Of course, you will need a bike in order to ride Paceline. It’s not imperative whatsoever that you have an expensive bike either! Paceline is not a race and open to all types of riders and bikes! Below are some essential pieces of equipment/accessories that are required or we would strongly recommend to maximize your PACELINE ride experience:
- Helmet (required)
- Cycling shorts with padding
- Cycling Jersey or sweat wicking shirt
- Cycling Gloves
- Cycling shoes/pedals OR general comfortable shoes for platform pedals
- Bike Light - A flashing bike light significantly increases your visibility on the road. Nearly all bike shops carry these type lights
- Saddle Bag with spare tubes/patch kit - CO2 or Mini Pump (Mini Pumps are easier for beginner cyclists)
As you ramp up your training for Paceline, it becomes increasingly important that you are comfortable on your bike. Due to the repetitive nature of cycling, a slight misalignment can create inefficiency or pain. A bike fitting can help correct technique, improve biomechanics and prevent injuries. The majority of bike shops offer bike fitting services where they will set you up on a stationary trainer and perform measurements/analyze your pedaling and body motion. Usually, a good fitting will last anywhere from 45-90 minutes and cost from $75 - $200 depending on the technology used and depth of the fitting.
- Drink! Stay hydrated. Always carry a water bottle with water or other hydrating liquids. A good rule of thumb is to finish a standard water bottle every 45 minutes - 1 hour. This may increase on warmer days and could decrease on cooler days.
- Eat! At Paceline, you will enjoy rest stops every 10-20 miles with lots of calorie options. However, when you’re training these stops will not exist so it’s important that you carry food with you and/or stop at a local convenient store or coffee shop! A good rule of thumb is to consume a few hundred calories per hour to avoid ‘bonking’.
- For rides longer than 30 minutes, we recommend bringing some sort of nutritious snack…now is the time to experiment with nutrition that works best for you.
- Find a brand or flavor that you ENJOY drinking…no matter how good it might be for you, if you don’t like it, you won’t drink it and you’ll be dehydrated.
- For rides greater than 90-120 minutes, consider a product that has protein in the mixture. It might taste a bit gritty, but it aids muscle recovery.
- Beware of overly sugary drinks. Yes, you will need the sugar to some extent; sometimes you can water down these drinks for a better ratio of necessary sugars and electrolytes.
Some General Advice!
- Nutrition and hydration are very important on these routes. Make sure to pack more than you think you need to eat or drink so that you have something before you get hungry or thirsty. Bars, gels, chews are all typically easily digested while riding. A sports drink mix in your water bottle helps with hydration, especially one with a lot of electrolytes and not just sugar. Ultimately, do what works for you. Everyone reacts differently to various types of nutrition. Some love gels, some have a difficult time with them. The same can be said with solid foods. Some love protein, some prefer 100% carbohydrates. During your training it’s okay to test the waters with different type of nutrition.
- If you are a more novice rider, riding in close proximity to other people may be a new experience so learning group ride etiquette is absolutely necessary for safety. Practice riding in groups ahead of the event if possible. Most bike shops have weekly rides as well as rides on the weekends for riders of all ability levels. Typically, these are ‘no drop’ rides that provide a great platform to work on your bike handling. Also, group rides tend to be safer given the higher visibility of riders.
- Regardless of the type of bike you will be riding, we highly recommend taking your bike to the local bike shop and getting a ‘tune up’ where they will inspect your bike and make sure it is Paceline Ride ready! In addition, while there will be plenty of support along the Paceline route, it’s always helpful to know how to change your own flat tire. Any bike shop can teach you how to change a flat.
- Overall, enjoy the process. If you have never ridden consistently before and 20 miles is your goal or you’re a seasoned weekend warrior rider, remember we are one community setting out to ride and create impacting change at the Georgia Cancer Center. We are all family in the fight against cancer.
Advice by Distance
It’s more important to have a comfortable and safe, working bike for the 20-mile route. Riders are less likely to have mechanical issues for the shorter distances, but having a tune-up ahead of the event is highly recommended. Many Riders overlook having a bike that is set up well for their body, so we recommend stopping by a local bike shop to ensure it’s fitted to you, correctly. Riders should expect to be riding anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on skill level.
As your duration and distance get longer you will be more concerned with your equipment’s performance. You don’t need a pro-level bike to enjoy your ride, however, a road bike will be lighter weight and more efficient than a hybrid or comfort bike. We recommend getting accustomed to the bike and how it will impact your body position, as it is in a more aggressive position than your everyday ride. You should expect to be riding for 3-4 hours, and you’ll want to ensure you have stretched and prepared your body for the ride. Shoulder, back, hand, and neck discomfort can be common if not prepared.
Clothing is also very important in these distances. Cycling shorts are a must! Gloves help to improve hand comfort on road bikes, and cycling jerseys offer pockets in the back that can store food, tools, phones, wallets or other small items that you want to have with you. Having a saddle bag is also a great way to care the necessities.
Road etiquette and safely riding around traffic are paramount for long road rides. Clipless cycling pedals/shoes are recommended for these distances. They improve efficiency and comfort significantly. They do require some skill and technique so make sure that you practice ahead of the ride and are comfortable getting in and out of them quickly.
Investing in a higher end bike may be worth your while for these routes. A higher end bike is typically lighter in weight and will help on the training requirements necessary to complete this distance. You definitely will need quite a bit of training ahead of time to be able to comfortably complete this distance! Otherwise, you will be sore, uncomfortable and won’t enjoy your Paceline ride! You will want to build up the distances that you ride slowly over time so that you don’t sustain an overuse injury. We also highly recommend being comfortable with road-ride maintenance because you could be alone at some point in the ride, and knowing these maintenance tasks will allow you to be self-reliant in the event that you should need it. Also, the longer you are riding, the more likely the weather will change throughout your trip. Rain and cooler temperatures can make riding more challenging so we recommend being prepared for anything!