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Annual Bike Ride: Tips for Success and Fun!

Tip #1:  Commit.

To borrow a phrase; just do it!  Make the commitment to bicycle in the 4th Annual St. Andrew’s Bicycle Ride.  This fundraiser is EASY.  And it’s a FUN way to contribute.  So who benefits?  St. Andrew’s Camp AND YOU.   You have all spring and summer to get ready.  Visit this website for ongoing tips.  Tips are focused primarily for those who have never considered engaging in a charity ride in the past.   You CAN do this.   These tips formulate a basic outline that you can utilize to prepare for this ride.  Certainly there are many other sources of information and these ideas are clearly not exhaustive of all that can be done.  They are common concepts and offer commonly accepted approaches.  So saddle up.  Your ride is about to begin.  Charity can be fun work.

Tip #2:  The bike.

Many people have bikes buried in their garages that haven’t been used in years.  Time to resurrect it and clean it up.  A cleaned up and shiny bike looks inviting to get on and take it for a spin down the driveway.  Even though your bike looks good (or maybe not), safety is crucial! Some people do their own repairs and tune ups, especially experienced bikers.  Special attention should be addressed to tires, brakes and the chain.   Should you not feel comfortable doing this, there’s nothing like a good bike store.  The repair technician should be able to evaluate your bike and let you know if there is any life left in it.  It’s amazing how old bikes ship into shape.  The bike should be fit for your size.  Again a good bike technician will know how to do this.  As a side note, many cities that have nearby colleges will have bike shops that specialize in used bikes.  Although road bikes are better suited for distance riding, this event does not require one.  All three bikes routes are fairly flat.  While at the bike store, buy a helmet.  HELMETS ARE REQUIRED.  Accessories such as shoes, mirrors, water bottles, and clothing will be discussed later.

Tip # 3: Begin.

Since you are on this part of the website, you either committed to the ride and ready to begin or are curious.   For the curious, return to Tip #1 and register.  You CAN do this!  Now let’s begin.  Simply starting is one of the hardest parts of training.   So, before you saddle up, close your eyes.  Now in your mind’s eye, visualize yourself at the finish line.  Perhaps you’ve been at the camp and remember its long driveway.  If not, make it up.  Regardless of your current fitness level, you can engage in this exercise.  Visualize yourself at the end of the ride.  Visualize the smile on your face.  Feel the excitement of your heart pounding with the sense of accomplishment.  You committed to a goal, challenged yourself and enjoyed the camaraderie of others.  You did it!  You can feel it!  First exercise completed!

Tip # 4:  Ride

Let’s recap. You are supporting St. Andrew’s Camp by participating in this charity bike ride. You checked out your bike to ensure safety.  You CAN see yourself doing this!

Follow this checklist every time you ride:

  • Inspect your bike, i.e. inflate tires, check brakes.
  • Wear a HELMET!
  • Bring: ID, cell phone, water bottle.  If you are riding alone, tell someone your route.
  • Know the rules of the road.  In New York State, cyclists must adhere to the Bicycle Rules governed by NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law.
  • Depending where you live, your first few rides could be in your neighborhood or a nearby park.  Select a stretch of road that is relatively flat.  The goal of these rides is to saddle up and peddle for approximately 30 minutes on flat roads. Hence, this road that you pick should be long enough to ride on for 15 minutes in one direction.  Enjoy!

Tip # 5: Distance

Remember that The St. Andrew’s Camp Bike RIDE is a RIDE, not a race!  The terrain is generally flat and (3) distances are available from which to chose. In addition to designated rest stops, each route provides plenty of opportunity to stop along the way as it winds along creeks and lakes and easy going roads.  A SAG wagon(s) will also follow along for support. There are some major roads and intersections to negotiate. (Remember cyclists must adhere to NYS bike codes regardless of the size of roads, i.e. use shoulders and hand signals.) So let’s get beyond the initial rides and get some distance between you and the camp.

