Long Distance Cycling: Tips and Tricks

Are you ready to engage in a long-distance bike ride? Well, we are going to make sure that you are more than ready with these expert tips and tricks. So buckle up and let's roll!
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As a cyclist, we are going to have a lot of adventures but there will be some experiences that will truly stand out from the rest. Let me tell you this, there is nothing like ultra-distance rides to give a feeling of accomplishment to both beginners and seasoned riders. Whenever I feel under the weather or just want to challenge myself, I go for a long-distance ride, it is a great feeling but you also need to be prepared for that. 

Chances are that you are new to this sport, and you might have the wish to go for a long-distance ride, I am talking about a ride that is more than two hours. There is no reason to feel intimidated, we are going to make sure that you have these long-distance rides. A successful experience falls down to strategy and planning, fitness matters too but not as much as you think it does. 

People have been engaging in long-distance rides for a while now, you must have heard the tale about Alex Stieda. Well, if you haven’t heard about him, let me tell you about him. He was the first North American to don the yellow jersey of the Tour De France. He was in Team 7-Eleven and participated in 1986. We can learn a lot from his experience and I will share more details regarding his skills later on. 

Aerobic and muscular systems play a very big role when we engage in long-distance rides, our body has to keep on going no matter what. You will need a lot of endurance when it comes to long rides. When it comes to long rides, you need to work on the mindset first and plan on covering the distance gradually. Take things slowly and cover the distance as you see fit, this will make you ready for anything. 

Also Read: Best Endurance Bikes

To Pedal Or Not To Pedal

Athlete Riding His Bicycle

Should we be spending more time on the saddle or not? Spending more time on the saddle is something that I would recommend, well not just me but also Alex Steida. You don’t have to spend more time in the saddle, you have to do it smartly. Now, how does one spend more time on the saddle smartly? Let me explain.

You will obviously be taking regular rides on your bicycle, but I also want you to take some extra rides if you can. If you cycle 5 times a week, then I would suggest that you add a 6th ride to your schedule. This can be a small mini-ride, and it will enhance your overall endurance level. You don’t need to go all out every time, a recovery ride is equally as important as a hardcore ride.

Pedal Smartly! How can a person pedal smartly, and what are some of the tips that every kind of cyclist adapts? Let me ask you a question: How do you start a workout? I mean a normal workout, this can be in a gym or at your home. You would obviously start from a low-intensity workout which would serve as a warmup right? The same concept applies to cycling, start slow and then gradually increase the cadence from there. Start pedaling in an efficient gear, the kind of gear in which you are comfortable, just make sure that your legs are comfortable while pedaling.

Easy gearing and higher cadence are what you should go with in the beginning. There are many people who go with harder gears and then have trouble maintaining cadence, please avoid this mistake. What you can do in this situation is opt for easy gear and maintain almost 90 rpm, this will prepare you for the longer rides. If you go to the gym, I have a better example for you. You should do a bench press of 10 reps of 20 kgs instead of doing a bench press of 200 kgs at once. You have to be smart in a situation like this and aim for the long-term goals.

Eat and Drink: Always Have Snacks At The Ready

Drinking Tea On Bike Ride

Snacks are your friends and you must always have them at the ready when going for long-distance rides. Needless to say, nutrition is one of the most important factors when we talk about endurance, they play a crucial part in sustaining your effort. You can mix any kind of juice or energy-rich drink with water and then consume it. Drink at least one bottle per hour, this will make sure that you are energy levels are in order.

Sometimes, a person might worry about what they are mixing in the water, don’t think too much about that. The most important factor is the water and your efforts. You will be needing that strength for the journey ahead so don’t pay too much attention to what you are mixing. My favorite drinks for cycling are Torq Energy Drink and High 5 Energy Drink Mix, nothing else works like they do. Of course, these are my personal choices and I am sure that you will have favorites of your own too.

Apart from consuming energy drinks, also pay attention to food. I would suggest that you have a bite or two after every fifteen minutes, if the ride is more than two hours long then just take a 30-minute break to eat and refill. Consistency is the main thing that will get you through the day, not perfection. Let me give you some amazing ideas for snacks: Popcorn, granola, energy bars, and nut butter works too!

Adopt The Rule of Thirds

We often hear about the rule of thirds when it comes to cycling, but what is it exactly and how does it work? Following the rule of thirds, you have to divide your journey into three equal parts, it is a brilliant concept that you can apply in cycling. Let’s take an example of a 60-minute ride, if you are a beginner then this might be a long ride for you. 

