Here are a few tips for enjoying your tour by bike, provided by Jeff McNamee, associate professor of health and human performance. McNamee’s most recent research has focused on the economic impact of mountain biking in Oregon.
1. Review the terrain
Take a look at the route maps and topography before you leave. It’s a good idea to know what you’re in for, physically and mentally. A little route overview will help you decide if you should take the shorter or longer route for the day. Coming back completely exhausted on day one won’t help your morale for the rest of the tour.
2. Ride your pace
It’s easy to get caught up in a “pack” mentality. Much like a pack of cars on the interstate, the group tends to keep increasing its speed and all the sudden you find yourself exhausted in the first 20 minutes of the ride. It’s not a race, find an enjoyable pace that allows you to carry on a conversation and enjoy the scenery.
3. Taste, don’t drink
If you’re wine tasting, be careful not to do too much wine drinking in the early part of the day. Taste as many wines as the route permits. The region produces some of the best wines in the world, but be sure to spit. Remember – you’ll be back after you see what this region has to offer.
4. Nibble, don’t bite
The food will be equally amazing but I would recommend you nibble here and there and try not to consume “heavy” foods. Your system can’t digest the food adequately and produce the muscle power you need to complete the route. Bring along some high quality energy food that won’t require heavy digestion. There are hundreds of energy bars commercially available but I am fond of an almond butter and honey tortilla wrap or a packet of applesauce!
5. Stay in a line
Oregon bicycle law allows riders to ride two abreast as long as your group is not impeding traffic” My advice is to stay in a line and be careful not to make sudden movement changes. If you need to pass someone, check behind you and let the rider in front of you know that you’re going to pass them by stating “on your left.” Then pass the rider by steadily increasing your speed. Slowly move back into line if you’re with a larger group. If your group is using a paceline don’t overlap wheels, and move through the group nice and easy. Here’s a video of a paceline with a crosswind.
6. Stay hydrated
Drink lots of water (at least 24 oz. per hour) and consider bringing along a high quality sports drink that you’ve used beforehand in your training rides. Do not try a new to your digestive system sports drink the day of the event.
7. Have fun and enjoy the incredible vistas!