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PLAN TO PERFECTION! How to plan your rides for better days in the saddle!

The weather is improving, the days are lengthening, it’s time for some adventures, right? 

Spring makes for a great time to dust off the cobwebs and go exploring with some big days in the saddle. But before you roll out on an epic adventure, make sure you’re well prepared!

A little bit of careful planning can make all the difference between an unforgettable ride and a ride you’d rather forget.

So read on for our top tips to help you plan your ride to perfection: 

Route

First things first, where are you going? Designing a route that suits your fitness level and desire for adventure is key.

Using apps such as Strava, Komoot or MapMyRide allows you to find out everything you could wish to know about an area you’re planning to visit.

Many of these apps will help you to discover if the track you’re plotting is paved or off-road, how many times the section of road or path has been ridden, and of course, how hilly it is.

If you’re planning on a mammoth ride that could push your limits, be sure to plan a route that can either easily be cut short or which passes train stations. You never know what may happen on the day, whether it be regarding how you feel on the day or anything that may happen as you pedal. So having an emergency ‘Plan B’ is always wise.

Equipment

Clothing:
A quick check of the weather forecast before you get into the saddle can be the difference between a cold, wet slog and a perfect ride!

On any really long day out, we always suggest you carry a thin lightweight rain jacket just in case.

For rides in spring, layering is key. It’s still chilly early in the morning but warm at noon, so a lightweight jacket or a gilet and arm warmers are great options. These items allow you to start your ride toasty and bundled up, but can be easily removed later in the day.

Tools
The two main things to consider are flat tyres and slipped bolts.

For flat tyres, you always need to have a backup solution for if you have a puncture, whether you ride tubeless or tubed tyres.

For traditional tyres with inner tubes, you’re going to need Tyre Levers, a spare inner tube, and either a CO2 Inflator or Bike Pump. It’s also worth carrying a Patch Kit to repair a tube with a hole in it – they’re tiny little packages and could save you a taxi home!

For tubeless tyres, there can be times that the sealant fails to plug a hole. In that case, our Tubeless Tyre Repair Kit is the perfect answer for quickly plugging a leak. The kit is supplied in a neat little case and takes up little room in your pocket or backpack, so don’t forget it!

For slipped bolts, a Multi Tool is the perfect solution. We sell an 8-in-1 and a 17-in-1 Multi Tool: both are lightweight and slim, so stash one away in your pocket and you won’t even know it’s there!

Nutrition

For a ride of over two hours, you’ll need to take some snacks with you or have a plan for where you can stop to get some.

There’s only so much carbohydrate – the main source of fuel for our muscles – that our body can store at any one point, and that will start to run low after around two hours. Eating during your big day out will keep your tank topped up and keep you full of energy to enjoy the ride.

The recommended rule of thumb is to take on 40-70 grams of carbohydrate per hour for a longer ride. Don’t worry, you don’t need to get your weighing scales out and start inspecting the packets of your flapjacks. As an approximate guide, a banana is around 20 grams of carbohydrate, an energy drink, bar, gel or standard size flapjack is around 30-40 grams, and a cake from the cafe is likely to be over 60 grams.

So when you’re planning your ride, make sure you head out with an adequate stash of treats appropriate to how long you’re riding, or better still, plan a coffee and cake stop!

Similarly, make sure you start off with plenty of liquid. It’s advised to drink around 500ml (18oz) per hour, and maybe more if it’s hot. The easiest way to think about this is one PRO BIKE TOOL bottle per hour. Our Insulated Water Bottles hold 680ml (24oz) each and keep the fluid cold, so they’re your best buddy on long rides!

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