How To

How to plan the perfect base training ride

Deciding distance, layering, fuelling, monitoring effort, and carrying spares


Now there’s nothing worse than planning your training and dedicating precious time only to get half way around your loop before being plagued by a mechanical. Whilst you can’t fix everything on the fly provided your equipment is regularly maintained you should be able to overcome most adversities, thus preventing an emergency phone call to a significant other or, at worst, a very long walk home. With road conditions generally worse in the winter, awash with gravel and surface water, don’t leave the house without the essentials.

While you may not be able to mend everything out on the road, with the right spares you should come pretty close. pic: ©Mike Cotty

Keep pockets free for food, mobile phone, money and any extra clothing. Use a saddle bag to stow essential spares including a couple of inner tubes, tyre levers and multi-tool (with chain splitter). Wrap inner tubes in a plastic bag to prevent anything else from chaffing on the tubes during riding and throw a couple of glueless patches in just in case. A spare inner gear cable takes up little space and can be a real life saver as is a good pump – fitted to the bike so you don’t forget it – you’ll only realise your mistake when it’s too late! Don’t forget that an energy bar wrapper can be used to great effect to line the inside of a tyre should you gash a sidewall and, although not a spare, remember to carry some for of identification with an emergency contact number.

Good luck with your winter miles! If you have any questions, get in touch @cottydale, and I’ll do my best to help. You can find me on Google+, too.

Mike Cotty

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