Techbikers 2017 Copenhagen to Berlin
Techbikers is organizing a great ride from Copenhagen to Berlin starting on Friday Sep. 15. Having ridden quite a few miles the last couple of years often in large groups I wanted to share my experience and tricks to make this ride a fun ride. Most important click on the link at the end of the post and help me raise money for Roam to Read.
This might be the first time you are going on a long bike ride, and given it’s a group ride there are additional things to be aware of before you get on the bike and start riding.
Safety starts with you. No need to emphasize the importance of riding with a helmet. Follow the regular rules of the road. Don’t run a red light, especially when you are riding in a group, as you put everyone at risk.
“Protect your front wheel”. The abc of staying upright in a group ride. Always make sure you have your front wheel free from the bike in front of you. You seldom crash if someone hits your rear wheel, but you go down immediately if your front wheel gets thrown off course. If they suddenly brake up front, you want to have the time to brake and steer around. Notice that more and more bikes have disc brakes that break much faster than your regular bike brakes.
Some like riding listening to music. Well in a group ride I would advise against it. but if you still do, ONLY use your right headphone, allowing you to stay alert on what happens around you, while listening to your favorite podcast or beats.
Bibs or bike shorts with a good quality chamois pad is essential for having a comfortable long ride. A trick is to ride with two pair of bibs or bike shorts, if you are nervous how you butt will react to sitting in the saddle 6–8 hours a day for 3 days. At least bring chamois cream, so protect you from saddle sores.
Dress in layers, allowing you to easily adapt to the temperature. Have a small bag in the SAG (aka support and gear van), with some extra socks, bibs, warm jacket so you can change when the group stops for a break.
Speaking of break, don’t stop too often or wait too long as your legs will lock up with lactic acid. You will notice it takes some time for your legs to flush the lactic acid after the lunch break.
Riding with clip-in shoes is a significant advantage. But if it’s your first time, do stay alert as you approach a stop and unclip well in advance or you have to defy gravity to stay upright.
Think about the cadence you ride. Always change to a gear so you have a easy spin doing 90–100 RPM. If you push too hard in a high gear, you legs will quickly fill with lactic acid.
Bring rubber to the party. Always have 2 spare tubes with you. It would be sad if you had to end the ride prematurely. Obviously we ride in groups so most likely there will always be someone that can help you out.
Every morning check your tire pressure and if needed lube your chain. It will love you for it and run much more smoothly.
You don’t want to run out of fuel
Bring plenty of power bars and gels, bananas, peanut butter sandwiches or what ever else is your favorite. The key is that you keep eating and feed your engine with new nutritions to power your engine. You really do not want to bonk 2 hours into the ride because you forgot to eat.
Drinking plenty of water is essential to stay hydrated and reduce the risk of cramping. Though it may rain or be super cold, your body still needs water so ride with two bottles and when you stop for a rest make sure to fill up the bottles. When you sweat you lose electrolytes — these are minerals and such that do all sorts of things for the working of your body. They do need replacing in someway shape or form and electrolyte tabs are the easiest way of achieving that.
Post ride you should continue drinking water and eat plenty. Your body is not used to the “torture” you just put it through. Eat lots of salt — salty chips is a good complement to get your body back in working condition fast and nothing beats a cold beer!
Rain changes everything
Visibility, temperature, Road conditions.
Take off your glasses to better see the road up ahead or get clear or yellow tinted glasses that improve contrast.
Rain can easily get the temperature to drop fast so when rain is in the forecast always have your rain jacket ready and. If you don’t have shoe covers, bring smaller plastic bags and put the outside your socks, so they can stay dry.
Rain can make the roads slippery as ice. When you break you will experience that you have much less grip, so slow down much in advance as you approach a stop and use your rear brake more than your front brake.
Railroad tracks and other metal plates gets dangerous slippery. Always pass railroad track diagonally or you may end up flat on your back on the tracks.
If you have fenders bring them with you. These are my favorites. Your friend riding behind you will love you for it.
It’s a group ride
Signaling is key to a safe group ride.
Signaling left turn is obvious, but I prefer using my right hand for right hand turn, as raising your left hand may be mistaken for you wanting to stop. If you plan to stop, take your left hand down on the side.
When you see debris on the road up ahead, then point towards the ground on the side where the obstacle is well in advance.
Glass is our enemy, so if you see glass on the road shout out to the group “glass” so everyone are aware and can avoid the hazard that may shatter your tire.
If there is a larger obstacle up ahead, wave your hand behind you away from the obstacle we need to pass, to show the others that they should start moving to the side to clear the obstacle be it a bike rider, parked car or garbage can.
If you flat, shout out as we may not notice that you stop and then ride away from you. So just call out, and we can stop to help you.
Pace yourself. The road is long and you just don’t want to run out of juice after 2 hours. Find the pace that you feel comfortable with. Around 70% of your max effort. Most likely we will split up in smaller groups, so find a group that matches your “need for speed”.
Suck wheel. No need for you to be the hero that goes to the front. Staying behind is ok and will save you tons of energy. On average you may save 20% power by drafting others. But remember to protect your front wheel. Obviously if you feel for it and your legs are ready to play then go ahead and pull the rest of the pack home.
The advantage of riding in a group is that you help each other and keep the average pace higher. The pro’s may rotate frequently, but I would recommend that we ride two riders side by side and then rotate each 10 min or so. Again, I am sure we naturally will split up in smaller groups defined by the pace we set.
For more good advice, check out this video
Remember we are all here for the fun of it, so relax, enjoy and speak up if you have any concerns that make you nervous. We want to start and finish as a group, with everyone finishing in style.
Thanks Ricardo and Benjamin for organizing. Much appreciated!!
Look forward saying hi to all of you on Friday morning in Copenhagen. Now get back to fundraising!!!
Speaking of which, if you liked what you just read, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/techbikers-copenhagen-to-berlin-2017-681 and help me raise money for Room to Read.