Schoie81 Posts: 749
edited June 2013 in Road beginners
Hi guys,

New to road bikes and therefore long distance cycle rides. I see people on here talking of 50, 60, 80, 100 miles rides and makes me wonder, how far do you cycle before you stop for a break? You don't cycle that kind of distance without a break somewhere....or do you??

Assuming you do stop for a drink/food/rest/toilet stop/stretch, how long do you typically stop for before getting back on the road?
"I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"


  • I did my first 50 miler at the wknd and had a planned stop at 28 miles to eat some food and refuel, then I stopped again at about 40 because I was breathing out of my @rse. I'm pretty new to it tho so I wouldnt be suprised if some people do 50 with no stops, (most I've done is 40). I think 60-100 will defo need stops.
  • zardoz
    zardoz Posts: 251
    That's a bit like asking "how long is a piece of string?"
    Drink - little and often I find works for me. Plenty of good and bad advice on here about how much to drink. As a rule of thumb about half a litre an hour is a good starting point and then work out what works best for you it does depend on the weather and how hard you are working.
    Food - For rides of 2 hours or less you probably won't need to eat. Longer than that I like to eat little and often these days. When I started out I used to stop every hour or so for a couple of minutes to scoff something but only because I found it difficult eating on the go.
    Rest - If you are excessively tired! I prefer not to stop, but slow down for a while to recover. I think if you start to stop everytime you get tired then your body gets used to that and you'll never improve.
    Toilet stop - You need to ask?

    My preference is not to stop for too long on any ride because I find I stiffen up (and not in a good way). A better plan might be to ride to a pre-determined cafe and have a stop there.

    This is what works for me, may not work for you and I'm sure you'll get other views as well. Hope this helps

    I forgot to add, it is supposed to be enjoyable not a punishment :D :-)
  • Stopping is personal preference..

    For anything under 40 miles I don't usually stop. 40-60 miles depends on who i'm with, time available etc. anything over 60 miles i plan a route with a coffee and cake stop somewhere around 40-50 miles along the route. usually stop for 20-30 minutes, drink, eat, use the loo and then get back on the bike.

    yesterdays ride was 90 miles - stopped for 30 minutes at 58ish miles. convenient point on the route with a cafe.

    do what feels comfortable for you.. and for longer rides work out your own fuelling strategy.. for me i start drinking virtually as i set off (i sweat a lot) and eating from about 15 miles. works for me.. but again it's a personal thing - experiment and find what works for you.. everyone will have their opinion, but it is what feels good for you that's important.
  • Bozman
    Bozman Posts: 2,518
    I've never stopped for drink or food, but I'll stop for a pee if I ever need one. I don't get the point in stopping and this puts me off the club ride with the cafe stop, if I stopped I'd start to seize up and it'd be a pain to get going again.
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    I've found it's a fine line. If I stop for 2-3 minutes, then I feel refreshed and can go faster straight after. However any longer than that it has the opposite effect and I feel sluggish.
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    Thanks guys,

    Wasn't really looking for advice as much as just curious what others do. I do a bit of long distance running (or at least I did until I got a bike - she sulks if I go out without her now :wink: ) so I do have some idea when I need to eat and drink - I don't normally take a drink if i'm cycling/running for an hour or less (unless it's hot - not often a problem so far this year!!) and for the distances i've done so far, i've never taken food.

    I did 15miles, 1,600ft climb in an hour without stopping on Saturday morning (could have cycled further but didn't have time for much more), and was quite tired when I pulled up outside the house. 50miles seems a long long way off and I was just thinking in my head whether I should be aiming to get myself up to cycling 50 non-stop, or whether realistically, 50miles total with a pit-stop or two would bring me up to speed with other forumists (i suspect that isn't a real word??)

