Here at One4all, we’re big fans of cycling to stay fit, especially since we hold an annual charity cycling event – Cycle4Haiti.
The days are getting longer and brighter; what a great reason to get active outside and make the most of it all!
If you’re taking part in Cycle4Haiti this year or if you just want to jump onto the bike and take on bigger adventures this summer, this cycling guide will help you with your preparations for any cycle.
Previous participants and marshals from Cycle4Haiti have compiled these handy bike and nutrition tips to help you out on your journey to fitness:
Preparation is Key
Before you jump on the bike, check the saddle height and make sure it feels comfortable! You can even visit a local bike shop for a fit if you’re unsure or check out YouTube for great tips on this.
Don’t forget to bring a small emergency bike kit, along with a spare tube in case you have any issues with your bike.
ALWAYS check tyre pressures before a ride and make sure your tires are fully inflated – this makes the ride a lot easier!
Make sure your bike is clean, especially the chain and gears - a clean bike takes less energy to pedal, meaning there is less resistance to overcome.
ALWAYS wear cycling shorts and a helmet!
Eat a high-carb meal, like pasta or rice, the night before a big cycle.
30-40 minutes before a long ride, make sure you have something to eat – our cyclists recommend eating a bowl of porridge.
Our cyclists recommend packing bananas, protein bars, nuts; essentially any foods that will give you the right energy and sugar level, such as a small bag of sweets, to keep moving.
If possible fit two Bottle cages to your bike and get a bottle for both, always better to have too much water on board!
Be careful with gels etc if your new to cycling.. they can be hard on your tummy!
Electrolytes are good for water bottles and help to avoid cramp on longer stints. You will perspire so salts etc will leech out over time on a long ride so best to keep topped up.
On longer cycles it's best to eat small amounts regularly…
Start slow get a feel for the bike and your body on longer runs, concentrate on distance rather than speed at first.
Learn to use your gears correctly - they are there to help you be more efficient on your bike.
Get out on the bike regularly – test yourself by increasing your distance on each cycle.
Use apps like Strava and MapMyFitness to track your progress.
Hit the gym – the more you train your full body, the easier it will get. Do strength exercises, such as squats and leg presses to improve your quad strength. (This will make tough hills a lot easier to conquer!)
The Cycle4haiti is an annual cycling event open to all ages and cycling abilities, in which two groups of 100+ cyclists pedal across the country from Dublin to Galway (200km) or Athlone to Galway (100km) over one day. Now in its 9th year, the cycle raises much needed funds to continue the amazing projects started by the EOY Finalists of ’07 and ‘08 to improve the lives of the Haitian people. Taking part, as an individual or a team, is a great way to get fit, meet new people and enjoy a tough but achievable challenge. Throughout the cycle all cyclists stick together in a single peloton, and the groups are fully supported by a servicing and ambulance crew.