Riding Tips

Training Tips for the last 3 months

Note Well:

Remember the 1965Ride Cycle Tour for Education is a tour and not a race. So we do not prepare to race. Racing does sometimes happen but only in short bursts.

Ultimately you must prepare for long days in the saddle ridden at a comfortable but respectable pace.  This means the training trick is to prepare yourself to ride faster than the actual tour pace so that the pace we ride in April always (usually, most of the time, hopefully) feels comfortable. The worst feeling is the one when you feel you just cannot keep up any longer, and everyone else seems to be cruising.

Our longest day will last about 7 hours; no day will take fewer than around 3 and a half hours.

The training tips below are proposed with these thoughts in mind.

  1. First Principle: Time in the Saddle

Given that we are not preparing to race, time in the saddle is essential. This is NOT a long time in the saddle once or twice a week. It actually means in these last 85 days time in the saddle every day if possible. It does not mean that you have to spend hours every day but at least 20 minutes every day.

The second target you should set yourself is to ride 20 km or more at least 3 times per week, or if you can’t get out then spin for at least an hour 3 times per week

Every week you should have at least one ride that lasts more than 2 hours

  1. Second Principle: Speed

Yup, we did say we are not preparing to race. We are not but you do need to get comfortable both with the thought and reality that we have averaged about 23km/hour in each of the last 8 tours. It is unlikely therefore that we will ride any slower in 2019.

This means you need to aim at an average training speed faster than this; Say 23.5 km/hour. How do we get there?

Once a week you must do speed intervals. This is tough training but pays dividends. Here is a typical interval training day: Ride easily for 10 minutes then start your intervals like this: I minute as hard as you can go, 1 minute easy, 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy and so on until you have completed 10 hard minutes. Then ride back home at a very easy pace.

The next time you do intervals do the warm up for 10 minutes and then go hard for 5 minutes, with a 2 minute break between each hard interval. Try to do 5 hard intervals before returning at an easy pace back to your start.

The third time you do a speed/stamina session like this warm up as usual for 10 minutes and then do a timed 10km hard lap before returning to your start.

You should try to do at least one of the sessions each week.

  1. Third Principle: Rest is Critical

Your body needs time to recover and recuperate to build sustainable strength. Make sure you have one day a week when you do very little. Maybe some stretching; or a nice gentle walk in the park; or a gentle MTB ride; or a gentle jog on the soft grass or beach; or just do nothing. And don’t feel guilty; don’t feel that you are missing out- no FOMO. Quality rest is integral to any quality training programme.

  1. Fourth Principle: Sleep is Non-Negotiable

When you are working your body in training and still doing all the other things that us adults have to do – you need to make sure you are getting quality sleep. In bed before 22:00. Aim at 7 to 8 hours a night. Switch off all electronics at 20:00 – put them in another room or in a drawer if possible. Quieten your system for the hour before sleep. Read a good book, don’t watch a scary movie, etc.!

  1. Fifth Principle: Eat Healthy

It has oft been said that we are what we eat. There are few things truer than this when preparing for a long ride. So here are some tips for what to eat; and what not:

  • Avoid processed foods
  • Reduce sugar, bread, beer, and alcohol
  • Focus on fresh whole foods – veggies and fruit are critical
  • Increase your intake of fermented foods (like kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, maas{amaas} and yoghurt (Bulgarian sugar-free) as these assist your body’s metabolism
  • Do not suck the energy gels and the like on training rides – train your body to process and metabolise natural foods. If you need the gels on the actual tour these will then have much more effect
  • Eat a good wholesome breakfast and lunch; and have a lighter meal in the evening preferably at least 2 – 3 hours before bed
  1. Sixth Principle: Drink Effectively

We are 80% water and need to keep this proportion balanced. To do this the research shows that we need to consume 300ml water (Note: water, not coffee, tea, beer, etc.) per 10kg of body weight per day. When you are exercising you use up water so the need to stay in balanced hydration becomes even more critical. Do not over hydrate either. That is potentially even more dangerous than dehydration.  As a rule of thumb this means a cycle bottle of water every hour.  But we all have individual needs so experiment to find your balance.

  1. Seventh Principle: Share your Experience: Ride with others, talk to your friends, co-cyclists, family

Critical to making this the memorable experience it should be is to share every element of it with those around you. This will build your support base (who will help you through those tough times); it will encourage your brain to fully realise how important this all is to you; it will focus you on a positive lifestyle that will have long term positive benefits; and, of course, it will spread the message of our contribution to building our nation.

