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The Big Canberra Bike Ride 2017 is a fun ride for all ages and abilities, and can be a great challenge. To ensure you get the most out of your ride, take the time to read over the training and preparation information below.

Be Prepared

Keeping Hydrated

After the Ride

Training Tips

Bunch Riding Skills

Is Your Bike A Fit As You Are?

Be Prepared

  • Ride with at least two 750ml water bottles and/or hydration pack.
  • Stop at each refreshment station to have a drink and re-fill your water bottles (it is better to stop, drink and cool down often to prevent dehydration).
  • Protect yourself from sun exposure with SPF30+ sunblock.
  • Wear a jersey made of material that 'wicks' away moisture from the body. Avoid cotton, which can become water logged and cause a chill when wind causes evaporation.
  • Carry a pump, spare tube and puncture repair kit.
  • Carry a mobile phone. 
  • Carry identification and details of an emergency contact.
  • If you experience mechanical problems please rest your bike upside down on its saddle on the roadside so support personnel can easily recognise that you need help.
  • In the event of an accident or breakdown you can be transported with your bike to the next refreshment station or finish. The SAG Wagon follows the last rider and can be contacted on the number provided in your registration pack. 
  • To avoid the SAG Wagon driving past while you are away from the road (toilet stop, sightseeing, etc) please place your bike clearly visible on the side of the road.
  • Look out for other riders. If you find someone in distress, stop and offer help; just being there can provide all the support that is needed.
  • We reserve the right to stop an individual's ride for health and safety reasons.
  • We recommend that all riders insure themselves for Personal Accident and Ambulance Cover. This is available with your Pedal Power ACT membership insurance
  • You are strongly advised to watch the weather forecast prior to the event and carry/wear appropriate clothing and sun protection. The latest weather information can be found on bom.gov.au

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Keeping Hydrated

Heat exhaustion and dehydration can be avoided by following these simple tips:

  • Drink enough fluid to replace your sweat
  • Refill your water bottle at every opportunity
  • Remind your friends and team members to drink
  • Don't ignore the signs of heat exhaustion: dizziness, nausea, fatigue, unsteadiness, weakness, rapid pulse, headache and shortness of breath
  • Call for assistance if you or a fellow rider are showing signs of heat exhaustion

How much fluid does your body need during exercise?

Before: Always start every exercise session well hydrated. Drink 300-500ml of fluid in the 15 minutes before your workout.

During: Aim to drink 150-250ml every 15 minutes to offset fluid losses - drinking smaller volumes more frequently minimizes stomach discomfort. Remember, the more you sweat, the more you need to drink.

After: How much fluid you need depends on how much you lost. Try to drink one litre of water for every hour of exercise.

What should you drink?

We recommend water, but if you're going on a long ride you might need something extra, like a sports drink.

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After the Ride
Stretching may not be at the forefront of your thinking having completed a ride. You may prefer, perhaps, to peel yourself from your saddle and chill out exhausted but happy, following your achievement. However, it cannot be stressed enough the importance of stretching at this point to allow muscles to return to a natural state and to aid the body in its repair.

There will inevitably be an amount of muscle soreness and stiffness approximately 24-36 hours following the ride, but a few minutes spent stretching and cooling down slowly post ride, will go some way to minimising this.

Quad stretch: Standing tall, bend your knee and aim to place your heel on your buttock (holding your raised heel with your opposite hand), keeping your knees close together. Hold for approximately 20-30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

Calf stretch: Standing tall, place one leg in front the other in a long stance. The front knee is bent and the back leg straight press the heel firmly to the floor . Hold for approximately 20-30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

Hamstring stretch: Standing tall, shift your weight onto the back leg from the calf stretch, so the back knee is bent and the front leg is straight. Point your toes away, and lean the body forward until you feel a slight pulling on the back of the straightened leg. Hold for approximately 20-30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

Shoulder & back release: Adopt an all-fours position (think like a cat!). Drop your chin to your chest, round up your back and tuck your pelvis underneath, sit back onto your heels and lengthen your arms forward along the ground. Repeat 4-5 times.

Neck release: From an upright, neutral position.

  1. Relax your shoulders and tilt your head to the right, aiming to touch your ear to your shoulder (do not force your head into that position, stretch only as far as feels comfortable), hold for 4-5 seconds and repeat on left side.
  2. Relax the shoulders and lower your chin toward your chest, bring back up to a neutral position, then look upward, return to the neutral position. Repeat 3 or 4 times.

