Adam from the Colchester Cycle Store gives us his top tips to ensure a great ride from Edinburgh to St Andrews.

Before the ride:

Now is the time to be checking the condition of your bike so you don’t get any nasty surprises come the Saturday. If they’ve been hiding in a shed or rusting in the basement there could be some basic wear and tear that needs seeing to before the big day.

Adam recommends that you:

  • Check your tyres are pumped to the recommended pressure and that the wheels are tight
  • Check that both your chain and gears are lubricated
  • Test out your breaks to make sure they work (this an important one!!)
  • Ensure your saddle is at the right height – this will make it easier to ride and save your knees from any damage or strain

Cycle attire

While kilts and tartan are welcome, the bike ride is by no means a fashion show. You want to ensure you’re comfortable and wearing the best clothes for your active day.

Adam recommends wearing:

  • a pair of padded cycling shorts
  • lots of layers – what can start off as a chilly ride can soon heat up so having extra layers to pop on and off is key
  • waterproofs are recommended - you never know when it may rain (especially in Scotland)
  • leave the heels at home and opt for sensible footwear - trainers will make your journey a whole lot easier
  • we also have Lepra bike ride t-shirts available to buy in our shop, so not only will you look great but you’ll also have a momento of the day!

What to pack

A small backpack with a few essentials is advised and a few things you should think to include are:

  • A water bottle - Adam says it’s amazing how much water you can get through and it’s important to stay hydrated. If you don’t then you could cramp up!
  • A pair of gloves can stave off the cold
  • Some fuel - energy bars, nuts and even jelly babies can give you a quick energy boost when those hills just seem too hard
  • Tools - we aren’t suggesting you bring the whole kit but a few nifty items can make all the difference: a spare inner tube, a puncture kit and an alan key set can often come in useful

Bike ready, body ready

Besides the bike, it’s also important to check that you are also limbered up and ready to ride. Stretching is a key part of that but you have to be careful not to overstretch. This can often happen if you stretch when cold so Adam recommends perhaps warming up slowly once you’re riding and even having a stretch when you stop for lunch.

During the ride

So you’re off and away…what should you be doing to get the most out of your day?

For starters, you need to pace yourself. Cycling as hard as you can at the start of the ride will only leave you exhausted further down the track. Adam recommends spending some time finding your rhythm. Start off at a comfortable speed rather than hitting it hard and try to compensate for others in your group. Once you’ve worked out a steady speed that feels good for all of you, you’ll feel more comfortable.

Adam’s top tip: Tell people if you’re struggling!

The final stretch (literally)

When it’s all over, you’ve made your way to the idyllic town of St Andrews and dismounted, it’s important to stretch it all out. Just a few gentle exercises can reduce the amount of sore limbs you’ll feel the following day. Adam also says a good rest and a hearty meal is key!

It’s also obligatory to give yourself a good pat on the back, after all you’ve just peddled for poverty and helped us raise vital funds to transform lives!

For more information on the ride itself, click here.