Long Distance Bike Riding: What to Consider If You Are Going to Ride Very Far
Everything You Should Know about Long Distance Bike Riding
It has long been no news that bicycles are one of the most comfortable and useful means of transportation. While long-distance bike riding, the muscles of the lower limbs are actively engaged, and as a result, your legs become more resilient and enduring.
The benefits of traveling for big biking distance:
- Improved well-being. Getting a dose of fresh air, especially in the morning, has a beneficial effect on the human body. In this regard, it is best to start traveling at 5 – 6 am. This earlier time the air is the freshest.
- Easy and quick to fall asleep. In order to sleep better, it is advisable not to forget about a regular evening bike for long-distance. For example, a few laps around the stadium or around the house will help get rid of the accumulated negative thoughts for the day.
- A slim and sporty body. Regular riding on a two-wheeled vehicle is good for burning calories in the body. Since a person in the process of riding works all the muscle groups of the lower limbs, and as a consequence – the shedding of excess weight, endurance and relief legs.
- Increased metabolic processes in the body. After daily exercise, there is an increase in appetite, and this is the first sign of improved digestion.
- Increased efficiency of systems and organs of the person. During movement, there is a huge work of various processes (increase in muscle elasticity, increase in the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain, the release of hormones – adrenaline, serotonin), which have a positive effect on the human body as a whole.
- Saving on fuel. For such transport as a bicycle, there is no need to spend extra money on gasoline or gas, unlike cars. Two-wheeled friend moves due to the physical strength of the person. We consider the bicycle is a great replacement for the car and the long-distance bike riding will bring you more joy for sure!
- Early development of children. A toddler riding a bike from a young age gets the same benefits as an adult. The bike lays the foundation for the child’s future health.
- Reduced commute time. A bicycle is much faster than walking, especially with a long-distance road bike.
- Convenient parking. A bicycle is small and compact, allowing you to go where a car can’t.
- Improved body systems. Such as the respiratory, immune, nervous systems. A person’s immune system only gets stronger after regular cycling on big bike distances. The brain constantly gets a portion of fresh air, and also rests from stress and daytime tension. Intensive work of the leg muscles – makes the lower limbs stronger and more enduring.
Requirements for Bikes for Long Distance
Let’s start with the main point: which long-distance road bike is worthwhile to go on a long journey, and which is extremely undesirable. First of all, single-speed classic bicycles are not the best option. Their gear ratios are usually designed for a leisurely ride in the city at a speed of up to 20 km / h. Of course, you can accelerate to 40 km/h for a short time, and for a long time (in the presence of basic training) to keep about 25 km/h. But maintaining a high cadence (pedaling speed) will lead to unnecessary expenditure of effort to maintain speed. So, the budget bikes from hypermarkets are not the best fit for the bike for long-distance riding. As a rule, these are heavy models with a steel frame made of “water pipes”, shock absorbers, wide “mountain” rubber of 2-3 inches, and 18, 21, or even 24 gears. All in all, practically a reference collection of what would be superfluous on a long road trip. These bikes are good for off-roading.
A heavy frame, combined with wide tires with mud tread, will take away the extra power. It may pass unnoticed, but as a result, you will drive a dozen or two kilometers less in a day than you could. Shock absorbers weigh the bike down, too, and a bunch of gears is good in the mountains. But on flat trails, at least half of them are not needed, and since derailleurs are used the cheapest ones, the transmission becomes another weak link, increasing the risk of breakdown. So, forget about long-distance mountain bike. Then, which distance bike is better to choose?
Optimal vehicle for long-distance biking – road bike with not on a very thin rubber (slick type). As well you may buy gravel or hardtail bikes. A hardtail with a front fork with a shock absorber, which will reduce the load on the hands, may also be suitable. The optimal width of rubber – 30-50 mm. If less, this may be uncomfortable on simple roads, and thick tires have increased resistance and require more energy to maintain speed on the asphalt.
The bike for long-distance riding does not necessarily have to be expensive (you can find many good and cheap bikes up to 500 dollars), but it must be reliable and tested. It is desirable to test it before the big race, rolling a few hundred kilometers on small distances to make sure of reliability and have time to adjust potentially weak nodes.
How to Bike Long Distance with No Breakdowns?
Not every breakdown can be repaired in the field, but not all breakdowns are equally common. A cracked rim or a broken ratchet mechanism requires replacement parts, but these are rare breakdowns that don’t occur out of the blue. But chain breakage, a puncture of the tire, loosening of some fasteners, infringement of adjustment of a shifter or brakes are quite real. It is important to insure yourself against them.
For the elimination of minor malfunctions, a minimum of tools is enough. Unification of fasteners allows you to unscrew/tighten any part of the bike, having on hand a suitable bike wrench, a set of several hexes, and a double-sided screwdriver. Your long-distance biking gear may also include a multi-tool. All these tools are enough to maintain almost all, easily fixable problems.
A quality chain in long-distance bikes will last about 1-2 thousand kilometers, so if there have never been any problems with it, it’s enough to arm a brush and a bottle of grease for periodic service of the transmission. Nevertheless, for safety measures, before biking long distances, you can take a spare chain, or at least some links and locks for the elimination of chain breakage in field conditions. But it is actually only for situations when the reliability of a drive causes doubts and you want to ensure the safety.
More attention should be paid to tires. The big biking distances may cause punctures, which are the most widespread phenomenon, especially with thin rubber. Therefore, you should definitely take a spare tube, a pair of blades for disassembling, and a small pump. An alternative to the pump is special cylinders, but we would not recommend them to be used in bike distances. Such a cylinder weighs not much less than a lightweight pump, its life is limited to one or two pumps, and its price is high. The availability of a spare tube and pump allows in the case of a puncture to quickly repair the wheel and continue on the road. A damaged tube can then be repaired at the nearest tire shop on the road, thereby getting a spare tire again.
Routing Your Bike Riding Distance
The itinerary should be designed with the optimal load distribution for the day and the availability of overnight accommodations in mind. It all depends on what you want from the trip on the bike long distance. After all, you can ride leisurely, getting over a hundred kilometers a day, and devoting the rest of the time to rest and sightseeing, or you can drive purely for the sake of driving when the main thing is to overcome more and spend the night in the field.
In the first case it’s simple: plan a route with the expectation that every day to move from one interesting town to another, saving strength and a lot of rest. In this case, just enough to check in advance the available overnight stays (hotels, hostels, etc.) to make the trip went without surprises.
For the second case, if you are about to overcome for a day of 200-300 km, and you only want to measure your bike riding distance with a periodical “day off” to explore some of the cities, and an overnight stay in open countryside, then you can not really bother to pave the optimal route. The main thing is that the roads were good to make these biking distances become real.
These are only basic recommendations for those who want to go on a very long bike distance but do not know where to start. For beginners, who have never ridden even a few dozen kilometers, it is worth a month or two to start by riding 30-50 km every day to get in shape, and to study the bike, to identify all its pros and cons, and only then plan a long-distance ride.
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