Before You Set Off
Follow these top tips to ensure you - and your bike - are ready to ride…
- Firstly, make sure that your bike fits you, don’t try to fit yourself to an unsuitable machine. Adjustments can be made to fine-tune saddle and handlebar position, but it is as well to start with the correct-sized frame. Take advice from a qualified coach or a good bike shop – many now offer professional bike fitting services.
- Get used to checking and pumping tyres to the recommended pressure for efficiency and safety when riding sportives. In wetter weather consider a lower tyre pressure for more grip. Make a habit of quickly checking brakes, tyres, wheels and transmission before every ride.
- Carry a spare inner tube (or two) and a puncture repair kit, together with the necessary tyre levers AND a working pump on all rides, as well as a small multi tool. Even if you have difficulty handling repairs, it is as well to have the means for someone to help you.
- Check your gear ratios. Is the cassette right for your style of riding and the event chosen? Would a larger sprocket help you climb a little easier? If you are thinking of changing your gears, allow time to make the changes and check with your supplier as to whether the derailleur is compatible with the intended ratios. Bear in mind that you could need a new chain as well. It is as well not to make such changes the day before your big ride!
- Check the indexing of your gears. Make sure that the changes are smooth, tweaking the adjusters where necessary. Ensure this is completed a few days prior to the target event.
- Correct brake pad alignment will give better and safer braking. The blocks should be slightly toed in at the front, so that the block closes on the rim correctly. This correction will improve performance and give more confidence when descending.