When getting into biking, a lot of newbie bikers face challenges during long distance biking. It is much different than regular biking, and there are different factors that you must consider.
In fact, a lot of beginner bikers give up early, thinking that they aren’t cut out for this. However, this is mainly a matter of endurance, which grows with time and practice.
In this article, we’ll discuss all the different aspects of long distance biking for beginners. So, let’s get right into it.
How Long Is a Long Distance Bike Ride?
Usually, a regular biker considers a 64-97km bike ride to be a long-distance ride. However, being a long-distance bike rider doesn’t necessarily imply that you’ll have to maintain this range every day.
In fact, most bikers create a schedule for themselves. They schedule in an orderly manner so that they can ride slowly build up their endurance with each day, starting with small distance rides and gradually increasing the distance.
When they hit their limit, they again ride a very tiny distance the next day to let their muscles rest.
For example, a biker may start his first day with a 10 km ride, which will gradually increase to a 70km ride on the 10th day. If the rider feels like hitting his limit, he can take a 10-20km ride on the 11th day, allowing his muscles to recuperate.
This is how you can cycle long distances without being tired.
Long Distance Bike Ride Essentials
It’s important to go in prepared when going for long-distance bike rides. Most beginners fail to complete their first long-distance rides because of insufficient preparation, due to which they get demotivated.
If you go through this section, you’ll know every factor that you must consider for preparing well for your first long-distance bike ride.
Lightweight Road Bike
One of the major things that you may want to cut down as much as possible during a long distance bike ride is weight. Here, many beginners try cutting the weight by decreasing the amount of water and food they would carry, which is the wrong approach.
Instead, opt for a lightweight road bike. Lightweight road bikes are much more sensible as they’ll allow you to carry more food and drinks. As you’ll be consuming these over time anyway, you’ll be left with almost no weight around the end phase of your trip.
We highly recommend carbon fiber bikes as these are some of the lightest and easily maneuverable road bikes available right now.
Not every region may require you to wear a helmet as per law, but we still recommend doing so due to safety purposes. Often, bikers lose grasp over their consciousness during long distance rides, and accidents frequently occur in these cases.
If you’re equipped with the right safety gears, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of damage taken to a great deal. This is why it’s important to wear a quality helmet during long distance rides.
Make sure to carry a repair kit while going on a long distance bike trip. You never know when a strap or nut will come off of your accessories or bike. In such cases, only a good repair kit can help you through.
Other than the repair kit, take your first aid kit along as well. In case of mild accidents, first aid kits will help you minimize the consequences of damage to a great extent.
Clothing and Kits
Last but definitely not least, wearing the right clothing can have a great impact on your biking experience. The type of clothing you’ll be wearing depends greatly on your surroundings.
If you’re going to bike in summer, it’s recommended that you wear light clothes with a lot of ventilation, so the sweat doesn’t stick to your body. In the case of winter, relatively heavier clothes and additional accessories like a balaclava may be appropriate.
We also recommend wearing sunglasses even if it isn’t too sunny. A pair of these can help you keep bugs and dust out of your eyes easily.
How to Plan Long Distance Biking for Beginners
One of the crucial steps of long distance biking is planning. This step is especially challenging for beginners because it’s not possible to perfect this in the first attempt. Rather, the experience you gather over time will help you fine-tune this.
When you are planning the trip, at first, it’s important to set the distance you’ll be traveling, the routes you’ll be taking, and what you will be carrying with you. To ensure a smooth experience, make sure to set a speed for yourself. You may choose to bike different routes at different speeds too.
Focusing on a single day isn’t enough to ensure good results. You’ll also need to plan the future days ahead. As we’ve said earlier, start small and gradually increase the distance. Once you hit a distance that exhausts you completely, tone down to a small distance again.
This is a great way of having a great long-distance riding experience without suffering from internal injuries, and it also helps in building up your endurance.
Great Aussie Bike Rides
Bikers from Australia are considered as one of the luckier ones, as they have a ton of scenic routes to choose from. If you want to escape to a route overlooking Palm beach, surrounded by flora, try Akuna Bay and West Head loop.
If off-road biking is your thing, you can always try Simpson Gap bike path. Looking for some real challenge? Try the 71.6 km one-way Barry Way that winds into the Australian Alps.
Tracking Apps You Should Know About
The last thing you’d want is to get lost amidst the vast wilderness. This is why we highly recommend resorting to a tracking app. Thankfully, there are a lot of options to choose from, and they offer a wide variety too.
You can always use Google Fit, which is Google’s fitness tracker. This one will not only track your location, but it’ll also track your route, speed, average speed, and calorie burned.
There’s also ViewRanger. This one’s curated for the adventurous bikers out there. Unlike Google Fit, it’ll show you the routes that you’ve traveled to and the ones you haven’t, making it perfect for explorers.
We also recommend the Runtastic Road bike tracker. This android app can display average speed; distance traveled, elevation, and much more if paired with a fitness watch.
What to Eat When Cycling Long Distance?
A common mistake beginners tend to make is ignoring food items while going on a long ride. In this section, we’ll discuss what food items you must carry on a long-distance bike ride and why.
The first and foremost thing that you’d want to carry during a long bike ride is water, and that too, a lot of it. Not carrying sufficient water, fearing it may increase the overall weight, is a common beginner’s mistake.
You’ll be consuming most of the water over time anyway, so you won’t have to take the pain of carrying heavy weight throughout the time. Moreover, keeping yourself hydrated is very important, or you won’t be able to keep cycling long distances.
Carrying some dry snacks is important during a long ride, but it’s also recommended that you don’t go overboard with it. For example, chips and biscuits won’t do you any good. Rather, some dry fruits and nuts will replenish energy without filling you up.
What Type of Bicycle Is Best for Long Distance?
There are a ton of different options to choose from while picking a bike type. However, for long-distance riding, we can easily narrow the seemingly long list down to three picks. Let’s take a look at them.
Touring bikes are immensely popular nowadays, thanks to their efficiency and speed on the road. What makes them special is that they offer a similar robust build as mountain bikes, but they aren’t nearly as heavy.
Hybrid bikes are similar to touring bikes in the sense that they both have the same wheel size. However, hybrid bikes offer drop bars instead of straight ones, and they have both front and seat suspension. If you prioritize comfort over performance, you can’t go wrong with these.
Finally, we have mountain bikes. Although they aren’t very smooth on smooth roads, they are the best choice for traversing rocky roads.
Long distance biking for beginners can be a tough feat at first. However, you’ll get used to it over time, and the key to ensuring that is enthusiasm and reality check. You can’t expect to bike 90km on your first day. In fact, even a professional cyclist can’t do that. Instead, you need to start slow and build your endurance over time.