Useful Tips for Cyclists:

  • It is strongly recommended that helmets are worn
  • Gloves are also very useful ( as are padded cycling shorts for those cyclists attempting the longer distances!)
  • Headphones should not be used
  • On busy roads or on main roads cyclists should not ride two abreast
  • All participants are encouraged to carry mobile phones and a puncture repair kit …. Just in case

Preparing for the Ride

Why not get more out of the sponsored ride with a little fitness preparation and some Cycle training to make it a really fun day out. Below you will find some ideas to get ready for the ride and to generally enjoy cycling this summer.

Don’t forget to

  • seek medical advice if you have any concerns about physical activity
  • take care on the roads if you are new to cycling and look at some of the websites listed at the end about getting some proper cycle training.

This note only covers hints and tips to prepare your bike, develop your bike skills and offer a few ideas on building up training rides before the event.

Preparing your bike. Make the best use of your fitness by getting your bike in good order and riding it efficiently.

  • Make sure the gears change over the whole range and that you can do this quickly and easily whilst on the move.
  • For maximum power keep your saddle high so that with the ball of your foot on the pedal your leg is nearly fully stretched.
  • Keep the tyres well inflated. See the maximum pressure on the wall of the tyre. A hard tyre is more resistant to punctures.
  • Carry a small tool kit and spare tube with you on longer rides.
  • For safety wear a helmet and bright clothes.
  • Padded lycra cycling shorts, even if worn under a tracksuit, make a huge difference to comfort.

Developing those Bike Skills

  • Use a cycle computer to measure your average speed on a ride. Most calculate your speed only when you are moving and not in rest periods It is a good indicator on how you are improving and it will give you an idea of how long the C4C ride will take. As a guide CTC ‘touring’ rides are usually at about 12mph.(19kph)
  • Cadence. This is the term for how fast you pedal. Avoid pedalling slowly as this puts strain on the knees and makes your legs tire more quickly. Use the gears to spin the pedals at about once a second or more. This should make you breath more quickly.

Confidence rides. If you are new to cycling practice your bike skills on some of the many cycle tracks around Northampton before venturing onto the road for example

(a) 7 miles around Pitsford reservoir

(b) Up to 15 miles along the Brampton Valley way (torch needed through the tunnels)

(c) Beckets Park to Billing aquadrome cycle track alongside the river Nene.

(d) Salcey Forest (can be muddy)

Developing your fitness. Stage 1

Choose a quiet time at weekends and see how far you can cycle in an hour taking a rest half way. This will help in planning routes in future. When a one hour ride is easy, increase this by half an hour. Make this a regular training ride and keep a record of progress in how far you ride in the time.

Incorporate some longer hills in your ride and make sure you can ride up them by using the full range of gears. Don’t be afraid to walk though, until you are ready for this, but it should be a target to ride every hill providing you have a wide range of gears as on most bikes these days, especially if you plan to do the 50 mile C4C route.

There are many quiet roads in Northamptonshire once you are clear of the town. See the CTC website routes.

Try and ride at least once a fortnight and either time your distance if it is a regular route or use a cycle computer to measure your average speed.

Fitness preparation, Stage 2. Two months to go.

Maintain the regular training rides as in stage 1. If this is your main form of exercise try riding 1 - 2 times a week even if these are quite short trips. Try to put in a longer ride for a whole morning 2 hours and then make a really good day out as well by combining a morning and afternoon session with a proper lunch stop in between. In you can manage 12 mph why not come on a group ride with the CTC listed on the Northampton section web page, especially some of the ‘touring’ rides. Riding in a sociable group certainly adds to the pleasure of cycling. Importantly don’t try a last minute long ride a week before the ride. It will be too late then.

Further Information

Try the following links on the national CTC (Cyclist Touring Club) website.

Organised rides

Preparing for a charity ride

Advice for riding in a group

Family cycling

General Cyclist Touring Club

Select the site map on the left of the page to see the whole range of advice on offer.

General Cycle Training

Training resources

Good ‘cycle sense’ articles.