Top 10 Around The Bay Tips

20 10 2008

Yesterday was the annual Around the Bay in a Day ride in Melbourne.  It’s a spectacular thing to see over 30,000 cyclists take part in a ride that goes either 210km or 250km. There are few places in the world with this much enthusiasm and participation in cycling.

An event like this inevitably brings out all the “weekend warriors” and “once a yearers”.  The day provided heaps of cycling tips to share but here are the top 10 Around the Bay tips from yesterday’s ride.

10. The Fan – one cyclist pulled up to us while we had an echelon going and told us we should be riding one directly behind the other in a cross-headwind, to do “the fan”.  I have no idea what he was talking about and I don’t think he did either.  This is when we get our once a year ego boost and put the pace up to 50km/hr showing him our version of “the fan”.

9. To the above point, when riding in an echelon pull off into the wind!  People get this wrong more often than not.

8. Shoulder check before blindly swerving into the middle of the road. Unbelievable how many potential accidents were caused by lack of shoulder checking.

7. Don’t get too excited and pull too hard through your turns.  This really ruins a good pace line. Again, see Echelon in the Crosswinds.

6. Don’t come to a dead stop in the middle of the road for a rest. Yes, people actually do this!

5. When passing slower riders, don’t dodge them like it’s a slalom ski event (especially when there’s a group of 200 on your wheel!)

Not only punters make mistakes. Here are some of  the rookie mistakes that myself and my fellow riders made yesterday:

4. Only one bottle of water in 150km.  Bad idea….especially the first 150km.

3. Not checking the weather forecast and not bringing extra clothing.  Weather conditions are generally pretty mild here in Melbourne but 13 degrees and rain gets cold no matter where you are. If in any doubt, always bring arm warmers and a vest.

2. Don’t eat food that crumbs easily (rice cakes, potatoes, banana bread, etc). The crumbs and bits get stuck in the throat easily, making it difficult to eat.  The more uncomfortable it is to eat, the less you will eat.  I’ll write more about this one later…

1. 250km is a long way.  No need to have your heart up at 180bpm in the first 20km.  A wise coach once told me, “start a ride slow, finish fast”. I have yet to learn this…