Four tips on attending a Cycling Event

Cycling events are those charitable rides, at various towns, around the area you live at. Sometimes you can ride your bike over there and sometimes you have to haul your gear in a vehicle. If you are like me, you tend to wait till the last-minute to get ready for a cycling event. Usually you forget something and do not realize it until you have reached your destination. Once, I forgot my wallet and I didn’t realize it until I was there. After attending many cycling events, I have come up with a checklist to follow to make sure everything is in order and not let chaos rule.

Tune up your bike at least two days before the event. Make sure the drive train is clean and lubricated, brakes are in working order, seat height or position is correct and pedals in good working order. I say at least two days prior an event because that gives you at least a day to go out riding and make sure all the adjustments are correct and the gear is functioning.

The day before of the event, make sure to start your carbo loading. Instead of one big meal for dinner, I like to break it up into smaller meals for lunch and dinner to avoid that over stuffed feeling. That’s just my personal preference. If you are driving to the event, then I suggest to pack you vehicle with all the gear you will need; helmet, gloves, water bottles or Camelback, flat repair gear, change of clothes and in my case, my bike. I have a hatchback, so I can toss my bike in the back of the car and lock it. Get all of your cycling clothes and have it ready to put on in the morning. Finally, go to bed early and get plenty of sleep.

On the day of the event you will need to eat at least an hour before the ride. Make sure you get up early enough to hit the bathroom and take care of business. Many times you will get to the event and the first thing you want to do is find that bathroom. Go. Go. Go! Some events do not have port-a-potty’s and you will be hard-pressed to hold it for the duration of the ride. The other reason to get up early is to make sure you have enough time to wake up and not rush to your destination. You need time to eat, change into your cycling clothes, brush teeth, etc. Attending the event in a relaxed state of mind is a lot better than showing up late all tensed up and in a rush.

When you get there, pick up your packet. If you are paying, at that time, be sure to have cash. More than likely credit cards are not accepted and who writes checks these days? Cash is king at these events. Before the ride, take the time to stretch your legs to warm up and be ready for pedaling. Maybe take a spin around the parking lot to loosen up. Don’t forget to socialize with other riders as you might find someone you can ride with. Be sure to look at the route and be familiar with it. Also, take a copy of the route in case you get lost. Sometimes the route is not marked very well and you may miss a turn and having a map of the route will save a lot of time and confusion.

Another tip, don’t try anything new like a new power bar, sports drink or new shoes. This is not the time to try something new as more than likely it will either fail, or make you uncomfortable. Take with you what you know works. The last thing you want to do is fiddle with something while cycling. It will just ruin the experience and make the ride miserable or worse cause you to wipe out because you was not paying attention to riding.

My last piece of advise, if you use your cell phone as an alarm, and many of us do, pay attention to the time and DATE of the alarm. You don’t want to miss the event because you didn’t set the alarm to the correct date!

Let’s recap:

  1. Tune up bike at least two days prior to the event.
    • Make sure everything works.
  2. On the day before
    • Carbo load your meals
    • Pack your gear in the car
    • Layout cycling clothes
    • Set alarm
    • Go to bed early
  3. Day of ride
    • Get up early
    • Eat and drink water
    • Go to bathroom often
    • Don’t forget wallet
    • Take cash
  4. At event
    • Pick up packet
    • Take a copy of the route
    • Stretch
    • Socialize
    • Have fun

There you have it. A simple list of things to do broken down to four steps. Hopefully, you will have an enjoyable time cycling the event. Do forget to thank the organizers as they work hard to put on the event.

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