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Big Battlefield Bike Ride

NimrodUKNimrodUK Posts: 5
edited February 2014 in Road beginners
Hello BikeRadar forums, I'm hoping for some advice to help me complete the Help for Heroes Big Battlefield Bike Ride in June 2014. From Paris to Brussels following the Western Front from World war One.

My first question of what is likely to be many is this; what type of bike would be best from the point of view of comfort? I have a road bike that I've used for a few sprint triathlons but the longest ride I've ever ridden for is just 50 Kms. The BBBR is >500 Kms with one day that's 108 Kms, so it will be a challenge for me. My concern is that with my road bike my back does ache, is this more likely to be a function of age (56) or body position on the bike?

My aerobic fitness is okay, I use the CV equipment (treadmill, cross trainer, indoor rower) at the gym 3 times a week and work hard (not reading a book or magazine). I also swim regularly. I know that bike fitness isn't the same but at least I'm not starting from absolute zero.

Advice and suggestions would be most appreciated.

Posts

  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,271
    A road bike is ideal, providing the route is on-road.

    If you are in pain after only 30 miles then get your body position on the bike checked out by someone Who Knows These Things. Otherwise, attaining the required fitness for 60-70 miles/day shouldn't be a huge challenge, terrain and target pace notwithstanding.
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  • elderoneelderone Posts: 1,410
    Have you got a link to this ride?
    Sounds like you need to make sure your bike fit is good. There are many good vids on utube to get you in the ball park or a pro-fit if you can. Time on the bike building up the milage is what you need.30 miles isn,t that far but far enough to hurt if not comfy. To be fair when I started 10 miles hurt, then 20 and so on. Now 20 or 30 miles is just a standard mid weeker. As you get used to a distance the hurt goes, then you go further and it starts again, at least it went this way for me.
    You have plenty of time to train and prepare for what sounds an awesome ride.
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  • I think you'd be best on a road bike. We rode up from north of Paris to Amiens, around the Thiepval Memorial and a day in Flanders this year. The roads a good and the terrain is rolling but not too demanding - UK motorists could learn a lot from the French about how to treat cyclists. You should be fine on 60 miles a day as long as you train regularly, even to the point of riding less longer rides but more of them (particularly to begin with) Get a bike fit, it will make a big difference. If you're getting lower back ache don't ride to ride on the drops too much to begin with as this will stretch you out a bit more and may be the source of it. The ride will be awesome, enjoy the training and enjoy the days you do it on!
  • You should do it with a 1915 bike... failing that, a fixed gear bicycle at the very least.

    Have a look here for inspiration

    http://bsamuseum.wordpress.com/page-5/

    I am sorry, I am missing the connection between doing a challenge ride for charity along "l'Enfer du Nord" and wanting to do it on a comfortable bike... :roll:
  • You should do it with a 1915 bike... failing that, a fixed gear bicycle at the very least.

    Have a look here for inspiration

    http://bsamuseum.wordpress.com/page-5/

    I am sorry, I am missing the connection between doing a challenge ride for charity along "l'Enfer du Nord" and wanting to do it on a comfortable bike... :roll:

    The connection is that he is 56 years old (same as me so I might understand) and is concerned about his ability to physically complete the task.
  • The connection is that he is 56 years old (same as me so I might understand) and is concerned about his ability to physically complete the task.

    I get that bit and that's the challenge, if he puts himself in a position to complete the event, there is no longer a challenge! Like probably the majority of people I receive regular e-mails from colleagues who ask for charity money for various things. Some want to run one mile and I ignore their effort, some want to cycle to Santiago de Compostela fully supported, which seems a rather nice and neat holiday to me, I'd love to do it too... where is the challenge?

    My view is that if you want to raise money for charity these days, you need to do something a bit extra-ordinary to stand out from the fancy dressed mile walkers and 10 K pseudo-runners and when I smell "fully supported trips", nights in hotels, all comforts I lose interest in the challenge, as it seems like a nice holiday package.
    Obviously cycling from Paris to Brussels on a period bike would attract a lot more charity money, as arsxxles like myself would drop the skepticism and dig into their pockets...

    For instance... where is the challenge in dragging a few thousand people from London to Paris, when 99% of them make it through the journey? If 50% made it, then it would be a real challenge.

    IS it just me? :roll:
    but maybe it's just me... :wink:
  • Sorry mate, it is just you.

    Completing a ride that long at that age if you have never done it before is a real challenge.

    Having taken up cycling after a forty year break this year I entered a team triathlon doing the cycle leg of 23 or so miles. Having never ridden more than 5 before it was a real challenge.

