There is nothing more relaxing and soul-cleansing than cycling. Cycling not only makes you physically fit but also makes your mind fresh. The chilly air and mood-boosting environment on a windy, sunny, or chilly day are absolutely blissful. Enjoying the view of the countryside, exploring a city, sneaking into new roads, or breathing the chilly beach air are all parts of a delightful cycle ride.
While we crave such experiences, cycling for a long time can be tiring too. Long cycle rides are indeed refreshing and mesmerizing, but they can be uncomfortable too. It can be unsatisfying if you are not prepared, and a long ride can be stressful to you in that case.
Preparation is required to protect yourself from unfavorable conditions. Besides, you need to know several tactics to make long rides comfortable and enjoyable.
If you are looking for the best cycling tips for long rides, I got you. I am here with my article to provide you with some tips for long cycling rides so that you can get the best experience ever!
Are you ready? Let’s start!
10 Best Cycling Tips For Long Rides: Make Your Long Rides More Fun
Long cycling trips need you to be active as well as fresh. If you start feeling tired or get body pain, the experience would be ruined. This is why I am here with the best cycling tips that would make your long rides enjoyable and comfortable.
Here are the 10 best cycling tips for long rides:
1. Wear Bib Shorts:
The most common problems during long rides are hip soreness, pain, numbness, or stiffness. As your hip and sit bones rest on the saddle for a long time, you may feel pain or soreness down there. The muscles get numb due to the lack of movement. This would make your ride extremely uncomfortable and painful.
This is why wearing bib shorts with chamois padding is the option that you can’t miss out on. Bib short is not too tight, and not too loose. Extremely airy and thin fabric pants can put the entire pressure on your hip bone and muscles hurting your hip. Also, tight pants can restrict blood circulation. But bib shorts are elastic, and the chamois pad relaxes and protects your hip from impacts and stress.
Choose the bib shorts with thin chamois padding for ease and comfort. Thick ones may make you feel bulky. You can also apply chamois cream to your hip to multiply the comfort level.
2. Put On Cycling Shoes:
Paddling for a long time can stress your feet. It puts strain on your entire leg, but the most affected part is your footbed. If your footbed is not at ease, it would eventually start paining and can cause health problems in the long run. Footbed comfort, therefore, is very important.
For the ultimate footbed comfort, you need to wear cycling shoes. Not only for comfort but also to maintain safety, you should put on cycling shoes with armor. The extra-thick pads, armor, and rubber sole provide feet stability as well as improve balance. Pedaling becomes more swift and effortless with cycling shoes. Your feet won’t slip off, and even on a long ride, you would feel relaxed and tireless due to the footbed support and ease.
Therefore, wearing a high-quality cycling shoe can definitely make your riding experience delightful and safe.
3. Know Your Optimum Pace:
Not everyone can ride at the same speed. So, you must not compare your speed with others, especially when it is a long ride. You need to find out the optimum pace that suits your body, and you should maintain the pace on long rides. If you understand and maintain the optimum pace, you won’t feel tired.
Generally, your optimum pace would be 70% of your maximum heart rate. You can contact a physician to learn about it. You can keep a heart rate monitor too. Otherwise, you can try out conversing with other riders while cycling. If you find it difficult or choke to talk while cycling, you need to slow down the pace. If conversing is effortless, you can try speeding up a bit or can keep up the pace.
Maintaining the optimum pace would help you stay fresh and energetic for a long time.
4. Speed Up Gradually:
I understand that the energy remains at its peak when you start the ride. But if you start riding fast at the beginning, the energy will drain out fast. Therefore, at the end of the ride, you will be exhausted and tired. This is why you need to control the speed from the very beginning.
If the ride is too long, it is better to divide the total time, and speed up after the first half. If you are planning to ride for 3 hours, then ride at a slow and relaxing speed for 1.5 hours. After this time, slowly speed up, and put on effort. If the distance is less, try speeding up every 30 minutes.
The actual trick is to ride effortlessly at the beginning to store the energy for the latter part of the ride. Divide the time, or distance into two parts to decide exactly when you should speed up.
