For those of you who have never participated in a multi-day ride, you may be asking yourself: how do I get physically ready?
PALM is geared toward families and beginners and the daily mileages reflect that. However, how easy the ride will be for you, and especially how much you enjoy yourself, is directly proportional to how well you prepare.
The first thing to do is to make sure your bike is in good working order. (See Mechanic’s Corner.) If you can’t work on your bike yourself, take it to your local bike shop. While you’re there, ask them to see if the bike is properly setup for you. Have them look at the seat’s height, tilt, and fore-aft position, as well as the handlebar position, to be sure everything is set up properly for you when you ride. Remember that these are starting positions and, as you ride, you may want to make additional adjustments. Ask the shop how to make the adustments so that you can do them yourself. Here is a video showing you how.
Now that your bike is ready for you, you need to get ready for your bike. There is no magic involved here. It basically comes down to spending as much time in the saddle as possible. Start riding in the spring as soon as the weather permits. Try to ride at least 3 times a week. How far to ride is up to you but, in the beginning, try for at least 10 miles. After 2 weeks, add 5 to 10 miles to each ride. Again, after a few weeks add another 5 to 10 miles per ride. Continue this gradual building up until you get to at least one 50-mile ride each week right up to PALM.
The “secret” is to not only build up your muscles and aerobic capacity, but to become comfortable in the riding position and especially the saddle. Everyone, even Lance Armstrong, gets a sore posterior. Remember, PALM is not a race. Take a “butt break” every 15 minutes or so while riding. Stand on the pedals and stretch. Get off the bike for at least few minutes every 10 to 20 miles. You have all day to get to the next site and there’s plenty to see.
If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.
PALM Bicycle Education Committee