Welcome Newbies! We’re so excited that you’ve decided to launch your cycling career on The Great Big FANY Ride. Please feel free to Contact Us with any questions you have because we want you to be completely comfortable with this fun adventure you’re joining.
A big thing to remember is to Ride at Your Own Pace. Even though this will be your first long ride, it doesn’t mean that you have to bike it all at once. Stop and smell the roses. Explore local points of interest. Eat at farm stands. What is the average length of your training rides? Think of the route each day as several of your training rides, and then rest when you finish a usual training ride, before continuing along the route.
It's guaranteed there are going to be bikers faster and slower than you ... make peace with that and be true to yourself. You came to ride the whole route, and if you ride
faster than you're used to, then you run the risk of burning out early in the ride. Come. Bike happy. You can do it.
In case you’ve just spent all your money on your terrific new bicycle & now have no money left to buy camping gear, not to worry, we have great news! Comfy Campers will be supporting the FANY Ride. They rent tents and air mattresses, AND set them up AND take them down just for you everyday! Contact Comfy Campers directly if you want to "Ride Hard, Sleep Soft."
If you want to buy a tent, talk to a GOOD camping supply store. (Discount chain stores sell tents that are best used only in the back yard.) Tell the salesperson that you'll have to pack your tent & gear inside your 2 tiny 30" x 15" x15" bags, so a tent with the name "circus" or "big top" probably won't be appropriate. A tent with a vestibule will give your bike some shelter outside the tent.
Tiny backpacking tents do pack extremely well, but sometimes when you're in one they're difficult to pull on your bike shorts. Perhaps explore a 2 or even 3 person backpacking tent.
Good tents have screening all inside the top for better venting, and allow "sleeping under the stars" without interruptions from mosquitoes. A rainfly covers your tent for protection from, well, rain. And it also offers privacy. Lots of stuff to consider. Talk to a pro.
People have completed FANY on all types of bikes. If you have a hybrid or comfort bike, and are confident that you’ve trained and can ride 35 or 70 miles a day on it, by all means, bring it.
But, if you only have straight across handle bars, it is strongly recommended that you get some bar
ends to have alternate hand positions, so that your hands and forearms will not fatigue from being in the same position.
Ideally, your bike should be lightweight with lots of gears, especially a GRANNY gear. If you are unfamiliar with the term “GRANNY gear”, run to your local bike store and tell them that you’ll be riding FANY with lots of hills and you want to be sure your gearing is good for hills.
The knobby tires found on most mountain bikes and some hybrid bikes don’t roll on roads as efficiently as smoother tires. If you have knobby tires, you should consider switching to smoother tires to improve rolling resistance and save some of your energy.
Over FANY’s history, we’ve had a few people sit out biking for a day or 2 because their rear derailleur hanger broke. Rear derailleur hangers are often bike specific, and the perfect size for your bike might not be regularly stocked by local bike shops. It’s cheap insurance to order a spare rear derailleur hanger for your specific bike before FANY, and bring it with you in your suitcase.
It’s crucial to have a supply of fluids with you on FANY Ride, but it’s even more important that you’re able to drink it while you are riding. Dehydration can seriously reduce performance, and in extreme cases can lead to death which really ruins a vacation.
The old adage is “on a bike drink before you are thirsty.” Some people have trained themselves to take a drink every so many miles or after so many minutes. Don’t wait to take a drink “at the next intersection” because on some of the rural stretches of the FANY Ride the intersections might be just too far apart.
So what’s the point here?
Make sure that you carry your fluids in a bottle or pack made for biking, so that you can easily and frequently drink. Do NOT use a bottle that requires 2 hands to open it – think of the steering problems that might cause. Do NOT put a thermos in your rack pack – when you’re flying down a quiet back road it’s so bothersome to have to stop and get off your bike to dig out that water. You’re a biker, for heaven’s sake; look like one! Don’t bring your old boy scout canteen or the hard plastic bottle they gave you when you joined the weight loss program.
Figure out if you like the extra capacity that a hydration pack offers, or the reduced weight that two water bottles offer. Then, walk into your local bike store, and with your head held high tell them you’re going on The Great Big FANY Ride and by jingles you want to be certain you’ll be able to stay hydrated.
While you’re in your local bike store, ask them about sports drinks. The Grand Daddy of all sports drinks, Gatorade, was scientifically invented to help the football team at University of Florida perform better. Honest! Go Gators! The magic elements are Sodium and Potassium.
When you sweat you lose electrolytes that water doesn’t replace. So if you drink only water when you bike, your glass is only half full. Some people carry one bike bottle of water, and another with a sports drink. Some bikers fill their hydration packs with a diluted sports drink. Some cyclists start the day with sports drink and switch to water in the afternoon. Find a method that works for you, and then be sure to color coordinate it with your biking wardrobe. Kidding!
The point is to make sure that each day you ride that you re-hydrate and replenish your electrolytes. That’s also why you’ll see some cyclists eating salty foods (to replenish sodium) or bananas (potassium). Aren’t you glad you took chemistry in high school?