The beach ride as part of Gear Up Girl is oh so popular (and flat).

Gear Up Girl SA Ambassador, Margaret Boylan, gives her final tips for the big ride. 

Time has flown & the Gear Up Girl SA Ride is a week or so away.

We are all looking to have fun, safe day out on the bike. While there are quite a lot of things that we can’t control about our Gear Up Girl ride (like the weather on the day & the traffic on the road & paths) there is a lot we can do maximise our fun & safety on the day. And we all have a part to play in that.

Bike SA have selected routes on that basis, arranged marshals for us at tricky spots on the routes & have organised sparkling wine & cheese for us at the finish – just to name a few of the things they have done!

Our part is to turn up well prepared, to ride our chosen route looking out for ourselves & others & to enjoy the day. The tips I’ve already given you are all about getting us here to do that, but here a few more tips that will help us all do that too.

A week or so out

  • If you’ve not had time to do much with your bike to make it fit for the day there’s still time to do any fixes that are about safety – for example things like fixing up brakes, changing tyres & making sure you have the right lights for your bike in the front and rear. But any major changes to your bike fit could make your ride not much fun as your body will not have had time to get used to them. If you use a bike fit service at this point in time please make sure they are aware that you have Gear Up Girl coming up. If you decide to make any changes to your own bike have a cycling friend or family member check over it to make sure that everything looks ok.
  • There is definitely time still to brush up on your group riding & road and path riding skills. If you’ve signed up for the Gear Up Girl training ride with me you will be able to do that on 13th November – one week before the ride.
  • If you don’t usually eat breakfast try a variety of things this week to see what works for you. Then you can know what to eat on the day for the energy your body & brain will need for pedalling well & good decision making on the bike.
A few days out
  • Plan the clothes you are wearing on the day. And also for any child passenger if you are bringing one on the day!  Choosing your clothing (& that of any young passenger) is about comfort, ease of riding & safety. You don’t need Lycra of course but you will have a much better ride with clothes that don’t rub you in difficult places, don’t flap in the wind & cover the bits that might get sunburnt!

My top 3 tips would be:

  1. Use clothes you’ve ridden your chosen distance in before so you know they work for you & don’t cause rubbing or any other irritation.
  2. Wear a couple of layers on your top half. If you have a top layer can be easily removed & folded up you’ll be able to take it off & store it in a pocket or back pack then put it on again as needed.
  3. The closer fitting your clothing the less it will flap in the wind. Clothing that flaps can cause you to wobble or have to pedal harder to move forward.
The night before
I’ve found that getting everything ready for a ride the night before works for me:
  •   Lay out your clothes & your helmet & gloves if you use them.
  • If you use a heart rate monitor or other device on your bike make sure its charged & you have any straps that you wear ready to go
  • Check that your lights work – charged or battery working
  • Fill your water bottle/s up
  • Lay out any medication you need to take in the morning or need to take with you
  • Check your bike is all ready to go using an ABC (Air Brake Chain) check – this UK article has good advice about this
Morning of the Ride
  • Eat something for breakfast – something that you’ve tried before – see my note above under “A week or so out”.
  • Do another quick ABC check – just in case! Make a quick check of your helmet to make sure it’s good to ride in today – no changes affecting fit or damage affecting safety since you last rode in it.

I look forward to riding with you all in Gear Up Girl SA on 20 November. And enjoying the sparkling wine and cheese afterwards too!

About Margaret Boylan

Margaret was drawn to cycling at a later stage in life, switching from horse riding to cycling in 2005.  She is now a Cycling Coach and Personal Trainer & has set up First Principles Fitness and Coaching, putting her many years of coaching & leading in her previous career to work enabling and supporting recreational riders to gain fitness, skill and confidence as cyclists. You can join her on the day of the ride.