How do I increase my distance as a beginner?

Lizzy_de

New Member
Hello everyone! I'm Lizzy and (like lots of people) took up riding around Easter time. I currently ride about 3-4 times a week between 20 and 30 mile distances (I'm from Cambridgeshire so its very flat) at a speed of about 11-13mph. I ride a Boardman ladies hybrid 8.6 womens bike. I have a goal of cycling 80 miles (from Cam-Norwich as a one off surprise, no time limit just don't want to be riding in the dark) before Christmas but I'm unsure if I'd be able to make it? I is something that realistically I could just bash out (like climbing Ben Nevis - its a slog but its not going to kill you) or am I way overestimating what is possible? Please can I have some advice? I'm a bit nervous as if I get stuck there is no one who can come and get me - I really love cycling but I'm a bit clueless...! Thank you in advance :smile:
 

iluvmybike

Über Member
Given your current cycling mileage you could probably do it - I always reckon you can do at least twice your longest regular mileage. If you pick a nice day with not much wind and take your time and pace yourself :smile:
Daylight will be your enemy as it is rapidly dwindling as we get nearer to shortest day in December - averaging say 10mph (that allows for stops) the journey would take 8 hours. Currently there is about 8.5 hrs daylight by 1st December that wll only be 7.5 hrs and so on. But with a decent set of lights riding in the dark can be quite pleasant if you pick the right route. So don't be afraid of the dark!
The other 'issue' could be your personal comfort in the saddle for that distance if you are not used to it.
You need to learn at least how to fix a puncture or it could be a long walk home as well. Perhaps your local bike mechanic would help here in return for cake or beer? Good luck!
 

DRM

Veteran
Location
West Yorks
I would leave it until we get out of winter & the days start getting longer, what I would be doing now is gradually increasing my distances each time I go out, realistically, an 80 miler will need a couple of cafe stops, so you could well be out for 6-7 hours riding time alone, plus however long the stops take.
Good luck with it & welcome
 
If you regularly do 30 miles, then 80 as a one off should be doable, particularly somewhere pretty flat.

It would be prudent to set out as early as possible given light at this time of year, and be sensible to avoid any readout bad weather forecast. Plus be sure you're confident with repairing a puncture - practice at home if not.
 

Nebulous

Veteran
Location
Aberdeen
It’s certainly something you could just bash out as a slog.

Apart from the obvious issue with the dark, you’ll also need to consider nutrition. Running out of fuel on the bike isn’t pleasant, with cold and dark adding to that. Shouldn’t be a problem if you make sure you have food with you and take it on board before needing it.

I’d try building incrementally on what you’re doing to get to 50 miles or so. Doing a 25 mile loop twice might be an idea, to prevent being too far from home. If you are up to 50 miles, 80 as a one-off will be fine.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
I think you will be fine as long as you keep riding regularly until you do the ride, and are comfortable enough on your bike to spend 7 or 8 hours on it. Just pick a day where you will not have a vicious headwind for most of the day! :okay:
 

weareHKR

Well-Known Member
And don't forget you will need simple but important spare parts to take with you, innertubes, small pump & repair kit etc!
 

MichaelW2

Veteran
80miles is a big jump. Aim for a couple of 50 mile days .
Ride with a tailwind , on circular routes on the way home.
Cam-Nor is basically following the rail route so you have plenty of bugout options.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Hehe. I'd be riding 8 hours for that on average*, so that's all the available daylight right now, so either get good lights (B+M or such) and embrace riding the first or last little bit in the dark, or take the time now to build up to and practise doing 50 mile rides (a milestone in itself) and target next Feb/Mar for your long ride.

* - average including stops. I want to look around when I'm riding new places, so I seem to inevitably end up with 10mph as a comfortable overall average, even if I can push the moving average quite a bit higher on good days.

If you've no feelings on route, I'd suggest 79 miles by following NCN route 51 to Bury St Eds (cutting obvious corners), then 13 to the B road to East Harling, then back roads to Eccles, Attleborough, Wymondham and picking up the Blue Pedalway which is an easy-to-follow route into Norwich, but some of the crossings in Wymondham are a bit crap so keep your eyes open. I'd avoid Thetford: its cycle routes are pretty crap for touring and the drivers worse. The B1108 to its north looks attractive but has sections that a bit too much of a racetrack for me.
 
Hello everyone! I'm Lizzy and (like lots of people) took up riding around Easter time. I currently ride about 3-4 times a week between 20 and 30 mile distances (I'm from Cambridgeshire so its very flat) at a speed of about 11-13mph. I ride a Boardman ladies hybrid 8.6 womens bike. I have a goal of cycling 80 miles (from Cam-Norwich as a one off surprise, no time limit just don't want to be riding in the dark) before Christmas but I'm unsure if I'd be able to make it? I is something that realistically I could just bash out (like climbing Ben Nevis - its a slog but its not going to kill you) or am I way overestimating what is possible? Please can I have some advice? I'm a bit nervous as if I get stuck there is no one who can come and get me - I really love cycling but I'm a bit clueless...! Thank you in advance :smile:
I've been doing this for years, but you are already way beyond me! I think it's doable with an early, maybe dark, start. But you must have the skills for punctures and two tubes.
And :welcome:
 

Paulus

Started young, and still going.
Location
Barnet,
Hello everyone! I'm Lizzy and (like lots of people) took up riding around Easter time. I currently ride about 3-4 times a week between 20 and 30 mile distances (I'm from Cambridgeshire so its very flat) at a speed of about 11-13mph. I ride a Boardman ladies hybrid 8.6 womens bike. I have a goal of cycling 80 miles (from Cam-Norwich as a one off surprise, no time limit just don't want to be riding in the dark) before Christmas but I'm unsure if I'd be able to make it? I is something that realistically I could just bash out (like climbing Ben Nevis - its a slog but its not going to kill you) or am I way overestimating what is possible? Please can I have some advice? I'm a bit nervous as if I get stuck there is no one who can come and get me - I really love cycling but I'm a bit clueless...! Thank you in advance :smile:
With the milage you are already doing, 80 miles is not beyond your capabilities. Remember to eat and drink on the way, a couple of cafe stops may be preferable. Probably better in the spring when the daylight is longer. Go for it.:bicycle:
 

alicat

Legendary Member
Location
Staffs
I'd build up by doing longer circular routes so that you have a good idea if it's doable before The Day. I know you want to do the whole distance by bike; however is there an option to take public transport part of the way? 80 miles is a lot for this time of year, especially for a first attempt at the distance.
 
Top Bottom