    Bozman - that is something that crossed my mind - the thought of getting back on the bike and getting going again after a break sometimes appeals less than just keeping going..
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • zardoz
    zardoz Posts: 251
    Sounds like you asked the wrong question then which perhaps should have been whats the best way to build up to doing 50+ miles. Build up gradually I think is the best advice so on a long ride each week add 5 miles or so. I don't think running is a good comparison in terms of nutrition because you would rarely be running for 2 hours+ so eating wouldn't be a concern (aside from the fact you'd throw it straight up).
    You will soon find that you can do 50 with no need to stop. If you want to do it less gradually then doing a stop at the halfway mark might be better with a bit of refuelling. With stopping its a case of suck it and see. I prefer not to stop, but I do go out with a group on a Sunday and there is always a cafe stop and I enjoy the social aspects of that so its a compromise. As I said before It is supposed to be fun unless you are training as a competitive cyclist where the needs are different.
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    Cheers zardoz, and sorry for the slightly mis-leading/confusing question. Wasn't so much comparing running, more just saying that I do have an idea of when my body needs food and water whilst exercising - my longest run to date is 11miles which had me running for just over 90mins non-stop, so i'm not far off 2hours running; but I get what you mean.

    I guess its just a case of keep going if you can, stop if you can't...? Already planning a longer route for next weekend so hopefully i'll manage 20miles then and see how I go - my biggest problem is time - two young chlidren and a wife who works in the evenings means early morning at the weekend is about the only time I get chance to get out on the bike - who needs a lie-in anyway...?? 50miles without a stop seems a long way at the moment!! Although saying that, the only time I really feel like stopping is towards the end of the long hills, on the flat or short climbs I haven't felt the need to stop....yet.

    And don't worry, i'll always be enjoying it, or I'll give up! The only competition is with myself!
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • socistep
    socistep Posts: 88
    If I'm cycling by myself which I do most of my rides I don't stop, as with you time is an issue for me, I managed to fit in an early evening ride from 545 to 815pm last night after a busy family weekend (as an aside was a cracking 42 mile ride, 4000ft of climbing). The solo rides tend to be anything from 25-60 miles depending on available time and I'll take food along with me and eat as I go along, take 2 water bottles which tends to be enough for me.

    I've done a couple of longer sportives (85/100miles), for those I've stopped at the food stops to refuel.

    I've not done the stopping at a cafe type ride, doesn't massively appeal to me at the moment!
  • prawny
    prawny Posts: 5,439
    I only ever stop on sportives for the free cake. If I'm out on my own I normally only stop for a leak or to buy something if I've not taken enough food. Like socistep, time contraints limit my stopping time.
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  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Bozman - if you've never stopped - how do you know you'd struggle to get going again ?

    Its entirely up to you but there are plenty of places I ride to that demand a stop. Or they do nice cake. I dont struggle to get going again at all.
  • junglist_matty
    junglist_matty Posts: 1,731
    edited June 2013
    I stop, unmount my cycle, masturbate, remount my cycle and repeat every hour of any ride......

    What a stupid question!
  • t4tomo
    t4tomo Posts: 2,643
    (Ignoring the troll above)

    Like you I'm time poor with family commitments. Apart from a 70 mile charity ride on a tandem a few years back I hadn't done much road cycling since my youth. I have mainly done 20-35 milers perhaps once a month ish during the last year, along with a daily 10 mile round trip commute.

    Howver I have a 75mile ride coming up so I went out and did 51 miles at the weekend. first hour / 16 miles was solo, then swung by my mates and then we did 28 together, had a quick (10 minute) coffee after that and then did the remaining 7 solo to complete the 50 before going home. The last 7 was the hardest bit, whether that was because I'd stopped due to having tired legs I'm not sure - it was quite a hilly route.

    Once you can comfortably do 30-35 miles, the jumop upto 50 was pretty straight forward..W ill let you know what 50-75 miles is like 2 weeks....and sights are firmly set on a first imperial ton
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  • Bozman
    Bozman Posts: 2,518
    edited June 2013
    cougie wrote:
    Bozman - if you've never stopped - how do you know you'd struggle to get going again ?