5. Change Your Position:
If you are sitting upright on the saddle for a long time, you will feel numbness in your hip and back. Muscles get stiff, and your body can’t relax when you sit in one posture for a long time. To let your body relax and function properly, you have to move a bit on the saddle.
If you are sitting upright, try to lean forward once in 30 minutes. Place your hip at the front edge of the saddle so that your hip barely touches the saddle. Also, stand on the paddle, and ride for 3-5 minutes after every 30 minutes of the ride to relax the leg, hip, and back muscles. This would flex your entire body and prevent you from getting sore.
Therefore, keep changing your hip position on the saddle every 30 minutes to make the long ride comfortable and relaxing.
6. Move Your Shoulder And Hands:
Not only do your hip and back suffer but your shoulder and hands can hurt too. Finger knuckles and hand joints get locked often when you continuously hold the handlebar. At the same time, the shoulder gets stiff or frozen. Also, you may feel immense pain in your hands and shoulder.
To prevent pain and numbness, you need to move your shoulders and hands during the ride. If you are off for a long ride, I believe you can ride with one hand down. If you can do so, ride with one hand and let the other hand rest. Rotate the shoulder gently and contract your fingers as if you are pumping a sponge ball. After your hand feels relaxed, do the same for the other hand.
Try moving and rotating your neck too. This helps to flex the neck muscles and will increase blood circulation.
7. Get Weather Protection:
Different weather conditions can affect your long cycle ride. If it is rainy, or extremely sunny, or chilly, you may not be able to move comfortably. This is why you should take enough protection to beat the weather.
If it is too hot, wear sunglasses, apply sunscreen all over your body, and stay hydrated. Wear airy tops or riding gear that would soak up sweat. The helmet’s inner pads should be clean to absorb sweat and protect your head from the sun. Similarly, cover yourself with a lightweight raincoat, or waterproof riding gear on a rainy day. You need to wear a full sleeve sweater, and full pants on a winter day. Don’t wear too many clothes, but wear them according to the weather.
Decide your outfit, take enough protection and precaution, and then set off to beat the weather.
Read here for a complete idea on what to wear cycling in various weather: How To Dress For Cycling?
8. Stay Hydrated And Have Carbs:
Research shows that muscle efficiency decreases if you are not hydrated. This shows how important it is to stay hydrated. Always keep a bottle of water, and try having ½ or 1 liter of water in an hour. You can mix lemon and sugar in it too, or a packet of glucose to get more energy.
Try to start your day with a healthy but light breakfast. You can have fruits and veggies along with some porridge. The ride will burn calories, and you need to fill it up too to stay energetic. But don’t eat too much. It would make you feel bulky and lazy. Have a banana or an energy bar, or maybe some glucose water to energize your body.
So, don’t miss out on having enough water, and try taking some nutritious food items frequently so that you can stay revived and energetic throughout the ride.
9. Watch The Wind Direction:
It is better if you can trace the wind direction before going out for a ride. The easiest way is to wet your hand and hold it up in the air and feel which side is cold. This is the side from which air is blowing. You can also hold up a plastic bag in the air, and see in which direction it is going to understand the direction.
If you need to ride against the wind direction, it can be tiresome, and you would need more effort to pedal. It becomes effortless and easy if you cycle in the direction of the wind. If you don’t have a specific destination, try cycling in the direction of the wind. If you have to go against the wind direction, then go slow so that you can store up energy. If you go in a group, try sticking around to each other to protect each other from the sudden gush of wind.
10. Exercise Regularly:
Long rides are not as easy as you may think. You require bone and muscle strength as well as stamina to cross distances. And to strengthen your body and increase stamina, there is no alternative to regular exercising.
You should do squats, push-ups, and stretching to flex your muscles and strain your hands and legs. If you go to the gym, that would suffice. Just make sure that your muscles are relaxed and bones are capable of resisting stress.
Exercise regularly so that you stay strong and energetic all day long.
