I do it all the time, sometimes because I prefer it and sometimes because the training I’ve set myself requires it but what’s the secret to a successful solo ride? Someone asked me this and to be honest I don’t really think about it before I head out, maybe through experience of knowing what to do when bad things happen, maybe confidence in knowing that I am able to resolve almost all crisis that may occur! Who knows, but here’s my top ten tips to a successful solo ride:
- First of all you need to prepared for whatever the ride might throw at you! This includes having spare tubes, a pump, tools, patches or other supplies to repair mechanicals should they occur
- This means nothing however if you haven’t a clue on how to repair a bike. I make no secret of the fact that I’m terrible at bike mechanics but I know how to fix most things that can happen on a ride (that can be fixed roadside!). Speak to your local bike shop about courses they may run on bike mechanics & maintenance
- What do you do though if something terminal happens? It will at least once to everyone, probably more if you frequently ride. Having a fully charged phone with someone available to call is a start but what if no-one can help? Money will allow you to get a taxi to a train station, a bus or some form of public transport, most bike shops are pleasant enough to help where they can
- What if the weathers bad? Hopefully you should have some spare layers with you, but worse case if you’re stranded getting dry and warm is key, leading us onto my next point
- Be smart when planning a route. Have a route that is easy to reach by others, has cafes or public transport routes nearby just in case
- Then let someone know the route you’re taking. This way should you get stranded or need to be found you’re making your rescuers job a lot easier. Setup your phone so others can find you in case of an emergency
- Protect yourself. I’m not just talking about wearing the right clothing or having a safe bike but ride safe too. If you allow cars too much room they will use it, I’m not suggesting you ride the centre line but don’t ride the gutter then complain when you hit a pothole because you weren’t given enough room. Think about lights too, will you need to take them if you could be out later than expected
- Make life easier for others. Should the worse happen like you get knocked off, make the emergency services job easier by having medical & ICE (In Case of Emergency) information readily available, plenty of systems available from helmet mounted ones to setting it on your phone. ID such as bracelets (e.g. Road ID roadid.com) can have it printed on (thanks to Dave for the suggestion).
- Food & Drink. Pack enough to ensure you have the energy to make it round your ride, even if you plan not to eat it’s better to have and not need than to need and not have
- But most of all you should thoroughly enjoy the ride!
If you think I’ve missed any important ones please get in touch!