  1. Final Principle: Have Fun

There are few things more rewarding than giving to others especially that which is not easily accessible to them without help. It is great to do good while having fun. The aim of the 1965Ride is to have fun while doing good. This principle must cover your training as well. Make your rides interesting. It is good to do some training on your own but it is so much fun to share these experiences with others. Your orientation should be to learn a lot about yourself and have fun while doing good!


Healthy Exercise

Exercising Safely

Exercise injuries are incredibly common, but they’re largely avoidable.

By listening to your body and respecting your needs, you can avoid exercise related accidents.


Have you ever pushed through a run even though your ankle really hurt?

Or ignored that deep, nagging pain in your hip that’s been going on for months?


Pushing through pain and ignoring your body almost always does more harm than good, and it can often lead to injury.

Follow these ten tips to avoid injury and stay strong and healthy so you can keep working out and feeling great.

If you’re in serious pain, don’t force yourself to work out anyway.

  • Muscling through will do much more harm than

Take at least one day off from exercise per week.

  • This is preventive. If you give your muscles one day of complete rest to repair and rebuild, you’ll reduce the risk of injury. For some people, this may simply mean targeting different muscle groups rather than taking a day

Stretch before and after exercise.

  • Imagine a frozen rubber band – it would snap if you pulled it, right? Now imagine a warm rubber band – it can stretch much farther and is much more flexible. Your muscles are the same. You need to warm up and stretch them out before you dive into vigorous

Complement high-impact activities with alignment-based exercises.

  • Yoga balances running, swimming, biking, and other vigorous forms of exercise. It releases muscle and fascia tension so you can train harder and get stronger without injuring yourself. Pilates, dance, barre, and other alignment-based activities can also help strengthen your core, improve your form, and allow your body to move

Maintain bone health through diet.

  • By consuming plenty of calcium from green vegetables, small fish (like sardines), and dairy – if your body can handle it – you’ll maintain strong bones and protect yourself from injury. Weight-bearing activities, such as weight lifting, running, and gymnastics, also help promote bone density and slow bone loss.

Fuel properly.

  • Your body needs the right fuel to function. Protein, carbs, and fat are the building blocks that make up every cell, bone, and muscle in your body and give you the energy to move your body. Especially if you work out vigorously, you need to maintain a proper diet with adequate calories and nutrients to stay strong and reduce the risk of injury.

Reduce inflammation.

  • Workouts can cause inflammation, but you can help reduce this effect by including a variety of anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, like turmeric, berries, salmon, and dark, leafy greens. For a non-dietary approach, try taking an Epsom salt bath, which is anti-inflammatory and used to relieve muscle tension and soreness.

Stay focused.

  • Many of us like to do several things at once, but when it comes to exercise, staying focused can help you move safely and reduce the risk of injury. When you’re distracted, you’re more likely to get injured as you won’t have your full attention on the exercise you’re doing.

 If you’re in chronic pain, get it checked out sooner rather than later.

  • If you’ve been experiencing low-grade pain for a while but have brushed it off as nothing, have it checked out just to be sure. Waiting may put you at risk for a more serious

Know your body.

  • You know your body better than anyone, so if something doesn’t seem right to you, take a modification that fits your needs. It’s easy to sometimes feel pressure to do what those around you are doing, especially when you’re working out in a group setting. Find the pace that works for you and individualize your workout to your needs – sometimes that’s a long child’s pose, sometimes it’s running an extra mile. We change daily, so be patient and check in with yourself often.


Ready to Ride the 1965Ride?

Here is what you need to do!

  1. Have a Plan.

Winging it is fine sometimes, but it doesn’t quite cut it when you want to achieve something great. Truly remarkable accomplishments, whether finishing your first century ride or lining up for your first race (yes, it could happen), require careful planning and execution.

  1. Be Prepared to Scrap the Plan.

You’re scheduled for three sets of high-speed spin-ups, and your legs feel like they’re churning through wet cement. Try a couple efforts to see if they come around. If they do not, your body is telling you it hasn’t recovered from your latest effort. Take the day easy and hit it hard tomorrow instead. Your plan should be etched in clay for molding it to your needs, not in stone for hammering yourself with.

  1. Ride at the Extremes.

Many cyclists never go hard enough or easy enough to make big gains. Instead, they spend most of their rides going comfortably hard. Once a week, go so hard your eyes hurt. Follow it with a ride so slow the snails yawn. The combination makes legs strong.