Sometimes the exhilaration of successfully completing your challenge may make you forget to eat. Ideally, you need to eat within 30 minutes of completing your ride. This gives your body all the necessary nutrients it needs to re-fuel and repair any deficit that may have occurred during the ride.

Don't be surprised if you are constantly ravenous for the next 24 hours. Following any endurance activity the body is using vital energy stores and these need to be replaced. Eat if you feel hungry, but try to eat things that are nutritionally advantageous and slow burning. Proteins are an excellent post-race food group to consume, including nuts, seeds, cereals, poultry or fish.

You may fancy consuming a few beers in celebration but this may have the detrimental effect of dehydrating you. In fact, following an endurance activity, the effects of alcohol can be heightened! Following the ride it is best to keep drinking water and fruit juices to replace fluids that may have been lost throughout the day. That is not to say you should avoid alcohol altogether, but do keep it in moderation and ensure that every alcoholic drink is followed up with a glass of water.

Exercise probably will not be high on the agenda the next day, however, a light, gentle recovery spin for a couple of kilometres and a few of the stretches outlined above, will go a long way to alleviating any stiffness and returning the body to its natural state.

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Training Tips
The challenges of riding 60-120km through hilly terrain with wind and heat is destined to push some riders to their physical and mental limitations if they are not prepared for it. It will therefore help if you go into the ride expecting tough conditions but prepared and confident to overcome these challenges.

By following the guidelines and tips below we hope your ride will be a successful, enjoyable and memorable one.

Unlike the professional cyclist, many of us don't have eight hours a day to train for a long distance cycling event. This makes it more important to get in a training programme that consists of a structure of both higher intensity and long endurance sessions.

For riders working Monday to Friday, it is a good idea to do a higher intensity session on two of these days that are spaced apart from the others to promote recovery. For example Tuesday and Thursday might be good days to do hard training sessions, while Monday, Wednesday and Friday may be a short light recovery ride of 30 minutes to one hour.

What type of high intensity training should I do?
The best type of high intensity training to get fast improvements should consist of short interval training efforts that can be done out on the road or on an indoor trainer. These may include up to 4 or 5 intervals that last about 5 minutes. On a Perceived Exertion Level (PER) of 1 to 10 with 1 being very easy and 10 being extremely hard the PER level should be around 8 or 9. Have a short 5 to 10 minute recovery between each interval and then go again. With a 15 to 20 minute warm-up the whole session should only take 60 to 90 minutes but it will be the equivalent of going out and doing a 3 to 4 hour steady road ride.

What about endurance rides?
If you've got a bit more time on the weekends then this is a good time to do some steady long rides. Aim to do a gradual progression and build up in training in the weeks leading up to it. Each week add about 10km in distance to your previous week's long ride. Two weeks out from the big ride you should be able to complete about two 80km rides in a row or a single 100km ride on the weekend. Try to include some tough climbs in your training rides as well.

Simulate ride day
If this is your first big ride it may be worth going through a ride simulation day where you do everything you expect to do on the day. This includes things such as preparing food, equipment, clothing, drinks and actually doing the ride. Conditions will always be different on the day but experience and preparation can make your ride all the more successful if you have learned from previous mistakes.


Carbohydrate loading before the event
In the week leading up to the event it is important that you keep your training light and easy. A light easy roll is better than no training at all. The movement will promote blood flow to the muscles for recovery while keeping them supple and feeling better and better each day. If you combine this with an increase in carbohydrate meals to 75% of daily calories for the last 4 days before the event then you will be fully energised going into the day of the ride.

The effect of 'carbo loading' has a dual benefit as well by pre-hydrating your body with precious water and therefore reducing possible dehydration on the day. It does this because the body stores 2.7 grams of water for every 1 gram of carbohydrate (glycogen) stored. Don't be alarmed if your weight goes up during this carbo loading period, as it is purely water retention.

Eating and drinking on the day
Don't do anything drastically different to what you would normally do when it comes to your pre -vent meal but try and finish eating a couple of hours before the start of the ride. The last thing you want is an upset stomach because you tried something different to what you'd normally do.

