Last Minute Tips and Prep for RideLondon
July 12th 2019
For the seventh year in a row, Prudential RideLondon is right around the corner on 3-4 August! The event, hailed as the world's greatest festival of cycling, is comprised of multiple closed-road activities, all of which raise money for charity (the event has raised more than £66 million since 2013).
RideLondon brings thousands of cycle enthusiasts together for a great cause and memorable celebration that encourages more healthy and active travel for people of all ages. Whether you plan to enjoy a leisurely ride with your family or are amongst the professionals racing to the top, we have some last-minute tips to ensure your RideLondon experience is the best it can be this year.
RideLondon Tip: Don’t Overdo the Training!
Our first tip is to get out and ride! RideLondon offers a range of options, including a 100-mile route that follows the professional cyclist course, a 46-mile sportive for new or younger riders, and, for the second row in a year, a family-friendly 19-mile ride, which is free for participants aged 12 to 15. If you have time, try to get at least one long ride in before your race. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 60 to 70 percent of your final race mileage. So, if you're taking part in the 100-mile ride, aim for 60 to 70 miles for your long ride leading up to RideLondon. If you're already riding long distances, try to increase your rides 10 percent each week leading up to the event.
Another important training tip is to not overdo it! While it’s important to be prepared, too much training can have a negative effect on your health and your race-day performance. RideLondon shares some advice to avoid overtraining, including a few signs to look for, like fatigue associated with irritability, poor sleep or a drop in performance. Leave yourself a few days for recovery between your long training ride and the race.
Another training tip is to train in a group. If you’re not used to racing, cycling groups can help you get comfortable riding with others before RideLondon. And for experienced racers, training in a group can help you set your pace and train that much harder. RideLondon shares its top ten reasons to join a cycling club, including the knowledge you’ll gain from meeting experienced riders, motivation, safety, learning new routes and, of course, fun! Riding with a group is an enjoyable social activity – in fact, we hear that the Sunday club riders often stop for coffee and cake before or after their ride. More than 1,500 cycle clubs exist in the UK, so you should have no problem finding one at the right level and location.
RideLondon Tip: I’m ready, but is my bike?
Our second tip is to make sure your bike is in tip-top shape for the race. A well-maintained bike will make your ride smoother and safer for yourself and all other participants. Learning how to do basic cycle maintenance can also save you time and money down the road.
Here’s the four basic items we suggest you check before RideLondon:
Brakes: Are your brakes in good working order? Are they free from damage or signs of warping? Squeeze your brake levers to check for proper contact with your rims and make sure the parts are clean and grease-free. If your bike has disc brakes, check the fluid in the hydraulic lines – if it’s cloudy, take your bike in to get the lines flushed and filled.
Tyres: Make sure your tyres have plenty of tread material and that no debris is embedded in the rubber. If your tyres are worn, consider getting new ones for the race, but be sure to build in time for a few rides on your new tyres. Another important tip is to check your tyre pressure. Properly-filled tyres will help you navigate the bumpy roads of the RideLondon course. If you’re not familiar, any local bike shop can help you with this, usually for free.
Chain: Clean your chain often with a stiff brush and degreaser, or look for a chain cleaning set. Worn or stretched chains can make it hard to change gears. Make sure it’s well-lubed, too. Depending on weather forecast, you may choose a dry lube (better for dry weather) or a wet lube (better for rainy weather).
Gears: Ahead of race day, make sure to test your gears. Are they working properly and do you have full access to the range of gears available?
Beyond these basics, we also suggest that you check your pedals, saddle, seat post, headset and stem. Local bike shops can help, or enquire with experienced riders from your cycling club.
RideLondon Tip: Dress the part.
Another tip relates to your personal gear. What do you plan to wear for race day? As you know, our UK weather is often unpredictable, so it's best to layer up for the race. Make sure to have a technical t-shirt or vest to help wick away sweat and keep you dry. You may also want to wear a lightweight rain jacket in case of bad weather.
At The Charity Clothing Company, we offer a popular technical running t-shirt that we’ve had specially milled to be softer than ever before and to perform superbly when worn. It’s fully customisable and has been a big hit among riders of all levels, not to mention as a great gift or fundraiser for your cycle club! If you don’t want to design a bespoke shirt or vest, look for special cycle gear from reputable shops. RideLondon even sells its own line of jerseys or clothing for purchase.
RideLondon Tip: Be Prepared and Have Fun!
Lastly, be sure you get a good's night rest before RideLondon. Lay out your cycle kit the night before so that you can step out of bed ready to ride on race day. Eat a good breakfast and drink plenty of water before your ride. And make sure to double check race information so you know where and when you need to arrive – RideLondon offers several transport options for getting there. You should be notified in July of your wave and start times.
What other tips do you have to make the most of RideLondon? We’d love to hear what you’re excited about for this year’s ride! If you can’t make it to the area, remember that the events will be broadcast live on TV, too. We look forward to seeing you out there!