  1. Be True to Thyself.

Most cyclists are pack animals by nature. Enjoy the camaraderie, but don’t let your training goals get trashed by the constant KOM (king of the mountain) contests, town line sprints, and all-hard, all-the-time mentality of the group. If you can’t trust yourself to sit in and go easy when you need to, ride alone.

  1. Do What Sucks.

You hate climbing because it’s hard for you. You should climb because it’s hard for you.

  1. Think Progressively.

Do more than log kilometres. Don’t leave behind the drills just because a training plan has ended. Do intervals, cadence rides, and other specific workouts designed to progressively challenge your body in different ways from week to week. Give every ride a goal.

  1. Maintain the Human Machine.

Keep strengthening your core and other stabilising muscles. Keep stretching. By keeping your supporting muscles strong and joints flexible, you can avoid an achy back, tight hip flexors, and other overuse injuries that can weaken even the strongest cyclist.

  1. Train Your Brain.

Your body can do more than you think. Convince it using your brain, through positive self-talk and visualisation. You’ll be surprised by what you accomplish when you say you can.

  1. Eat.

Fuel is everything for accomplishing big goals like century rides or multi-day charity rides. Train your belly like you do your legs. Fuel your workouts with the same foods you eat on event day. You’ll ride faster in practice and digest better when it counts. Don’t be afraid to experiment. There are dozens of different energy concoctions for a reason. No one diet works for everyone.

  1. Enjoy the Ride.

You have a job. Presumably, riding’s not it. Work hard at it. But never make it work.

This text originally appeared in Bike Your Butt Off!



Cycling Kit

·         Cycling shorts (at least 3 good quality) and tops (as per the “What to wear list” or your own where you don’t have from previous years). If you don’t want to wash clothes on the ride bring enough for each day or wash – it’s easy too! (NB>There are limited washing facilities at some overnight stops. If it is wet drying the kit for the next day could be a problem)

·         2 pairs of gloves

·         Helmet

·         Cycling shoes. If you have a second pair of cycling shoes bring them in case it rains.

·         Lightweight fold up waterproof/resistant cycling jacket

·         Arm and leg warmers, especially for chilly mornings

·         Shammy cream or gel equivalent for those long days in the saddle

·         Sunglasses

·         Sunscreen – make sure that it proects from wind and sun; it must nourish your skin for long days of exposure

·         2 Water bottles each will be provided

·         Buff – great for keeping your neck warm on chilly mornings and your helmet more comfortable every day


Luggage space in the support vehicles is limited.

Each participant is restricted to 2 pieces of luggage: 1 medium suitcase (preferably a soft duffel bag) and 1 compact day bag.

Please label your bags.


•    Warm, casual clothes for the evenings and comfortable casual shoes

•    Slops, strops or sandals are always good

•    Toiletries

•    Medication

•    Bring Smart Casual clothes if you plan attend any of the Queen’s Reunion activities that require this

•    A few Rands for alcohol (what’s that?) and any extras / souvenirs you

might like to purchase along the way


Cycling spares

Only bring spares if your bike has a unique requirement such as special spokes. We will have spares (Tyres, Tubes, and so on) on consignment from Cycle Repair Centre.

However, it’s probably a good idea to keep the following items in your saddle bag: a spare tube, puncture repair kit, bomb, tyre levers.

We will bring chain cleaning supplies for the mandatory halfway bike wash.



NB:  A good sense of humour and a desire to participate!



We will provide tea and coffee for our rest stops. Bring your own if you have a special requirement.

We will have some endurance replenishment supplements but bring your own energy drink mix just in case.

We will provide Debbie Neilson’s delicious crunchies, as well as assorted other rusks, sweet and savoury snacks for en route. But again, if you have a specific something you like to snack on, please bring it.


Remember to bring …

A small tog bag (referred to above) to keep in the support vehicle with all your gear for the day; and to store things like your wallet, camera, sunblock, etc. (The suitcases are often hard to get to while we are on the road).

Washing powder (there are very limited washing facilities en route so most of us just wash a few things every few days).

Anti-cramp tablets if you’re prone to cramping.


Sundry items

Cell phone (essential unless you wish to remain incommunicado)

Bathing costume & towel

Cap or hat

Own medication (There will be basic first aid kits in the support vehicles)

Plastic bags to seal your dirty washing

Medical aid card ***


Chargers for all your devices 🙂

Sunlight liquid and a bottle brush – for keeping your water bottles clean

Ziploc bags for cell phones and other small items that can’t get wet.