How to prepare for a charity cycling challenge

Be prepared and your charity bike ride will be an amazing time

How to prepare for a charity cycling challenge

Charity cycling challenges are a fun way to fundraise in support of the causes that matter most to you. If you are planning to take part in a cycling challenge, but don't cycle regularly in a group, here's the advice Parkinson's UK give to the hundreds of people cycling in support of their work every year.

You've chosen a charity to support. You've spotted that there is a cycle challenge coming up, and you've taken the plunge by signing up to take part. So aside from raising the money amongst friends and family, you're now faced with getting yourself ready to take part and complete the ride. It may seem a bit daunting if you are not one of the 5 million people who regularly cycle every week. Here are some top tips from Parkinson's UK who regularly set cycling challenges and support their riders with this handy advice.

Plan ahead

1. Train for the distance: Most charities setting up a challenge ride will provide their participants with a training plan. Plan in several training rides prior to the event to get used to being on your bike if you are a beginner. Parkinson's UK suggest that you train up to at least 75% of your challenge distance

2. Be prepared: Make sure your bike is in full working order by visiting the local bike shop if you aren’t confident doing this yourself. Bring a puncture repair kit on the day – just in case!

3. Be prepared for all weather: Pay attention to the forecast and take along some sunscreen and a light waterproof jacket.

4. Food options: The norm with challenge rides is that there are checkpoints, so make the most of them. Here you will have a chance to fill up water bottles and grab a quick snack. If you have specific dietary requirements then it might be best to bring along your own snacks as well just in case.

Riding in groups

There will be times, particularly at the start where you will be part of a group of riders.  Depending on the numbers you may have staggered start times, which you will be told about in advance.

1. Show courtesy – show respect to other road users and use signal gestures when necessary.

2. Be alert - to what other riders around you are doing and do not get too close to them – smooth, gentle manoeuvres work best.

For more information read How to cycle in a group

During the ride

1. Make the most of the checkpoints: They are a perfect place to fill up your water bottles, grab a snack, have a toilet break or check your bike over (there will be bike pumps at each point). If you’re cycling alone it’s also a chance to have a chat before setting off again! 

2. It’s not a race: Usually charity rides are not races to allow everyone to feel comfortable taking part. So enjoy the sights and go at your own pace.

And finally, have fun!: Remember the cause that you are riding for and encourage others to get involved too.

Parkinson’s UK run a series of bespoke cycling events across the UK in Warwickshire, Yorkshire, East Scotland and the Isle of Wight.

To find out more about Parkinson's UK and to consider taking part in one of their challenge rides, visit: www.parkinsons.org.uk/pedal, email pedal@parkinsons.org.uk or call 020 7963 9312.

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