Has it been a while since you've been on your bike?
- Tires: Check the condition of your ties by giving them a squeeze. Look for cracks on the rubber or any damage.
- Air: Look on the tire wall and find the recommended tire pressure (PSI) and pump it up to the mid-range of the recommendation.
- Helmet: Make sure your helmet fits snug and level on your head. It should cover most of the forehead and feel comfortable without much movement.
- Chain: Look at the condition of your chain. It should not have rust or any damage. If it looks dry, lube it up.
- Brakes: Try your brakes and make sure they are engaging and stopping.
- Tighten: Look around your bike and tighten any loose bolts. Make sure your wheel and seat post quick releases are engaged.
Make sure you have the right equipment:
- Trying to ride a bicycle that is not set up correctly is like walking two steps forward and one step back. Everyone is different with respect to leg, arm and torso length, so visiting a specialist bike shop where you can have your saddle, stem and handlebar positions adjusted so that the bike is effectively tailored to your body is an extremely worthwhile exercise.
- Wearing a well-fitting helmet is an absolute must. Modern cycling helmets are lightweight and well ventilated and can literally save your life in an accident.
- Seamless and chafe-free cycling shorts will limit soreness from repeated rubbing and should be a key item in your cycling wardrobe.
- Sunglasses are actually very useful for cyclists; they will keep dirt, dust, flies, and other debris out of your eyes. Some options come with interchangeable lenses that can sharpen your vision in low light conditions, as well as cutting out glare and reflections.
- Clipless pedals enable you to pull up as well as push down, which makes a big difference in your pedaling efficiency. If you’ve not tried them before, start with toe-clips, which are easier to get used to and then progress to trying clipless shoes.
Fuel up for energy:
- Running low on energy will reduce your ability to keep going! Cycling will increase your energy requirements, so aim to eat small, frequent meals and snacks on the go in order to maintain energy levels. Carbohydrate drinks will keep you well fueled, or you could try taking a couple of energy bars or gels, which are easy to eat in the saddle.
- No matter the weather conditions your fluid requirements will increase significantly when cycling. By the time you feel thirsty you will already be dehydrated so try to drink small, frequent quantities of water or a sports energy drink throughout the ride.
Make a plan to get in shape:
- Vary your training between long rides, building towards your target goal, and shorter, high-paced rides. Long rides need to be upwards of one-hour, at least once every two-weeks, to build endurance. During your shorter, face-paced rides you want to push yourself for at least 10-minutes, followed by a recovery period, and repeat. Always include a good warm-up and cool-down before and after your sessions.
- Strengthening is a great way to support your efforts on the bike. The three main areas to focus are legs, arms and back. Flexibility in your chest will make those long rides more comfortable for you, so be sure to stretch frequently.
- Be careful not to over-extend yourself, and train at the right pace for your ability. Avoid too many miles or too high intensity too soon, make sure you get good rest, and focus on a well-rounded training regimen.
You’ve signed up to ride in VeloCity. Now it’s time to think about how to meet your fundraising goals. Here are some tips to help you plan your fundraising strategy:
- First – be sure to up your Pledge Reg account, the online fundraising tool used for VeloCity. You received a link to this easy-to-use platform when you registered. This account lets you tell others why you are riding and makes it easy to ask them to support your efforts on behalf of Grady’s lifesaving care.
- Then, develop your list. Think about all of the potential donors you can ask – people who will want to support you and people who will want to support Grady Hospital. These may be members of your family, co-workers, friends or people you know in the community. You can reach out to people with an email, a personal letter, or using your social media accounts.
- Ask! Being a successful fundraiser is a easy as asking the question. Your ask will be more effective if it is more personal in nature – why you are supporting Grady, why you’ve chosen to participate in this cycling event, why you hope people will support your goals. Be sure to include the link to your fundraising page in all of your communications!
- Ask again! Think about all of the emails you get every day – or all of the posts in your social media accounts. It often takes more than one time to reach your potential donors. And if someone pledges their support, never hesitate to follow up with them. You might even develop a “schedule” for your outreach – putting it on your calendar is a great reminder!
- Say thank you. Make sure to thank people for considering your request, making a donation and helping you reach your goal!