How to: Road Cycling #4
Your first ride is imminent, whether alone or with friends, here are the tips you need to complete it accident-free and in a good mood.
Familiarize yourself with your clipless pedals
First of all, you should familiarize yourself with the clipless pedals and no, it makes no sense to put it off: find a fence, get on your bike and click yourself in and out several times while the bike is stationary. This way you will get to know the mechanism of the clipless pedals in peace. Basically, you always have one foot clicked in and while driving you only have to click one foot out, for example to stop and stand at traffic lights.
You click in by pointing your forefoot slightly towards the ground and then pushing your heel down. You click it out by turning your heel outwards and then pulling your foot along: You can also find the information shown in the instructions for your cleats.
It is important that you get off the pedal quickly and easily with your standing leg. If you don’t care if it’s your right leg, that way your leg doesn’t get oil marks from the chain when standing/leaning. (Unfortunately, I got used to it “wrongly”)
If you can click out well while standing at the fence, try driving a few meters along the fence and click in and out – if you have problems here you can always brake and hold on to the fence.
If that works well, find a long, straight road with no traffic (a parking lot works great on Sundays, too!) and ride your bike, clicking in and out again and again so that you get a good feel for it while riding. In the beginning it still makes sense to remind yourself at each traffic light that you click out or that an accompaniment gives the hint. By the way, don’t stress if it doesn’t work right away when you click in! The pedals can also be pedaled without being clicked in and, as soon as you feel safe, you can lift your foot while riding and click in again.
What do you need to take with you on the first exit?
Your very first tour should not be in the three-digit range, but rather 20-50km – nevertheless it makes sense to get into the “packing routine”: At least a water bottlea two bars or gels (there is a huge selection here and preferences are very individual! I like the fruit bars from Alnatura and usually have a gel from PowerBar with me). mobile, handkerchiefssomething Cash and key: Everything fits in the back pocket of your jersey. If you are on a shorter tour, you can also put your equipment in the second bottle. The same applies if you decide to take a spare tube, tire lever and mini pump with you in case of a breakdown. But everything also fits in the jersey or can be attached to the bike.
If you get a flat tire (this has happened to me only once) you need don’t be afraid to switch have: With a lot of luck, one of your passengers is practiced, someone stops or you simply watch a YouTube video and follow him step by step. Worked wonderfully for me! 🙂
By the way you can Avoid plates, by paying attention, avoiding shards and potholes and rolling slowly over curbs or lifting the tire (this is more advanced). Also make sure not to pump more than the recommended bar into the tires, even a little less when it’s hot (and for safety reasons also when it’s wet) so that the air in the tire can still expand and the tube doesn’t burst.
How do I plan bike tours?
It can be good to just drive off, but it doesn’t have to be: In order not to stand in front of gravel paths or dead ends, it definitely makes sense to plan your route in advance. If you have a bike computer, you can easily pull over the most popular tours in your area via Strava or Komoot within seconds or plan them yourself. If you don’t (yet) have a bike computer, you can of course also ride with a mobile phone navigation system (there are relatively cheap holders for the handlebars here) or write down the turning points with kilometer information on a piece of paper and attach it to the bike.
Per tip: Never follow the signs for cycle paths: There is a very high probability that they will eventually turn into gravel roads. Rather follow other racing cyclists who know where to go 😉
The Weather the best way to check is via the Epic Ride Weather apartment
What do I eat before a bike ride?
As with all endurance sports, the carbohydrate stores should be filled and the water balance should be optimal before a longer activity. Four or more hours before training, long-chain carbohydrates (legumes or whole grain products in combination with fruit or vegetables) make sense, if you can only manage to eat shortly before, rely on short-chain carbohydrates (white bread with jam, oatmeal with yoghurt and banana…) and mineral water .
How do I behave during the tour?
This also applies to cyclists traffic regulations and thoughtfulness to all other road users should be self-evident. Driving next to each other on the street is not a problem – as long as no car behind you has to brake because of it. Cycle paths are there for bikes – most of them are well developed and can also be used with racing bikes without any problems. Showing the turn with hand signals and allowing wild overtaking maneuvers can save lives – mainly yours 😉
If you see another cyclist in distress (breakdown, accident…) it should be natural to stop and offer help – unless you are alone and/or uncomfortable. Be sure to trust your instincts here! You can also call an ambulance or the police from the next town or junction.
Power distribution while driving
As with running, it makes sense to differentiate between basic endurance and intervals. However, before you work on your speed, you should work on your endurance. So first plan tours that will strengthen your stamina and endurance. Once you’ve completed your first 100km tours, intervals (e.g. 10x 30 seconds all out in high gear) make sense. On your first tours you should ensure an even cadence (approx. 80-90 revolutions / minute) and early shifting. A little tip: Most beginners start with a low cadence in a gear that is too high. In order to save energy, it definitely makes sense to shift down one or two gears and to shift down in good time before an incline. Incidentally, the cadence should remain the same uphill, getting out of the saddle only makes sense on a gradient of 15% or for short sprints (e.g. to get back in touch with the troops). If you find it difficult to maintain the frequency even in the lowest gear, you should consider installing a smaller chain set or a wide cassette (in your trusted bike shop).
Riding a road bike is similar to driving a car: Before the curve, don’t brake in the curve, hold the line, focus on the goal with your eyes and only pedal again when you come out of the curve. During the turn, the outside leg should be straight and the inside leg bent (pedal as high as possible) to prevent the pedal from dragging on the floor.
Ride in a group
Road cycling is a team sport and is much more fun in a group than riding alone. However, there are a few things to consider, especially if you are traveling together. As mentioned above, consideration for other road users is a matter of course and you should only drive side by side if you do not disturb other road users. If you feel safe on the bike, you can deal with the topic of slipstreaming: This technique can save around 30% of the effort, but it requires maximum concentration. Slipstreaming means riding wheel to wheel with the person in front, which on the one hand requires trust in the passengers but also a certain knowledge: Sources of danger, slowing down or changes in direction are indicated via hand signals and passed on to the person behind. If you are careless here, it can quickly lead to a pile-up and should be avoided at all costs!