Your Bike and Equipment
Whatever bike you have we look forward to meeting you on the start line and cheering you in to the finish in Paris.
It is important that you have a suitable bike in good condition, in order to complete the London To Paris Bike Ride 2014. You will enjoy your training and completing this challenge in greater comfort and ease and you will be able to appreciate the beautiful scenery by having the best bike for the job.
We recommend that you use a road bike with drop handle bars or a road bike with flat handle bars. Road bikes are light and fast and will help you eat up the miles and fly up the climbs. Tyres will also have a very large impact on speed; slick/skinny road tyres are best. We recommend you go for a good quality puncture resistant tyre and make sure your tyres are fairly new before starting the London To Paris Bike Ride to avoid unnecessary repairs and interruption to your days cycling. You should pump them up to around 100 psi, although this will depend on your weight.
When choosing a bike we recommend that you chose the correct gear ratios. You will need three/triple chain rings on the front and most bikes nowadays have 8/9/10 gears on the back. Due to the length and steepness of some of the climbs we suggest that you have an easy gear so that you can keep spinning your legs.
If you only have two/double rings on the front then it is vital that you have a greater range of gears on the back. You will need a 27 tooth gear to get up the climbs (in less if you are very, very fit). Even so we highly recommend that you have the option to use easy gears if/when you need them.
Remember, you don’t need to go out and spend thousands of pounds on a bike. You can buy an entry level road bike from £300 – £700. Alternatively you can buy second hand which is another way to save money. Also you can save up to 40% through the Government Scheme www.cyclescheme.co.uk/home,intro.
First and foremost, you need a good quality cycle helmet, accidents are unpredictable and can happen to anybody, even the most experienced riders. Wearing a helmet is compulsory on this ride and for your own safety and security we recommend that you acquire a modern, branded helmet and ensure that you know how to adjust and ft it securely. Quality cycle helmets can cost up to £150 but it isn’t necessary to spend this sum to have suitable protection. The main consideration is to source a helmet that is comfortable and is the right fit for you. Don’t be influenced by fashion, brand or colour and don’t economise on this item, it could be the most important purchase you will make on the event.
The helmet should sit squarely on the top of your head, not tilted forwards or backwards. A good bike shop will have a mirror so that you can check the position of the helmet on your head and the staff should be able to help you adjust it to fit perfectly. Straps must be tightened so that the helmet doesn’t wobble on your head and fits without feeling tight or uncomfortable. As a guide, you should be able to see the front of the helmet if you ‘look up’; just get two fingers between the chin strap and your throat; and feel the chin strap when you open your mouth wide. Most modern helmets come with additional foam pads for easy adjustment to ensure that the fit is appropriate for the shape of your head. As a general guide, look for a helmet with ANSI 90.4 or Snell certification. This identification means that the helmet has passed a minimum safety standard for competition and will normally be suitable for other purposes as well.
If you haven’t got any, it’s worth investing in a decent pair of cycling shorts which include good padding. Whilst your head is important, 6 hours in the saddle without suitable padding can affect other parts of the body and can soon become quite uncomfortable. Specialist cycling tops are also a good investment as they are generally colourful, lightweight and also quick drying should you experience inclement weather. Remember, you are provided with an Event shirt and additional shirts and Bib Shorts can be purchased through our merchandise page.
With weather in mind, rain gear can be a useful addition to your equipment. Garments need to be breathable, waterproof and lightweight. When purchasing, check for sealed seams to prevent leakage and ensure that wrist and ankle closures are both effective and durable.
Finally, we will focus on your hands and feet. Gloves, whilst not essential, will help to prevent blisters and sores on your hands. Trainers are OK with toe clips but make sure they have a tread that offers a good grip with a sturdy sole. Shoes can take a lot of wear so don’t take your favourite trainers if you opt for this style of footwear. For serious riding, and this is a five day event, we would recommend SPD’s (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics). SPD’s are the most comfortable and effective solution for the feet, but they do take a bit of getting used to, so remember to practice in them before the ride.
It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, don’t forget your sun protection. Sun burn can be painful and can have serious consequences, ensure you have a good supply of a waterproof, sweat-proof, high SPF sun screen in your bag.
Please feel free to contact us at the Event Office, at any time, if you need more help.