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10 Things to Keep in Mind Before You Go On a Long Bike Ride

Long bike rides are enjoyable, healthy, and great ways to get out into the world and enjoy all that it has to offer. However, there are also plenty of dangers that can arise on long bike rides that can put you in harm’s way if you’re not careful. If you’re planning a long bike ride, make sure to keep these 10 things in mind to stay safe and injury free!

1) Don’t forget to stretch

Stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes before you go on any ride. Try touching your toes or sitting with your legs straight out in front of you and reaching for your toes. Stretch these muscles for about 30 seconds each.

2) Drink plenty of water

Drink plenty of water. It is important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after a long bike ride. Drink at least 16oz of water before you go on your ride, 8oz of fluid every 15 minutes you’re riding, and 8-10 glasses of water when you finish your ride.
Water is the most efficient way for our bodies to transport oxygen and other nutrients throughout our body.

3) Check your bike’s tires

  • Check your bike’s tires before you start. If they are low, pump them up. Make sure that the air pressure is at an optimal level for the speed and terrain you will be riding on.
  • Carry extra inner tubes, because it is better to have one than need one.

4) Bring snacks and a full water bottle

Pack food that is easy to eat without stopping, such as granola bars and dried fruit. Bring something salty too, like chips or pretzels, for those times when you need an instant boost of energy. A full water bottle is also essential for preventing dehydration and should be one liter or larger. Be sure to pack an extra water bottle just in case the first one runs out.

5) Wear sunscreen

Sunscreen is the most important thing you can wear before going on a long bike ride. The sun’s harmful rays can be just as damaging when they’re reflected off of roads and buildings, so protect your skin with SPF 15 or higher. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends waiting 30 minutes after applying sunscreen before going outdoors, but if you’re really worried about sun damage you should consider wearing an SPF that’s 50 or higher.

6) Dress in layers

When you’re riding your bike for long distances, it’s important to dress in layers. This allows you to peel off clothes as you get too hot, or add them on as it gets colder. It’s also really important that your base layer is moisture-wicking and breathable so that your body can regulate its temperature while you ride.

7) Bring a map

Bringing a map or GPS unit will help you keep track of where you’re going, and how long it should take to get there. Pack some water and food with you, but don’t forget your bike lock. If you need to stop for any reason – such as to rest, refuel, or take care of an emergency – do so at a spot that has few people around and is well-lit. Avoid riding on busy roads or highways if possible. If there’s no shoulder on the road, ride on the left side of the road facing traffic so that cars can see you coming from both directions

8) Check the weather forecast

Even though it’s summer, you still need to check the weather forecast before going on a long bike ride. If there is rain or thunderstorms in the forecast, it’s best not to go out. Make sure your bicycle is well-maintained and ready for a journey. Make sure your seat height, handlebars and tires are adjusted properly.

9) Tell someone your route

If you plan on going on a long bike ride, it’s important to know what the terrain will be like. If it’s all flat, then you won’t need any supplies with you. However, if there are hills and mountains, then you’ll want to make sure that you bring water and snacks with you. There may also be areas where there isn’t cell phone service so make sure that your phone is charged before going on your ride.

10) Have fun!

In the spirit of bike-riding fun and adventure, here are some things you should keep in mind before going on your next long bike ride:

  • Check that you have plenty of water on hand and know how to filter water.
  • Bring food, snacks, and extra gear like tire tubes and tools.
  • Pack extra clothes for cold weather riding or rain gear if necessary.
  • Carry a cell phone with emergency contact numbers programmed into it (just in case).
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