52 Mile Ride Training Advice


New Member
Jul 7, 2009

Me and a couple of friends have decided to do a 52 mile bike ride for charity, next summer. I got a bike yesterday and haven't ridden for years I was wondering if anyone had any training tip and advice for me....

50 miles rides don't really require much of any kind of training... just riding. Start riding the bike and see how 10 miles feels. Gradually increase until you can easily do 20, 30 miles, etc. Fine tune your riding position for a good compromise between comfort and efficiency. Don't try to achieve any specific speed average. This will come as you ride and get fitter on the bike. Make sure you gradually tackle some hills if there are going to be any on your charity ride.

Trust me, if I can easily ride 50 miles at my age and with a kidney transplant, anyone can. Pretty much all you need on a ride like that is a couple of water bottles, and just a bit of energy food of some kind (a banana, some cookies or something to have about half way.
Agreed on Longfemur's advice, get out and ride.

FWIW, a big part of the fitness equation is training frequency, in other words you'll almost certainly get better results by doing at least a bit of riding four or five days a week rather than piling up a lot of miles on just the weekends. Many weekend warriors miss that part and wonder why they never quite get comfortable or fast on the bike. Weekday rides don't have to be long if time is tight, just try to get on the bike at least three non consecutive and preferably four or five days a week even if it's just a short ride.

And if things don't feel fairly comfortable or you develop unexpected soreness in your neck, knees, elbows, or back you should discuss this with the folks where you bought your bike or go out and get a professional bike fit if your shop doesn't offer that service. A good bike fit and attention to critical points of contact (like making sure your saddle really fits your anatomy) can make all the difference in terms of enjoying your time on the bike.

Good luck,
Unless you've spent the last few years downing 10 pints a night and stuffing yourself with kebabs then 50 miles shouldn't be a huge challenge to an average 20 year old, even though it might seem a little daunting right now.

Just get out on your bike, ride a few times a week - even if it's only for an hour at a time. Even if you only have 30 minutes and want to go out for a good thrash on the bike that'll help too. I'm not sure what part of the West Midlands you're from but there's likely to be lots of good bikeshops in the area that can help out with bike fitting and info on suitable equipment like tires (if you're riding a mountain bike you don't want a set of knobblies!), shorts, mitts etc etc...

If you eat somewhat of a sensible diet and you're riding for not much more than an hour then I wouldn't bother too much with sports drinks. If you have a few pounds to lose then this will help you get rid of it. If you're already at the point where the butchers pencil has more meat on it then see how it goes for the first hour long ride. Rides over 1 1/2hours should include some food. I'd avoid lucosade and gatorade and go with something a little more suitable from the local bike shop. Science in Sport make some good stuff.

You might want to start soon than later because your interest might wane a little during the winter months.
We went for what I thought was going to be a 25 mile ride a couple of weeks ago and had only eaten a piece of pizza the whole day. It turned into a 45 mile ride and I hadn't eat anything since for seven hours, when we got to the 40 mile mark I was starting to hit a wall. Like the others mentioned drink and eat.. It was around 8:00pm and we were out in the country, went by a house were someone was bbqing something on the grill at the 40 mile mark and caught a wiff and that's all it took I was starving from that point on I just didn't realize it until then.;) The more that you can get out and put some miles on your bike the better off you will be. Have fun..

The actual distance shouldn't be a problem for you unless you have some joint problems ... but, you do need to be comfortable SITTING on your bike for short rides, first, of course -- ensuring you have the right saddle for you based on whatever riding position you choose (upright, or not) is definitely important.

As others have noted, your main concern will be having sufficent water + easily digested food (e.g., fig newtons). Charity rides frequently have 'feed' stations ... but, you'll want to carry at least one water bottle on your bike (or, use a hydration pack).

Cycling shoes will help.

Modern cycling jerseys are made with a fabric which breaths better than regular fabric.

Sun glasses will help keep the wind out of your eyes ... I wear goggles when it gets windy.

A helmet is a good idea, if you don't already have one ... whichever helmet you get, you want it to be comfortable when you are wearing ... less expensive helmets seem to have fewer vents ... vents are a good thing, but you don't have to spend more than about £40 (retail) for a reasonably good helmet.

Don't forget the Sun Screen!