Prairie Randonneurs IncSaskatchewan  


Your first long ride should not be your first ride of the season. Before attempting a long distance, get your bicycle out early and go on some enjoyable rides of 50-60% of your planned distance. For example, for a 100 kilometre populaire, ride some 25 and 50 kilometre routes and at least one 75 kilometre route. It is recommended that a few rides of 50-100 kilometres be completed prior to a 200 kilometre brevet and at least one ride of 125- 175 kilometres. Be sure that your bicycle is in top condition. Have it set up to fit you properly. Riding 100 km on a bike that does not fit you can be an unhappy experience. Make sure that your bike is dependable and comfortable. The basics include wheels that are true, a good supple saddle at the correct height and an efficient posture as given by the proper size frame and stem extension.


In general, be cognizant that you can not depend on the weather. It can change during a ride! Consider the conditions well in advance of the ride to insure that you have the proper equipment. Size up the weather once you are at the start point - it is advisable to bring the following items with you to the start (you can then decide what to take):

Upper Body Clothing

  • Layer 1, a long-sleeved undershirt (made of some material that will wick moisture away from your body, e.g. polypropylene).
  • Layer 2, a long-sleeved shirt (woolen, turtleneck preferred).
  • Layer 3, outer garment (rain jacket).
  • Short-sleeved riding shirt/jersey.
  • Cycling gloves, Woolen mittens, Gore-tex mittens.

Lower Body Clothing

  • Layer 1, riding shorts (wool or lycra).
  • Layer 2, long riding tights (wool preferred).
  • Layer 3, outer garment (rain pants).
  • Two pairs of socks (wool preferred).
  • Stiff soled riding shoes.

Optional Items

  • Tuque, neck warmer, booties, lip balm , suit screen, lubricants or medication for vital areas, wallet, identification, money, camera, watch, space blanket, pen, toilet paper, first-aid kit, sunglasses with a clear lens for night riding, waterproof bag for route map and brevet card.

Of course this is being safe, but it is better to have too many clothes than too few. You can carry small panniers to store the extras. Many riders carry a handlebar bag, a “six pack” bag (which sits on top of a rear rack) or a large seat wedge. Others choose to carry one or two panniers on a rack. Remember, that hypothermia can set in rather quickly and conditions do not need to be extreme.


You must have your bicycle in good working condition so that you will not have to make repairs en route. Remember that you will be self-supporting. You should be able to carry out the following basic repairs: fix a flat, replace a spoke (freehub side included) and true a wheel without the use of a jig. If you cannot carry out these repairs, ride with someone who can or ask for help from another rider. You should carry the following tools, some of which are specific to your bicycle: tire pump, 2 spare tubes, patch kit, tire levers, spoke wrench, alien keys, adjustable wrench, screwdriver, folding knife, extra tire, spare spokes, spare cable, lubricants and black electrical tape.


On a ride, you will burn up many times the calories that you would on a normal day, so it will be important to eat continually. You may choose to carry food with you, but if you are concerned about weight, you may choose to bring money or plastic only. The route maps will display the towns so you will know where food can be purchased.

Eating En Route

It is advisable to carry some food items with you to prevent “hitting the wall” (depletion of glycogen) or hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) which can cause hallucinations and/or blackouts. Suggested items are:

  • Simple sugar tablets (e.g. Dextrosol). to prevent insulin spike and subsequent bonk. Do not eat just prior to starting or for the first 90 minutes of exercise.
  • Complex carbohydrates (e.g. bananas, raisins, oatmeal cookies, granola bars, whole grain muffins, pasta, potatoes, Power Bars, Canadian Cold Buster bars, etc.).

Complex Carbohydrates

  • Eat a lot of complex carbohydrates for two days prior to and after a ride like whole-grain foods, starches, fruits and vegetables. It is important to eat carbohydrates following a ride to replenish glycogen. Carbo-loading is a process which allows for an extra build-up of muscle glycogen, which itself limits how long you can undergo endurance exercise. A combination of proper exercise and diet prior to a long ride is required to achieve carbo-loading. See the appropriate literature to earn how to achieve this state.
  • On the morning of a ride, eat a hearty breakfast. Avoid excessive meals, especially high in protein and fats (e.g. steak and ice cream), before and during a ride. These require a great blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract for digestion and have long assimilation times. The result is reduced blood flow to the exercising muscles. During a ride it is better to eat small quantities on a regular basis (e.g. every half hour).

Alternate Diets

  • There are a multitude of alternate diets on the market today, developed as liquid diets (total nutritive replacement). If you plan on using such forms of food, experiment with the product on training rides before using it in an event. Examples of such diets are: ENSURE PLUS, IRON FUEL and NITRO CAR8. The basis of such diets is to offer a more easily digested form of food which can be added to water bottle and helps to maintain a more constant blood glucose level during exercise. Most of these alternate diets are 70-85% complex carbohydrate, which is most useful during endurance exercise in helping to maintain muscle glycogen and reducing the post-event recovery time.
  • It is important to replenish your fluids during exercise. Ensure that you are not dehydrated before the ride. If your urine is yellow, drink until it is clear. Water is the best fluid. Avoid carbonated and high sugar and salt content beverages. Carbonated drinks can cause gastric discomfort and drinks high in sugar or salt can cause retention of water in the stomach where it is useless to you.
  • You should carry at least two water bottles on your bike and drink every ten minutes, even if you are not thirsty. Sip regularly rather than gulp. Fill your water bottles at every opportunity. On some occasions you may find it necessary to obtain water from creeks. Purification tablets can avoid contamination. Remember, if you become hungry or thirsty on a ride, it will take considerable time to replenish energy or fluids.


Prairie Randonneurs Inc   
Affiliated with:            
Audax Club Parisien          
Les Randonneurs Mondiaux    
Saskatchewan Cycling Association

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