Now try to measure your rides combining distance and minutes.  Perhaps you can use an app on your phone, garmin or simply drive the route in your car to get estimated distances.  Driving your route(s) also allows you to check the road. Depending upon your level of fitness, shoot for 10 miles.  (Always make sure that your health status is up for this or any event.  This is accomplished with a discussion with your medical provider.)   Since you committed to this ride, either for altruistic reasons or simply as an excuse to get in shape, now begins your exercise schedule.  Plan to ride 3 times per week.  Make sure you stop to hydrate along the way.  Energy drinks that provide essential electrolytes, i.e., sodium, glucose, potassium may be better than just water.  Caffeine is NOT an essential electrolyte!  Stretch after each ride.  While ‘training’ for this charity bike ride, work hard on some days, easier on other days and REST on at least one day, like Sunday!  Some people get so excited that they overdo and get hurt or frustrated.   Let us all remember, this is a charity ride to support the Camp. Have fun with this!

  •  Week 1: Slow and easy rides for about 30 minutes a few times during this week.
  •  Week 2:  Just like your initial rides, speed is not the goal.  Pedal with determination and pace yourself so you can complete 10 miles.  Should you complete this distance in less than 30 minutes, then pedal more miles.
  •  Week 3:  The goal is to increase distance to about 25 miles.  At least one of the three weekly rides should be a longer 25 mile ride.  During the other two rides, the strength of pedaling will change periodically.  Pedaling should always be met with resistance. Think about how easy it is riding down a slope.  Gliding downhill doesn’t require any pedaling!  Now find that gear that requires some determination to complete the pedal stroke.  Pushing down should be purposeful yet not unbearable!  Start each of the two shorter rides with this pedal strength.  After a few miles into the ride, pedal hard by pushing down and pulling up on your pedals (if you have straps or click in).  Feel yourself working harder.  Speed will also increase.  Do this for about 30 seconds or until you need to catch your breath. Then return to your base line pace.  Repeat this interval periodically throughout the shorter rides.  Enjoy the longer ride.  The longer ride(s) should become easier as strength and endurance increase.
  •  Week 4:  Goal of this week is to do something different!  Incorporate other types of movement such as walking, stretching or even mowing the lawn into your weekly schedule.  The goal of your bike rides, is to increase mileage.  Repeat above but increase shorter rides to 15 miles and the longer ride to 30 miles.  Hey, you’re there! The Camp Ride has two routes at these distances!
  • Week 5: The goal of this week is to change the terrain. Try incorporating some inclines to your practice routes. It’s a great feeling reaching the top!  Another strategy for improving climbing is repeating an incline/hill 4 or 5 times.  Choose a quiet road with an incline/hill.  After some easy pedaling, go as fast and far up the incline as you can go within a minute.  Then turn around and descend.  Ride around a little bit then start the climb again.  Do this in lieu of the shorter rides.
  •  Week 6:  Continue increasing miles and/or time with interval pedaling on shorter rides.  Increase long ride to 40 miles.

Tip #6: The Event

The week of the St. Andrew’s Camp Bike Ride is here! The following is a list of essentials to bring to the event.   So far the weather report looks GREAT!

Bring on day of Event:

  • HELMET
  • Water bottle and snack (rest areas will offer food and water refill)
  • Phone/camera
  • ID with an emergency contact name and number
  • A light/rain jacket, depending upon your comfort level
  • Extra tube/tools in saddle bag
  • Change of clothes/sneakers for the barbecue
  • Bathing suit (situational)

Don’t forget the obvious:

  • Biking clothes; HELMET, shoes, shirt/jersey, shorts, gloves, mirror

For those arriving Friday:

  • Personal hygiene products
  • Medications (if needed)
  • Bathing suit (situational)

(Take some time and go for a short practice ride before the pasta dinner to ensure that the bike traveled well and that you remembered everything.)

A SAG (support and gear) wagon will travel along the route and be at the rest stops. You will be able to put a small bag in the van should you want to add/peel off layers of clothing.

An experienced cyclist will also travel the route and will be available for mechanical problems.

Cue sheets will be distributed morning of the event including the SAG wagon and emergency phone numbers.  Roads have been painted with red arrows before and after each turn.

Remember to obey New York State Bicycle Rules and common bike etiquette. Use the shoulder of the road if available.  Bike in single file on busy roads. Use hand signals. Obey traffic lights and signs. You may take the lane for turns.  Use verbal warnings, such as, car back, on your left, when passing another biker.

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE CAMP IN THIS EVENT.

NOW LET’S GET TO THE CAMP AND HAVE SOME FUN!