Because of the multiple route options, and different ages and abilities, everyone trains differently for the Breast Cancer Ride. Some put in a few miles while others only take a few days off. How you train is up to you and your body but we do have some suggestions for those looking for more support.
NOTE: It is a good idea for everyone to get checked out by their doctor before embarking on a training program.
Each person is different. No matter what your cycling ability, you need to plan your training in incremental stages. This is a ride, not a race. Your goal in training should be focused being able to comfortably finish the mileage you will be selecting on the day of the Ride.
You will enjoy the Ride if you pace yourself and listen to your body. Pushing yourself too hard might make you susceptible to injury and will only take the enjoyment out of your experience.
Once you have determined what your cycling ability is, you will need to map out a training program that fits your needs. If you have not been on a bike for years, regardless of your physical shape, you need to start by riding mostly flat terrain and very few miles. With each subsequent ride you should increase your mileage in small increments. You need to get your body accustomed to this type of exercise.
Before we begin, another great resource is our Bike and Helmet Guide.
10 Steps To Get In Gear
Step 1 - Check in with our official bike tech sponsor, Erik's Bike Shops: Ask Erik's personnel for training tips based on your fitness level and experience. Check out the latest cycling gear, accessories and apparel. Erik's Bike Stores can assist with all cycling needs.
Step 2 - Track Your Mileage: Assess your improvement. Finding the distance of a particular training route with a car’s odometer is generally sufficient for tracking training miles.
Step 3 - Start With Short Rides: Take a week to work up to a moderate day of 15 miles. Don’t worry about time or speed on these rides. The purpose is to gain and maintain basic cardiovascular fitness. Join a training ride, feel what it’s like to ride in a pack.
Step 4 - Double Up Miles: After building up to 15 miles, try an endurance day of 30 miles once a week. Maintain the same pace established on moderate days, but slow down if necessary to make the full mileage. The purpose is to gain distance, confidence and better cardiovascular fitness.
Step 5 - Master The Ups and Downs With Hills and Intervals: After mastering the basics, challenge yourself with advanced training. After warming up with a moderate ride, ride a hill without exhausting yourself. After pedaling uphill, recover on the way down and repeat. As your fitness improves, add more repeats.
Step 6 - Participate In Training Rides: Take part in a training ride or two to further learn the dynamics of cycling in a large group. Also, if you are riding in cold weather, make sure to read this to protect your knees!
Step 7 - Safety Tips:
1) Always ride to the right, leaving room to pass on your left. If you don't you could force another Rider into traffic, causing serious injury or death.
2) Ride single file. Don't weave.
3) No drafting. Drafting can cause pile-ups. It's not permitted on the Ride.
4) Always make left turns from the center of the road.
5) When stopping, let others know of your intentions by sounding off and using hand signals. Pull to the right side of the road immediately upon stopping.
6) Always be on the lookout for car doors being opened by motorists.
7) Always cross railroad tracks at right angles.
8) Avoid open cracks in the road, sand and loose gravel-remember to alert Riders behind you of the danger. (You can do that by calling out "gravel" or "rough road").
9) Cooperate with Ride officials at all times. Officers, local law enforcement, Ride staff, and route monitors will be patrolling the event - please obey their instructions and signals.
10) Always obey local traffic laws: Stop at all stop signs. Signal all turns. Don't cross yellow lines in your lane.
Step 8 - Basic Bicycling Equipment:
- Bicycle (mechanically safe and in good working order) (mandatory)
- Helmet (ASTM, Snell, ANSI or CPSC approved) (mandatory)
- Water bottle (2 highly recommended) (1 mandatory)
- Portable pump (mandatory)
- Patch kit (mandatory)
- Tire Irons (mandatory)
Other recommended items:
- Small bicycle tool kit
- Hand wipes or hand sanitizer
- Hydration pack
- Under seat bag to carry extras
- Spare tube (highly recommended)
- Pedal cages or clipless pedals
- Lip balm with sunscreen
- Bike computer
Step 9 - Recommended Cycling Clothes: Prepare for all weather conditions - plan to layer.
