to really remember is energy in = energy out. Foods with a low GI provide your body with sustained energy over a longer period of time. This helps keep your blood sugar levels stable and helps ensure you can perform at your best

For example, fruit and a tub of low-fat yoghurt, or an English muffin with honey/jam around one to four hours before training will help boost your energy.

Lean protein, such as red meat and fish, will help you recover from the last ride and build strength.

It’s also important to stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water before you start your training session. Then replenish your fluid levels at least every 20 minutes or so after exercise.

When on a longer ride, you should try to either eat or drink something every 10 minutes, and only drink water with food – sports drinks should be taken alone.

Give this a go on a ride before event day to see how your stomach feels.


Week 6

Get excited

It’s not every week you get to take part in such an iconic Melbourne event. Jump online and check out the route you’ll be taking to help build the excitement.

The 50km ride includes a unique trip over the Westgate Bridge which may seem daunting, but there’s nothing to fear! It’s just a short climb on fully closed roads to unlock stunning views of Melbourne.

And it’s definitely not a race so you can take you time. Just keep ticking your legs over one pedal stroke at a time and before you know it you’ll be cruising down the other side.

Now’s also a good time to finalise your kit for the big day and go for a ride in the clothes you intend to wear, so you don’t stumble across any surprises on event day.

Family riding Around the Bay

There you go, it’s that easy!

Still on the fence?

Check out our United Energy Around the Bay tips and training page via the button below, and sign up today to ride the best day on the bike all year.

You can also continue to browse our general riding resources here, including road rules, advice on riding with kids and other pieces of riding know how.


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Whether your're a new rider or are looking for some mid-week motivation to get back in the saddle we've got a bunch of resources to keep you pedalling.