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How to Prepare For 1000 Mile Bike Trip to Spain

Posted in: Latest News Training

During these stay-at-home times, our 'normal' stress-busting routines are no longer obtainable. As new COVID-19 cases continued to spread rapidly in the UK and globally, we were requested to stay at home to stop the spread. This poses a challenge to staying physically active, particularly if you stay at home for long periods of time. Low levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviour can have adverse effects on a person's well-being, health, and general quality of life. World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity physical activity per week or both. The good news is that you can achieve these recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic by changing your exercise habits. From the most common way people exercise is by joining and attending a gym.  Which here in the UK was put on hold.  As well as non-essential businesses were also closed which in turn led to roads emptied public transport had reduced their services, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to take back streets and sidewalks, as well as the countless rural spots hidden up and down the country which just needed to be found by exploring your local areas. Which also prevented national travel and international as an adventurous individual and always looking for another challenge or experience to remember I decided I would cycle to Spain on the most modestly priced bike I could find I settled for a cycle trip to Spain which would be a multi-day maybe week event.  So, below are some tips on how to prepare for a bike-packing adventure upwards of 1000 miles to Spain.

Pick a route

There are a lot of routes to consider along as they all headed south.  Routes can vary from being smooth & easy to rough & rocky. When choosing a trail, pick wisely based on your experience and in my opinion and hindsight your level of fitness, as we all like to exaggerate it just a little bit.  So the route from the midlands in the UK would be on very handpicked surfaces and with the aid of apps such as Komoot, and if desperate google maps as the latter as I found out is not much use.  Komoot is a dedicated navigation platform familiar to the more experienced cyclist, runners, Hikers and anything in between with specific to aid in road biking, gravel biking and mountain biking yes there are more disciplines to cycling than I thought as well.   So as I was pretty new to cycling it was a big help.  The route would cross half of the UK into France on the ferry and then into Spain over the smallest mountain I could find.  I found out Frances weather is worse than the UKs and my route consisted of a lot more hills than I anticipated.

Prepare Your Bike Before Your Bike Adventure Begins

If you have a simple bike and want to go on an adventurous tour for exploring unknown regions, you will need to make several changes to your bike. The first thing you should do is get an essential bike servicing. Get a routine checkup done, for instance, brakes, pedal, and other adjustments if necessary. Make sure to test the bike before the actual day.  And do long rides back to back try to replicate the journey as best as you can.

Prepare for the journey

No one gets off their couch to miraculously ride 1000 miles. You have to train to ride long distances and train for endurance. If you can ride a distance of 200  you should take at least two months to prepare 1000 miles.  I had 3 to prepare and the bike was new to me I was new to cycling so it was a push at best for me but an experience it would be none the less. Whatever your training plan is, finish the most challenging training two weeks before the ride, then use the last two weeks to recover. You can ride shorter distances or use a stationary bike at home with lower effort during that time. Apart from cycling, you should focus on your functional muscles: For a minimum of 2 months before the ride, by functional muscles I mean the most beneficial to the task at hand and to allow them to work all together for every push muscle there is a pull muscle my main focus was on the muscle I would use so legs, back core shoulders and how I compensated for this was based on common training the military use throughout history and that was simply moving with weight on known colloquially as rucking.  A tested measure of decades.  I also cycled and ran for extended times and with this discipline installed at least three main exercises a week my fitness shot through the roof and within 6 weeks I had managed to run 13 to 14 miles once a month at a pace I was happy and comfortable with.   Along with this, there were full-body exercises of the most common where press-ups, sit-ups and with this, it was 2 minutes non stop sets 3 times a day also so each exercise until failure up to 2 minutes was very difficult, to begin with as I mentioned earlier we like to believe we are fitter than we are especially men.

Prepare Psychologically

Riding a distance of 1,000 miles takes time.  Cycling is automatic, so your mind will have a lot of 'free time.' You might find yourself worrying about everything happening around the world and how the covid situation has affected you.  This may hinder you from reaching your goal. Therefore, instead of thinking about the issues of today or how tired you are, or how boring the road is,  it comes back around to discipline, pay attention to your surroundings, such as the trees and insects which is, in itself a form of focusing on the task at hand.

Prepare your Body

This is all about your nutrition. Be mindful of what you eat before and during the ride. Be sure to eat something that your stomach can handle. You can add a few nutritious snacks and simple sugars that are found in fruit and small and often so my main plan which worked out fine was a large breakfast a small dinner around midday snacks in between and big lunch in the evening at whatever town I was in.  The act of recovery is done now also so these long days 80+ miles a day every day would end with a cold shower and then a warm shower the act of cold water is crucial to the reduction of inflammation cold temperatures facilitate enhanced recovery from exercise by reducing intramuscular temperature and metabolism, thereby limiting hypoxic stress and the generation of reactive oxygen species which we are.  This would follow a hot shower this process lasted 45 minutes altogether each night then my meal and then as important as all the above a good nights rest, also essential to repairing damaged muscles and aid in recovery.

This was in aid of Healing Venezuela
The only charity I am aware of working on the frontline of Venezuela's humanitarian crisis
Healing Venezuela