If you've loaded up well your body should be stored with plenty of energy for the ride but you will need to keep topping up throughout the ride with foods that are high in glucose and sugars. Fruit bars, cakes, muesli bars, bananas, jam sandwiches and even a bit of chocolate are all good sources of energy during a ride.

Hydration will be crucial and the best way to tackle this is by drinking glucose polymer sports drinks throughout the ride. They also act as another source of energy. If it's a really hot day start drinking 150 to 250ml every 15 minutes starting a couple of hours out from the start of the event and continue this on throughout the ride.

Pace yourself and stick to a plan
In the excitement of the occasion it is very easy to go out much faster than you planned. Adrenaline and the competitor in you can sometimes take over wanting to keep up with the pack in front. Without a doubt you will probably surprise yourself in your capabilities but initially you should stick to your plan.

Fatigue and dehydration can come on very quickly when everything seemed completely fine only moments before so go steady early on then come home strong at the end if you feel good. That way you will finish on a real high and enjoy the ride a whole lot more. Have fun and good luck!

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Bunch Riding Skills

First and foremost, obey the law!
Stop at red lights and at other appropriate times. Running lights runs the risk of accident and serious injury, you may be lucky and get through without incident, but the riders following you may believe it is safe to do so without having the benefit of the field of view you have. Let's be safe together.

Good bunches also look after their riders by: 

  • Stopping to help fix small mechanical problems and punctures quickly, so that inexperienced riders are not left behind to fend for themselves
  • Regrouping after hills or other difficulties to keep everyone together
  • Waiting for the others if the group gets split up by a changing traffic light
  • Helping the less experienced riders with tips and a helping hand when needed
  • Working as a group. For example, the front riders calculate actions for the group as a whole to ride safely not just themselves, and the tail end riders should assist the group negotiate lane changes by acting as the rear turn indicators and signalling when the road is clear of traffic.


  • Obey the law
  • Check out what is happening around and ahead of you, don't look at the wheel in front - only the back of the rider & beyond
  • If you are leading the group, act responsibly for the sake of all the riders behind you, not just yourself
  • Keep your braking, changing direction and other movements progressive
  • Signal hazards to the other riders of your group
  • Place yourself to maintain a safety run-out directly in front
  • Welcome new members to the bunch
  • Look after everyone in it by stopping to assist with mechanicals and incidents
  • When in front, remember you have the responsibility of guiding the whole group who are following along behind you

This bunch riding fact sheet was written by Stephen Hodge and supported by the Amy Gillett Foundation.

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Is Your Bike As Fit As You Are?
You have been training for the ride, but what about your bike? Can it keep up with you? Not sure? Then you should give your bike a thorough tune-up, or get your friendly bike shop to help you. If your bike is as well prepared as you, there will be less likelihood of mechanical problems occurring, so you can relax and enjoy the ride!

Here is a list of items that you need to check on your bike: 


All the bearings

  • Wheel bearings, front and rear
  • Headset
  • Bottom bracket
  • Pedals


Drive train

  • Chain (has it stretched - i.e., worn - beyond its limit?)
  • Chain rings
  • Cogs: If any one of the drive train components is suspect the other components need to be carefully assessed also. Worn drive train components can lead to poor gear shifting, or the chain slipping.
  • Cranks and chain ring bolts should be tight
  • Gears
  • Derailleurs
  • Cables: Replace any frayed cables, or any cracked or broken cable outers
  • Shifters: Gripshift style (twist) shifters need to be cleaned and lubricated from time to time



  • Pads
  • Not too worn, properly aligned (disc brake pads wear too)
  • Pads (rim type or disc) not dragging
  • Cables - as for gears above
  • Hydraulic discs - should not be spongy



  • Check for buckles, large or small
  • Buckled wheels will also affect braking performance
  • Check for broken or loose spokes



  • Performing correctly, without leaks, rattles, or backwards and forwards play
  • Accessories (racks, lights, drink bottle cages, etc.) should be tight, not broken, and with all the correct fixings.


Spare tool that you should bring with you include:

  • Spare tubes of the correct size for your wheels and tyres
  • Patch kit and tyre levers
  • Bicycle pump
  • Basic tools (Philips and flat screwdrivers, Allen keys or spanners) or a multi-tool


Talk to your bike shop about the need to take any special tools specific to your bike.


With a well-prepared bike you should be able to enjoy a trouble free ride.