If we follow this rule, then we have to divide this journey is 3 equal parts. In the first 20 minutes, you should be easygoing and just go with the flow. Keep the bike steady and slowly make your way up. In the next 20 minutes, you should be able to feel your muscles going, they should be picking up the pace now, this is the time to increase your cadence. In the last 20 minutes, you should give your all, and give a mind-blowing performance. No matter how much you have it in you, in the last segment of the ride, you should be unstoppable.

Cyclist Standing With Bike On Mountain

Keep An Eye On The Wind

Have you ever wondered if there is a similarity between sailors and cyclists? Well, there is a similarity, for both of them wind is an ally and a foe at the same time. The wind can either propel you forward or halt you in their path, being an expert cyclist you must know how to use the wind to your advantage. Cyclists that start with a tailwind should roll easily as they would have a headwind at the end. 

If you are cycling with a group then the rules change, sticking during the headwinds is what everyone should do. This will allow the cyclists to take turns at the front while also sheltering one another. Basic knowledge of the wind is crucial for cyclists, and I would suggest that you learn all about it.

Always Be Prepared For Trouble 

Long rides are going to feel amazing but they will also be challenging, you will have to face a lot and you need to be prepared for it. Whenever you are venturing out for an adventure, there are odds that you will have to face a challenge. With long rides, these odds just increase. I want to tell you about some tips which will always help you out in bad times. What’s the first problem that comes to your mind whenever you think about long rides? Well, for me it is getting a flat tire so we are going to go with that. Make sure that you carry enough gear with you to fix two flat tires. You should also have your ID documents and some emergency cash with you.

There is another important thing that I want to point out, something that I have seen lately. Often on weekends, when I’m not cycling I go for car rides around the city. I see a lot of stranded cyclists, and many of them are in trouble whenever I see them. I help them out according to my capacity and when I ask them if someone stopped to help them out, their answer is most of the time No. This is something very sad to hear, being a cyclist myself I can understand the pain that those people had to go through. Being a human first and cyclist later, we should always help anyone who is in trouble. Make this a rule, being a cyclist it is our duty to help others on the road, may it be a cyclist or anyone else. Whatever we do today will return to us ten times more, that much is guaranteed.

Tire Puncture Repair Kit

Take Breaks and Stay Pain-Free

Taking breaks between rides is very necessary, this practice will also safeguard you against some injuries. I would suggest moving around your bikes when taking a break, stretching is also a really good option. Here are some tips that will work wonders for you:

  • Keep on changing your hand positions from time to time, and make sure to wrap your hands around the handlebar and brakes. This will ensure that in the case of an emergency, you will be prepared. 
  • Try shrugging for 5-10 seconds every now and then, this will relax your neck and shoulders.
  • When the road is clear, move your hand to your shoulders and stretch, then repeat with the other hand. 
  • Keep RPM between 70-80.

Have The Proper Gear Equipped 

Cycling is an art and if you are an artist, then you need to be careful about certain aspects. Ultra-distance cycling isn’t possible if you are poorly equipped, now what do I mean by being poorly equipped? It means not having the proper clothing on. Needless to say, you are not going for long bike rides in your night suit, right?

Make sure that you have the appropriate clothing on, this includes jerseys, shorts, shoes, and gloves (Don’t forget the helmet at home!). Apart from gear, we also want to talk about the bikes. All of us know that each bike is different right and they are made for different purposes. A mountain bike is going to be very different from a road bike and both of these bikes are not meant for long-distance bike rides.

You need to use an Endurance Bike if you plan on going for long-distance road cycling. These bikes have a relaxed geometry and enhance the comfort of the rider, making them the perfect machines for the job.

Watch: How To Ride Long Distances 

Riding long distances on your bike is not impossible but it does require patience and a set of techniques. Watch this insightful video to find out how to ride long distances.


Question: What Kind Of Bikes Are Perfect For Long Rides?

Endurance Bikes are made for ultra-distance cycling. They have a relaxed and strong geometry which enhances the overall comfort of the rider.

Question: What Are The Best Helmets For Endurance Rides?

Road Bike Helmets are going to serve you better in this regard. Some of the best choices that you can go for are Bontrager Velocis MIPS, Specialized Airnet MIPS, and POC Ventral Air MIPS. These helmets increase the comfort of the rider during a long bike ride.

RPM anywhere between 70-80 is best for long-distance riding.


Long-distance rides don’t just test your skills but also freshen you up, it is something that I would recommend to every kind of rider. Yes, the journey is going to feel very intimidating at first but you will slowly ease into it, this is just the way it works. The tips and tricks that we shared with you are going to prepare you for what lies ahead.

Consistency is what you should aim for, and definitely stay away from perfection. Cycling is an art and only masterful artists with a lot of patience get to create the perfect art. Always be prepared for these challenges and never hold back from helping out others.

So, what kind of helpful tips would you like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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