David from Dirty Weekend has given us his Top 5 beginner training tips.
Cycling the 54 miles from London to Brighton is a brilliant, challenging and completely rewarding day out on the bike. For a beginner rider, those 54 miles can seem a little daunting and for some almost impossible. But nothing is impossible, with a little bit of training, some handy tips and the right mindset, you can (and will) cycle from London to Brighton!
Ride your bike. As much as you can – Practice makes perfect!
Sounds way too simple to be true, but the best way to get better at riding your bike, is to ride your bike! This definitely applies to getting out at the weekend for as long a ride as you can (ideally over 2 hours), but it also applies to commuting and riding to the shops. If your commute to work is 5 miles each way, then that equates to 50 miles a week Monday to Friday. That’s basically the ride distance every week. And don’t let anyone tell you these miles don’t count; they definitely do! Whilst you don’t necessarily need to set yourself a target of hours ridden per week, the more you ride in the run up to the event the better you’ll feel on the day. Just be careful not to go too hard too early on, you don’t want to over-train, make sure you do rest up. If you miss a ride, that’s fine as well – life gets in the way! Just make up for it next week. Don’t stress, remember it’s meant to be fun!
Whilst you don’t necessarily need to set yourself a target of hours ridden per week, the more you ride in the run up to the event the better you’ll feel on the day. Just be careful not to go too hard too early on, you don’t want to over-train, make sure you do rest up. If you miss a ride, that’s fine as well – life gets in the way! Just make up for it next week. Don’t stress, remember it’s meant to be fun!
Join a group or club
By far and away the easiest and quickest way to improve your fitness, bike handling and enjoyment is by riding with other people. There are so many positives from group riding to improve and encourage not only your training, but your confidence. It will also keep you safer and happier on the day. Riding with thousands of other people during the event will be a lot easier if you’ve been riding with other people in your training.
You’ll also learn new things from the other members of the group and make some friends along the way – you never know you could end up creating a team for London to Brighton Bike Ride!
Practise with your kit/nutrition
There is an age old saying that goes ‘never change anything on ride day’ and it is incredibly true for an event like the London to Brighton Bike Ride. This applies to kit and nutrition. Practise in the kit you’re going to use on the day, ride in the clip-ons/trainers and make sure you feel comfortable. If you want to represent BHF on the day you can even buy merchandise beforehand so you can get practising in your T shirt first! The same applies to your food, if you’ve been having porridge before your training than stick with porridge, you know it works for you and will keep you going!
Look after your bike
This is one of the easier tips to stick to and can really optimise your performance. The best news is you don’t actually have to do that much! Just regularly cleaning your bike to keep it in top tip shape and you’ll ride your bike proudly. It’s also important to shelter it from any outside elements, if you don’t have a garage or shed, make sure you invest in a good cover, so you can tuck them up safely each night.
Another great tip is to take your bike in for a service around two weeks before the event. They will identify any possible major mechanicals and fix them, and also tune your baby up to be ready for the big day.
Enjoy the ride!
The only extra piece of advice I can give is to enjoy, from your first ride to the final train. It’s important to enjoy it along the ride leading up to the day as well as the day itself. You’ve set yourself a goal; you’re raising much needed money for the British Heart Foundation and along the way you’re getting fitter and healthier.