How Many Miles Per Hour Is Good For Long Distance Cycling?
If you start cycling too fast at the beginning, you may lose energy. You need to go slow and store up stamina for the latter part of the ride. You must maintain your optimum pace too.
However, the pace would vary from person to person. Also, your expertise in cycling determines how fast you should ride. Therefore, the MPH (miles per hour) calculation for a beginner would be different from the calculation of a pro cyclist.
Here is a table demonstrating the good average MPH for cyclists of different expertise levels:
|Expertise Level||Miles Per Hour|
|Average Rider||15 MPH|
|Regular Rider||20 MPH|
|Professional Rider||25 MPH|
How Many Calories Do You Burn Cycling?
You can burn a considerable amount of calories if you cycle regularly. Cycling burns fat and tones your muscles. It helps you to get rid of extra calories. But how many calories can you actually burn? That would depend on your speed and the distance you are traveling.
Here is a chart showing how many calories you can burn cycling:
|Mile Per Hour Cycling||Calories Burned Per Mile|
As you can see, your cycling speed determines how many calories you can burn. The faster you ride, the more calories you burn.
How Long Should You Cycle To Lose Weight?
If you are one of them who has set off for a long cycling ride to lose weight, you should know how long you must go. More than the distance, you must cover a certain duration to give time to your body to start losing calories. Because, many times you may notice that even after going a certain distance, you are not perspiring. This is why you need to invest a certain amount of time.
Ideally, you should ride at least 20 to 30 km a day to lose a considerable amount of weight and burn calories. You should ride for at least an hour without big halts to start losing weight and burn fat. Make sure that you don’t ride slow. When you intend to lose weight, you have to put effort into your body. Try to keep up your optimum pace and go up a bit to burn fat.
Therefore, riding 20 to 30 km a day would suffice if you want to burn calories and lose weight.
How Do Long Cycle Rides Benefit Your Body?
If you regularly cycle for an hour, it would benefit your body. 1 hour of cycling is quite a long ride, and throughout the time, your body moves. And it is a good way to stay physically fit, and mentally cool, and relaxed.
The benefits that long cycle riders provide to your body are:
- Long cycle rides increase your metabolism making you more active and energetic.
- It improves your digestive system as your organs function better.
- It keeps your heart in a good condition as blood circulation increases and you inhale more oxygen.
- Your lung activity improves and the whole cardiovascular system functions better.
- Long cycle rides help you burn fat and lose weight if you do it regularly.
- Long cycle rides would increase your stamina, strengthen your bones, and flex your muscles.
- It helps you release tension and stress keeping you mentally sound and calm.
These are the main benefits that long cycle rides offer. The overall body function improves due to long cycle rides. As a result, you stay physically fit and mentally sound.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Long Cycle Rides?
There is no citable disadvantage of long cycle rides. It is most beneficial and enjoyable. Setting off to explore new places, or riding to lose weight both are amazing experiences and can benefit you mentally and physically.
However, if you are new to this, you may get sore, pain, and numbness in various parts of your body. Long rides require stamina and practice. Otherwise, you will feel sick and tired. So, if you are a beginner, you should go slow to avoid the unfavorable consequences. Also, you should stay hydrated, exercise regularly, change position, and maintain the optimum pace to avoid the disadvantages.
Therefore, there is no disadvantage of cycling long distances if you are used to it. If you are not, it may not be a good idea to set off for a long ride. Prepare yourself, and then go for it.
Cycling a long distance can be blissful and relaxing if you know the tactics to keep yourself energetic and enthusiastic. And now that you know the best tips and preparations for a long cycle ride, it is your turn to try it out and experience the best.
What are you waiting for? Get ready, and set off today for a soul-cleansing long cycle ride.
You may also want to read:
How To Wear Bicycle Helmet?
How To Plan A Cycling Route?
How To Track Cycling On iPhone?
How To Do Cycling Without Cycle?
How To Adjust Bicycle Helmet Straps?
How To Clean A Bicycle?
Bicycle Helmet: Know Before You Go