    Its entirely up to you but there are plenty of places I ride to that demand a stop. Or they do nice cake. I dont struggle to get going again at all.

    I stopped many moons ago when I was riding with other people and my body didn't enjoy it, I have no need to stop so why would I? I'll take some flapjack and the required amount of fluid with me and I'll eat or drink on the go, if I could pee without stopping I would.
    I used to swim but I wouldn't get out half way through and have a cake and coffee, I can't say that I've ever seen a runner having a slice of Black Forest in a road side cafe, it just doesn't make sense to me.
  • elderone
    elderone Posts: 1,410
    Personally,I have to stop to pee on roughly an hourly basis so im used to it.I had my first cafe stop proper on sunday and was ok getting going again(5 miles down hill)so wasn,t a problem
    Think bottom line is do what suits best.No rules to this kind of thing.
    Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori
  • Personally I like to stop for a coffee and a cake as mentioned previously just for the social aspect. On a nice sunny day if I'm out riding with my mate it's often the best part of the ride to stop off and catch a few rays whilst enjoying a coffee and some cake. If I was doing a sportive event on the other hand I'd aim to not stop and carry enough fuel with me to last to the finish. If it's just a social ride then I'd always stop for a short while.
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  • hatch87
    hatch87 Posts: 352
    I did 60 miles on Friday and didn't stop once. In the past if I done a 50 mile ride, I needed a couple of 5 minute breathers. You just need to pace yourself, and go with the flow. My worst ride was when for some reason I needed a piss every 5-10 miles, that was really distracting.

    When I go out for the longer rides I don't worry about setting any sort of decent time, so don't mind loading up with food in the jersey and sometimes even a third water bottle in there.
    Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a bitch! Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me!
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    I guess originally I was wondering how far people CAN go without needing to stop. I don't think I'd be able to do 30miles without stopping at the moment (but haven't tried, so maybe i'd surprise myself) but I commute to work which at the moment i'm doing 15.5miles so I cycle 31miles in the day, but class that as two 15.5mile rides, rather than a 31miler as I get an 8 hour 'rest' in the middle.

    Anyone any tips for what to eat before setting off on a long ride? I tend to cycle early morning and don't eat until I get back, which is fine for the 15miles I do at the moment, but I guess it wouldn't fuel longer rides if I hadn't eaten for 10 or more hours?
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • I asked a similar question to this a few months back as I started to do longer rides. My longest ride so far is 71 miles - stopped for two minutes to refill my bottle. I don't like stopping if it's cold, very hard to get going again.

    As for food, I have porridge or just my usual breakfast - oats, mixed seeds, protein powder, a banana, frozen strawberries and milk in the blender. 900-1000 calories of all round awesomeness.
  • hatch87
    hatch87 Posts: 352
    Schoie81 wrote:
    Anyone any tips for what to eat before setting off on a long ride? I tend to cycle early morning and don't eat until I get back, which is fine for the 15miles I do at the moment, but I guess it wouldn't fuel longer rides if I hadn't eaten for 10 or more hours?

    I had 2 slices of peanut butter on toast before my 60 miler, felt fine. Took some grub with me and just nibbled on the ride and a energy drink to keep the sugars flowing throughout which I find more important on long rides rather than eating loads before.
    Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a bitch! Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me!
  • Paul E
    Paul E Posts: 2,052
    I don't mind stopping but I can eat on the go now and I tend to set my garmin to bleep every 15 mins to remind to to take a sip of energy drink or water as i tend to have one full strength and one plain water or very weak energy drink bottle. I tend to need to keep topped up more than others as I have a very quick metabolism and I feel it if I don't and if I haven't eaten right the night before and in the morning
  • southdownswolf
    southdownswolf Posts: 1,525
    If I am doing up to about 80 miles, then I usually take a couple of sandwiches with me and eat on the go or stop for a couple of minutes to eat them. If I do longer than this, then I usually include a coffee&cake stop/drink from shop.
    It becomes more important to stop though if you are doing multiple days in a row of 80+ miles.