- Padded cycling shorts
- Cycling jersey
- Rain jacket
- Fleece vest
- Leg or knee warmers or tights(not padded)
- Arm warmers
- Padded cycling gloves
- Bike socks
- Bike shoes (if you have clipless pedals)
Step 10 - Recommended Nutrition/Hydration:
- Water in bottle (1 bottle of water is mandatory) or hydration pack
- Electrolyte drink in bottle (Gatorade or similar)
- Nutrition bar (Clif, Power, Luna, etc.)
Minnesota State Law Requires:
- That a bicycle be considered a vehicle with the same privileges and restrictions as a car.
- That you obey all traffic laws, traffic signals and stop signs.
- That you ride with the traffic -- NOT against it.
- That you use hand signals to indicate your intentions.
- That you wear a helmet!
The BCR also encourages words of kindness and concern:
- Good morning/afternoon
- How are you doing?
- Looking good...what's your (bike) number?
- Nice legs!
- You can do it!
- Don't forget to hydrate.
- Everything okay? Let me help you.
- We are almost at the next pit stop, you can do it.
These might seem corny, but during these long days on the road anyone of us will feel tired or lethargic from time to time. Friendly comments can be just the catalyst to spur someone up that hill or bring them out of a funk they might be experiencing. Riding a bike such long distances can be hard even for the most experienced rider.
Hand and Verbal Signals
Since bikes are not equipped with brake or turn lights you must use your arms and hands to indicate your intentions:
To signal a left turn: Put your left arm straight out to the left indicates left turn.
To signal a right turn: Put your left arm at right angle with hand pointing up indicates a right turn.
To signal that you are slowing and stoping: Put your left arm at a right angle with the hand pointing down indicates slowing and stopping. It is also good to announce "slowing" or "stopping" to alert those who may be behind you.
The three signals above are required by law. We go the extra mile in safety signals by using our hands and vocal chords to do the following:
- Point out road obstacles i.e. rocks, gravel, broken glass, drainage grates, and pot holes.
- Using your right arm to point, and then call out, car right when you see an automobile exiting from a driveway or intersection.
- Always use your arms as pointers and your voice to draw attention to any impending obstacles.
- The following Call Out signals are mandatory for all cyclists. Never think that someone else is loud enough for the cyclist in front of you to hear them, always add your voice and "pay it forward or backward" -- depending on the situation at hand. For example, when coming to a stop with 20 fellow cyclists, ALL 20 cyclists should be calling out, Stopping! This keeps everyone alert and being alert is "smart cycling".
- "Car back" -- used when you hear a car approaching from your rear. "Car up" -- used when riding on a narrow roadway and you have a car approaching you.
- "On Your Left" -- used EVERY TIME you pass another cyclist. Always check behind you before passing and call out your intention BEFORE you are alongside the cyclist you are overtaking. NEVER pass another cyclist when a car is approaching from behind you. If you are being passed by another cyclist please move as far right as is SAFELY possible. You must pass in single file, never in tandem or more -- this is very unsafe as you will be crowding into the oncoming traffic lane.
- "Door" -- used when riding along parked cars. Watch all cars that are parked and if you see someone in the driver's seat call out "Door" to signal to the cyclists behind you that a car door could open at anytime.
- "Tracks" -- used when approaching railroad tracks. Always cross railroad tracks at a 90-degree angle to avoid getting your tires trapped in the tracks.
- "Slowing" -- used when slowing to make a stop or beginning to pull off the road to stop.
- "Stopping" -- used after you call out slowing and are ready to come to a full stop. If you are stopping to rest or stretch or even, god forbid, change a flat, it is crucial that you pull completely off the bicycle lane of traffic.
- "Turning" -- used when making any type of turn and always in conjunction with the appropriate arm turn signal.
- "Merging" -- used when you have been stopped and are getting ready to rejoin the bike lane of traffic.