Ride Specific Tips
Before the ride
- Be sure to eat well and hydrate well in the days before the ride. Your body needs to be fortified - Hydration & Nutrition
- Make sure that your bike is clean, lubed, inspected, and working well.
- Organize your cycling gear the night before: helmet [required], glasses, jersey or t-shirt, gloves, shorts [preferably cycling shorts], socks, shoes. Also consider contingency gear such as arm warmers, knee warmers, tights, long fingered gloves, rain jacket.
- Organize your hydration/nutrition items the night before: bottles with electrolyte replacement drink or water, CamelBak type backpack with electrolyte replacement drink or water, nutrition bars.
- Have your mechanical supplies ready: spare tubes, multi-tool, tire levers, frame pump or CO2 pump, tube patches.
- For the ride, be sure to have a second day set of cycling gear and liquids and nutrition bars, be sure to have clothes for Saturday night and for Sunday afternoon, be sure to have your toiletries with you, be sure to bring a towel for showering, bring sleeping gear if you are not staying in a hotel.
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During the Ride
Getting there/getting started
- Carpool to the ride start – this saves gas, saves space needed for parked cars, is fun to share with friends.
- Arrive early so that you have ample time to solve any unexpected challenges.
- Check in, if required.
- Be sure that your rider number is properly attached to your jersey or CamelBak – this identifies you in case of emergency.
- Be sure that you have your emergency contact information on your rider number – this helps in case of emergency.
- Be sure that you are wearing your ride wristband – this is especially important for the ride so that you have access to all the support provided by the ride!
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- For the ride start, be patient and be safe on the start. A small delay in the start of a long ride will not make much difference in your ride experience!
- Ride to the right, ride single file on narrow roads or on narrow shoulders, never ride more than two abreast.
- Move to the right to allow faster cyclists to pass you. You should hear the passing cyclist call out "PASSING LEFT" before he/she gets next to you.
- ALWAYS pass on the left, NEVER pass on the right, ALWAYS call out "PASSING LEFT" as you approach the cyclists that you are passing.
- Call out "STOPPING" or "SLOWING" when you are changing your cycling pace.
- NEVER cross over the center stripe so that you are riding into oncoming vehicular traffic.
- NEVER wear headphones of any type or talk on your cell phone while riding.
- Respect the communities through which you are cycling. Use the "facilities" provided by the ride at the rest stops. Do NOT use walls, bushes, etc for "relief". This is insulting to the communities who support our rides.
- Appreciate the communities through which you are cycling. If you need supplies prior to getting to a rest stop, then cheerfully purchase items at the local stores – they will appreciate your business.
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- Rest stops are set up every 10-15 miles. Each rest stop has "facilities", food items, water, electrolyte replacement drinks. The ride may have mechanical support at every rest stop. Be sure to take advantage of the rest stops. Rest stops also have medical support, places to rest, and general camaraderie. Take advantage of the support provided!
- SAG vehicles patrol the route to see if anyone needs assistance. At the least the SAG will transport you to the next rest stop. The SAG knows that you need assistance if you are OFF the roadway, OFF your bike, your helmet is OFF, and your are waving your bike helmet in the air.
Ride Marshals coach cyclists on safety issues during the ride. They are ride officials so you MUST pay attention to anything that they communicate. Often, they will help you if you need assistance. Find out more here.
- Law enforcement officers are ride officials and MUST be obeyed. Their function is to control dangerous intersections so that there is less likelihood of an unfortunate event.
- Rest stop officials are ride officials and MUST be obeyed. Their function is to ensure that rest stops are safely used.
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- Ride starts are congested. Take your time to safely get started.
- Rest stop entries are congested and challenging especially later in the day when cyclists are tired. Slow down as you approach the rest stop. Unclip before you begin stopping. Be aware of road hazards such as gravel or dirt entries to the rest stops. Listen to directions from the rest stop officials.
- Rest stop exits are congested and challenging as well. Look carefully around you and behind you before exiting. Either don’t clip in immediately or simply clip in on one pedal only. Be aware of road hazards such as gravel or dirt. Listen to directions from the rest stop officials.
- Road hazards include gravel, holes, pavement cracks, crumbling pavement, narrow or no shoulders, debris and road kill. Be sure to stay alert and pay attention to the road surface. Call out any problems so that cyclists behind you will be prepared.
- Cattle guards should be ridden over in a straight line. Most cattle guards on the route will be covered with plywood.
- Cones. Often you will see bright orange cones delineating the route. Cones may be required by the Department Of Transportation for safety reasons. Be aware of the cones. Do NOT ride over them and cause a crash. Stay within the coned lane as directed by ride officials. Everyone is tired so it is particularly important to pay attention to the cones and where you are being directed to ride. Riding outside the coned lanes puts you in the vehicle lanes which is quite dangerous
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