Los Altos Hills, CA
- Sequoia 100/101mi
- Sequoia 72/72mi
- Sequoia 59/59mi
- Sequoia 44/44mi
Here are the top five things to know about long distance riding that I’ve discovered in my riding. These are things I personally learned about long distance riding, that are helpful to the beginner. Going on century rides takes some preparation in advance, but the feeling of accomplishment is very rewarding!
Long distance bike riding isn’t something you just jump on your bike and do without some training. Before you attempt a metric century, or century ride, do some shorter rides first. Try 10 or 15 miles, and see how it goes. If everything is fine, then you can gradually increase the mileage.
You need to put time in the saddle to get your rear end in shape. Okay, if you overdo it on the hills, maybe your legs. If you’re used to doing half hour rides, unless you do them every day, a six hour ride is going to hurt. Also, your neck and your back are going to get very tired. It really makes a long ride more enjoyable, if you work up to it.
This is very important. Even if you aren’t feeling thirsty, force yourself to take a drink at least every 20 minutes or so. If it’s a hot ride, even more often. If you’re getting dehydrated, the first thing you may notice is leg cramping… believe me, I’ve been there. Carry a couple of large water bottles or a camelBak, and use electrolyte powder or tablets in them.
When you are on a long ride and you’re tired, and the SAG wagon rolls around to see how you’re doing, it’s very tempting to bag it and take the ride. Don’t do it ( unless you are really feeling ill)!!! You will regret it immensely after the ride is finished. Slow down your pace if necessary, but keep going. You’ll be glad you did.
Breakfast before a long ride is not the time to eat a high protein meal. It will feel like it’s just sitting in your stomach. You need the carbohydrates to supply you with quick energy, and I even recommend eating a high card meal the night before the ride. Long well organized rides will have stops along the route where you can take a breather, refill your water bottles, and get some high carb snacks. Don’t skip these stops!! Take advantage of the food; if you feel yourself getting hungry on the ride, it’s too late. You’re already energy depleted. Eat something as soon as you can, and take it easy for awhile.
Now that you know a little more about long rides, and are fired up to try them out, check out some of the upcoming rides!
Q: “I bought a new bike that came equipped with two big sprockets in the front (chainrings), and nine gears (cogs or sprockets) in the back. Okay, so what does that mean to me?”
“How to identify and shift derailleur gears” is a common and important question for new cyclists, so I decided to write a post about it.
Let’s start with the basics:
The Number Of Gears On Your Bike
Since you have 2 chainrings and nine cogs (sprockets), there are a total of 18 selectable gears on your bike. If you had 3 chainrings, you would have a total of 27 gears!
For each chainring, every time you shift to a different cog in the rear, you select a different gear.
As you go from a smaller cog to a larger cog, you are selecting a lower gear.
The lower the gear, the easier it is to pedal, and the easier it is to go uphill; that said, the lower the gear, the faster you have to pedal to maintain the same speed.
The bike’s lowest gear is engaged when the innermost (smallest), chainring is selected in conjunction with the innermost (largest) cog in the rear.
To find out which gear is your middle gear, you need to do some calculation.This isn’t usually necessary, unless you absolutely want to know. Otherwise, good approximations are made:
I f you really want to know, you need to count the number of teeth on each sprocket, front and rear. Then calculate your lowest gear ratio by dividing the number of teeth on the inner chainring by the number of teeth on the largest rear cog. For example, if your inner chainring has 40 teeth, and your largest rear cog has 21 teeth, then your gear would be
40 teeth/21 teeth = 1.90.
Next calculate your highest gear, which is the combination of your outer (largest) chainring and your outermost (smallest) rear cog. If your outer chainring has 52 teeth, ant your outermost cog has 11 teeth, your highest gear is 52 teeth/11 teeth = 4.73.
Your middle gear would then be the difference of those two numbers, or 3.35. If you calculate all of your gear ratios, you can see which gear comes closest to the 3.35 number.
But as I said, most people don’t want to get that detailed. So how do you shift gears, anyway?
There are different style shifters, so it would be good to have someone explain to you what style you have. Regardless of the style, the shifter on the left side of your bike is for the front derailleur, which shifts between chainrings. And conversely, the shifter on the right side of your bike is for the rear derailleur, which shifts the chain from one rear cog to another.
To shift, you need to be pedaling! The chain needs to be moving to actually shift from one cog to another, as it is being physically pushed to the side. If it isn’t moving, it can’t ride up onto a larger cog, or down onto a smaller one.
Also, plan ahead when you are going to need to shift. It’s easier to shift when the road is relatively flat; if you are going up a steep hill and have to shift, it’s harder for the chain to change cogs because of the high tension on the chain.
Shifting just takes a little practice. Modern derailleur shifters are indexed, meaning they click when you shift gears. Older shifters, like on my first “ten speed”, relied on friction to maintain their position, and there was no clicking into gear; consequently, shifting form one gear to the next took more learning.
Riding on city streets, or any streets that have cars parked on the side of the road, takes extra vigilance. If possible, avoid these streets if you can; even if it means riding a little further. Choose streets with bike lanes!
A car door can cause real havoc to a bicycle rider. There are some thing you should do to keep from getting “doored”:
1. Keep your eyes open! Stay alert, and look for motion inside parked cars. If you see there is someone in the car, give it a wide berth, at least 4 feet.
2. Ride with your hands on the brakes, not on the handlebars. It takes extra seconds to move your hands, and that time could be crucial.
3. Check the tail lights and backup lights on vehicles. If they’re on, you know someone is in the car, and may be about to fling the door open.
4. If there is a bike lane between parked cars and the traffic lane, ride more to the traffic lane side; if there is a lot of fast moving traffic though, use good judgement.
5. Use a bike mirror to keep tabs on what is coming up behind you; if nothing is there, you will be able swing out at the last moment safely if you need to.
IF YOU DO GET DOORED:
Take pictures of the scene, and try to get a statement from the vehicle operator along with their information. You were involved in a vehicle accident; they’re required by law to do that. Also details are necessary to keep your insurance company from declining a claim.