The Pedaling Journey : How to Prepare for a Long Distance Bike Ride

The open road is calling. Bike trails are awaiting and the bustling city life has you aching for adventure on the open road.

A bike expedition is an exciting prospect, but preparing adequately is crucial to keeping your trip fun, healthy, and rewarding. A lack of preparation can leave you stressed, broke, and even injured.

So whether you’re participating in a marathon, going mountain biking, or going camping and hitting the trails, make sure to prep your mind, body, bike and spirit.

Preparing your body

Start researching to get an idea of your trip’s physical demands. Be conscious of how those demands compare to your regular training regimen. Perhaps you’re looking to make your first 100-mile trip, or pedal across state lines, or even across the country. Whatever challenge awaits you, there are a few general tips to consider.

  • Consider the terrain. Hilly or flat? Are you going through back roads, trails? Get acquainted with maps of the area.
  • Train Smarter. Depending on distance, it’s not about going all out the week before you leave. Instead, consider specifics of the ride and work to achieve gains and hit targets without over-training.
  • Recover. Give yourself adequate recovery time before you pack up your stuff.
  • Fuel up. Make sure you consider hydration and nutritional needs. Your body requires vast amounts of energy to keep up the work. According to Cycling Weekly, “you need to start your ride with full glycogen stores.” This means plenty of carbohydrates, like spaghetti, the night before. Make sure you carry plenty of water or electrolytes.

Prepping Bike & Gear

It’s always a good idea to learn the basics of bike fitting, so as not to cause injury or unnecessary pain. Figure out the type of bike you need or will be taking on your trip: mountain bike, road bike, or hybrid. You want to ensure that your bike is fitted for your current ability and that it doesn’t cause strain on your back or knees.

  • Fine tuning. Make light adjustments to the bike saddle height to increase comfort. A saddle that isn’t measured correctly can mean a lot of wasted energy or even injury.
  • Bike frame height. Wear your bike shoes before fitting your bike for more accuracy. You should be able to straddle with your feet on the floor.
  • Learn basic bike repair and carry necessary tools like a pump and spare tire & tubes.

Prepping the Spirit and Home

Now that your body and bike are ready, prepare your spirit by embracing the possibilities ahead. Give yourself peace of mind and secure your home before your long absence. This might eliminate unnecessary anxiety on your trip, for you’re sure to have plenty surprises along the way. The New York Times reported it’s not just about someone breaking into your house; the list of what can go wrong in an unsupervised property includes other risks. Make your house look occupied so as not to attract unwanted attention. For example, leave on a few lights as security measures and if possible on various timers. Lock all doors and windows, have a neighbor pick up your newspaper every morning, trim your grass before you go, and disconnect certain appliances.

And finally, be confident in the work you’ve done and enjoy the adventure ahead. There is nothing more satisfying that reaching a new goal, covering new terrain, or challenging yourself with bigger and longer bike trails. There is work in preparation, but the rewards are endless.

Photo via Pixabay.

About Ventura Bike Depot

The Ventura Bike Depot has bicycles of all types for riders of all ages. Come and see us at 239 West Main Street in Ventura, CA or check us out online at