On 26 September hundreds of cyclists will join the fight against coronary heart disease and take part in our Manchester to Blackpool Night Ride. The 52 mile route will take riders through the night from the city to the bright lights of Blackpool’s sea front.
With less than a month to go until the big night, Team GB cyclist and BHF supporter, Andy Tennant, shares his top tips for preparing for the ride and some key things to remember when cycling at night.
1. Practice makes perfect
This event is a challenging ride and you'll need to have a good level of fitness to take part. Make sure you get out on your bike ahead of the ride and start increasing your distance as part of your training. You can plan your training using the BHF training zone
2. Accidents can happen
To keep injury free while you're training for a cycling event, you'll need to be patient and build up your training gradually to avoid injury.
The golden rules of exercise are:
- start gently
- build up gradually
- do it regularly
Always get specialist advice as soon as possible if you are at all unsure about any pain
3. Check your bike is ride-ready
Your bike needs to be just as ready as you are. Make sure you check your tyres and brakes ahead of the ride, and remember to have a repair kit with you for the day in case of any punctures.
The BHF are the largest funder of independent heart research
in the UK. They are fighting to put an end to heart disease. By committing to this ride you will be helping their researchers make more discoveries and keep more hearts beating.
Make sure to ask people to sponsor you for this challenge
. It really will push you on in those last few miles to reach the finish line knowing that with every pedal you are helping the BHF continue their life saving research.
5. Shine bright
Get your lights right. If you are riding on public roads in the dark you’re legally obliged to have lights and reflectors. You’ll need a white light with 110 degree visibility at the front of your bike and a red light and reflector at the back. Amber reflectors are needed on the front and back of your pedals too.
6. Glow in the dark
Don’t rely on the basic requirements of visibility – go to town. High visibility clothing is a great way to be seen. Reflective clothing on moving body parts work the best; team a reflective vest or backpack cover with trouser bands and wrist bands.
7. Protect your assets
Padded shorts are a no brainer for me. The Manchester to Blackpool Night Ride is 52 miles going over some bumpy roads – you want to be prepared.
8. Midnight snack
Throughout the ride, make sure to keep eating to keep your energy levels up. Whilst there will be food and drink at refreshment stops along the route, it’s a good idea to also carry foods with you that you can easily nibble on such as cereal bar, gels, bananas and energy drinks etc.
9. Keep hydrated
Keeping well hydrated is important when you are on the ride. Make sure you carry some water on you, drinking little and often is the best way.
You should also have fluid that includes some carbohydrate and electrolytes. Commercial isotonic sports drinks include 5 to 7% of carbohydrate, but you can also make your own – mix 200ml concentrated orange squash with 1000ml of water and a pinch of salt (1g).
10. Have Fun
And last but by no means least, enjoy the ride. By encouraging your friends and family to sponsor you to take on this challenge, you will be funding the BHF’s vital medical research into heart disease.