One week until #RideLondon

Monday, July 25, 2016

Today was my last training ride in prep for Ride London.  It was nearly 40 miles and my legs were heavy the entire way.  I only rode 8 miles yesterday on my Brompton, so I didn't expect it to be so tough.  But 'what can you do?' as my great Aunt Mary would say.

If this is your first year taking part in Ride London, check out my race recap from 2013 (note it is not actually a race, but a ride).  I also rode in 2014, but that year there was a hurricane, so the route was cut down to 86 miles and it was just miserably wet.  I skipped the race recap and it was (hopefully) a unique experience.

Have you thought about the little things yet for the race?  You have a week to get your last bits and bobs sorted.  This is a head-to-toe packing list for a running race, but to it I would like to add for Ride London, specifically:

-spare inner tube
-air pump
-tire levers
-cycling shoes (if you are wearing other shoes to the event)
-2 water bottles
-fuel you have been training with
-cash for more inner tubes, bike repairs, or snacks along the way

Last week on Instagram, I posted a few reminders about figuring out what fuel you are going to use (Clif Shot Blocks and ORS tablets will be provided) and how you are going to carry everything (seriously, practice this one as you might need to buy a new bike bag).  We found a little mobile phone holder on Groupon and use that to hold extra hydration tablets and my portable battery charger.

A photo posted by James Millington (@geographer_jim) on

I had a few hours on my bike today and though of a few more reminders.

1.  Wear sunscreen.  Riding 100 miles with a sun burn and possibly sun stroke is no fun.  Make sure you pick a brand that won't drip off of your face too.

2.  Know how to change a tire and how to put your chain back on.  These two tasks might seen easy, but in the heat of the moment, can you pull them off?  If you don't want your hands to get dirty, keep a pair of disposable gloves in your bag.

3.  Arrange where you are meeting friends and family ahead of time.  Chances are, either your phone battery will be dead from using Strava or the networks will be jammed from so many people trying to do the same thing.  I think there might be signs with letters to meet by at the finish.  Pick a seldom-used letter, like Z, that is less likely to be crowded.  I recommend the Life360 app as it gives people in your 'family' an idea of where you are. You can also message everyone at once to let them know your progress.

4.  Nothing new on race day. I mean it!  No new shorts, socks, shirts, underwear, shoes, etc.  100 miles is a long time to be uncomfortable.  If you need to get something, get it today and go on a ride with it.  For example, a bike computer is really handy but you will need to know how to use it before the race so you can focus on riding in a group.

5.  Take on food and water regularly.  Fuelling is a huge part in getting you across the finish line.  Take on water every 15 min (sip little and often) and eat a little something 45-60 minutes.

6.  Know the courteous hand signals to alert riders of hazards.  Here are some key ones from British Cycling.  Don't be afraid to use your bell too if you are passing someone or need them to be aware of your presence.

7.  Use a rucksack (or something similar) to carry your official Ride London bag in when cycling to the start line.  It is one of the most challenging bags to cycle with, between slipping around and the strings rubbing into your skin.  Either practice riding with it before hand (with it filled up), or wear a different bag that can fit inside of it for the official bag transport.

7.  Keep walking after the race and stretch out too.  You will probably be stiff the next day, but it is worth it every time you look at your new medal.

8.  Remember it is not a race!  There will be lots of people on the road of varying abilities.  Please always be aware of who is around you.  Take descents cautiously and when in doubt, slow down.  It is refreshing not to have to share the road with cars, but that doesn't mean you should be reckless.

9.  Have fun!  This event is truly unique and will be once of the most memorable you will ever take part in.  Enjoy every minute.

Anything else I have missed about Ride London?  If so, please leave a comment below.


  1. Great post! I'm sure I'll be referring to this in the lead up to my ride in September! ...I know I'l speak to you before, but good luck for the day! Look forward to reading your recap!

  2. Thanks Elle, I want to keep my riding up so let me know when you want to head out for a spin :)


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