Big miles mean big smiles, but you don’t want to find yourself slowing everyone down because you’ve forgotten something, you’ve hunger flatted, or your bike isn’t working.
Here’s our ultimate night-before shakedown that’ll set you up for a sound night’s sleep before a big day on the pedals.
1) Boss your bike
Go over your bike with some Allen keys, checking all your bolts are nice and tight, and give your cranks and headset a wiggle to make sure they’re not loose.
Check your tyres for any bits of glass or too much wear and tear. Better to change them now than on the side of a highway while 16 of your riding buddies look on. Get your tyre pressure right, too. Nothing says ‘sorry, I’m running five minutes late’ like discovering 60psi at 5:20am.
Lube your chain and any cables that have been getting grabby.
Give your bike a once-over with a cloth. A clean bike’s a fast bike, after all.
2) Pimp your pockets
How many spares do you need? At least one tube, a pump, and a tyre lever, as well as a multitool. Pack gas cylinders if you can afford them, and an extra tube if you don’t rate your luck. Your spares can be stored in a canister in your second bidon cage, in a seat pack, or in your pockets.
Stash some other essentials: cash, ID, keys, and so on in a ziplock bag. And don’t forget your phone… even if you don’t pack it now!
Don’t be the rider who hits the wall and has to beg for food! You’ll need at least 30g of carbohydrate every hour for a long ride - that’s a gel, a muesli bar, a banana, or a handful of dried fruit. Fill one or two bidons with water or electrolyte and stash them in the fridge. If it’s likely to be really hot, stick one bidon in the freezer and drink it second as it defrosts.
3) Collect your kit
Run around flinging clothes out of drawers, the wardrobe, and the washing basket. Get all your kit together - believe it or not, this will shave minutes off your morning routine. Make sure the chamois and sun creams are handy, too, along with your heart-rate monitor.
Wipe your sunnies and leave them sitting with your helmet and gloves.
Charge your bike computer and stick it on its mount before lights out.
4) Set the alarm
Sleep soundly, you’re ready!