Sunday, 15 January 2012

Riding Tips

Some general tips for the ride:

Phone Care

Keeping moisture away from your cellphone is kind of important. If you are taking a smartphone the investment may be even greater thus some protection from sweat and rain is needed.

There are many, and varied, (and expensive) options to protect your phone but a simple ziplock bag can do the trick.  The "sandwich" type bags in the supermarket will work but they don't hold up to rubbing and chafing in your pack on a 10 hour day. A step up is the "food grade" ziplock bags. You can get 3 or 4 months use from one of these before the zip becomes an issue. The bonus is you can eat (or cook with) the contents!

The one on the left had yummy cranberries in it in a previous life!

Hand Care

Long distance riding means pressure on your hands for sustained periods. If your hand position is not optimal (think tired after 10 hours riding) then hand problems can arise.

The most common of these is "compressive mononeuropathy of the deep palmar branch of the ulnar nerve". Ouch, sounds painful and it can be for some. Although it tends to go away after a few days rest, riders on previous brevets have been known to struggle to tie their shoe laces weeks later.

The Ulnar nerve is pinched when you "drop" your hands. Along with being aware of your hand position, there are more active measures. One is to fit "ergo" grips. These have a flat wing which can be adjusted to prevent you from dropping your wrists. They can also be combined with bar ends to allow you to move your hands around to different positions during the ride.

Common "Ergo" grip with combined bar end

A further option is to use "clip-on" aero bars. These can provide an option to rest hands on long straight sections of the ride (also useful if you suffer from back problems). They don't need to be ultra expensive carbon aero triathlon thingies. The basic clip-ons work fine for resting your hands. You can also attached a bag under them for extra carrying capacity.


The bells and the whistle?
Bum Care

Let's face it, you will be sitting on it for a long time over the 1100kms! If you haven't already used butt creme (anti-chafe, call it what you will), then seriously consider it.

As a rule of thumb prevention is better than the cure. Basically prepare before you really need it. Use it before it really gets hot and sore down there.

Use your favourite or try Natures Kiss Chafe Ease. Most bike shops around NZ carry it. It has calendula oil in it which aids healing when you are not riding (that 4 hours each day remember!).

Think about taking some chafe creme


Back Care

Think about how much you carry on you back. Large packs (or even small heavily loaded ones) don't work well. Shoulders and backs don't appreciate them after 10 hours riding on bumpy roads. Get as much weight onto the bike using a good rack or other means (bike bag).

Using aero bars also allows you to take the tension off your erector muscles.

Use a seat bag or rack to get the weight off your back!

Check out bikepacking websites for further helpful tips (www.bikepacking.net is a good start).

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