    Of course I did it for charity. Of course I bought a comfortable light fast bike to make it as easy as possible.

    That doesn't mean it wasn't a challenge. I rode over 1000 miles in training for it.
    And I was absolutely knackered at the finish.

    Just because everyone finishes that does not mean they haven't pushed themselves.
  • Last year my wife did 45 miles in rather rolling terrain on a 1960s bike with 5 gears, before she had never cycled more than 10-15 miles... she even had a slipped disc and she loved it, she didn't do it for charity, she did not train for it, she is not a hero... she got cake anyway... and congrats, of course... :wink:

    PS: the guy seems in a rather good shape, by his own admission
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    NimrodUK wrote:
    My concern is that with my road bike my back does ache, is this more likely to be a function of age (56) or body position on the bike?

    Could be any/all of those. Body position/weight transfer is most likely to cause aches/pains.

    If you do not generally have back issues and the bike fits well it could also be that you do not ride it enough to become acustomed to it?
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    For instance... where is the challenge in dragging a few thousand people from London to Paris, when 99% of them make it through the journey? If 50% made it, then it would be a real challenge.

    Would you still pay out for the 50% that failed to complete it then?
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • smidsy wrote:
    For instance... where is the challenge in dragging a few thousand people from London to Paris, when 99% of them make it through the journey? If 50% made it, then it would be a real challenge.

    Would you still pay out for the 50% that failed to complete it then?

    Of course I would, you're missing the point...
    My point is that these days IF you want to be serious about fund raising you have to something pretty special. I, for instance, don't give a penny to my colleagues, becuase htey are not serious... I can give my money directly to a charity without going through them. IF I decide to part from extra cash, you need to convince me you are going to do something extra-ordinary. Joining an organised holiday branded as a fund rising event is nothing extra-ordinary in my books... there is no adventure, no incertainty and no challenge, as everything is planned and taken care of to the last detail. It's a cycling holiday, some are easy other tough, still cycling holidays are.
    If you go the extra mile and try to stand out from the crowd of charity fund risers, you will succeed (even if unsuccessful) and people will be keen to give you more... that's my point... I'm not here saying that you should ride your bike with nails hammered in your palms, but joining a fully catered cycling holiday is a bit, how to put it? Easy...
  • smidsy wrote:
    For instance... where is the challenge in dragging a few thousand people from London to Paris, when 99% of them make it through the journey? If 50% made it, then it would be a real challenge.

    Would you still pay out for the 50% that failed to complete it then?

    Of course I would, you're missing the point...
    My point is that these days IF you want to be serious about fund raising you have to something pretty special..

    Perhaps you are missing the point!

    The OP didn't say anything about being serious about fund raising. His question was about bike comfort. For all we know he isn't raising any money at all.
  • Perhaps you are missing the point!

    The OP didn't say anything about being serious about fund raising. His question was about bike comfort. For all we know he isn't raising any money at all.

    Perhaps you are right... however "help for heroes" is a well known charity and I would suspect they do ask entrants to raise money for the charity
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    smidsy wrote:
    Would you still pay out for the 50% that failed to complete it then?

    Of course I would, you're missing the point.

    No I am not, simply establishing if you would still pay out. I get your point totally.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    FFS its not like OP was asking readers to sponsor him, just for some advice.

    Its up to the OP and his circle of friends & collegues whether, and how much, money he raises.
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  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,928
    t4tomo wrote:
    FFS its not like OP was asking readers to sponsor him, just for some advice.

    Its up to the OP and his circle of friends & collegues whether, and how much, money he raises.

    Yepp, agree with this.

    Whether we may all debate the merits of cycling for charity on a separate thread, let's try and give encouraging and helpful advice to those folks who ask for it, or failing that come up with several contradictory views that ramble over 3 pages with each post stating an opposing case to that posted previously with all the authority that comes from a totally subjective viewpoint and a sample size of one.
  • Thanks to everyone who replied, even if the advice or comments wasn't always supportive, helpful or indeed relevant.

    The Brussels to Paris Big Battlefield Bike Ride is limited to 300 riders, the logistics of any more is probably the reason for the limit i.e. accommodation, feeding, medical support, transport etc.

    I chose to participate because I am an Army veteran myself, but when I served (73-94) it was an entirely different ballgame to nowadays. When I see and read of injured soldiers and how they have survived injuries that 20 years ago would have killed them I honestly feel compelled to try and help them. As I'm fit, able, healthy and have a decent professional network to help with raising sponsorship I decided to enter the BBBR 2014 and was fortunate in getting a place. To date I have raised £3000 in sponsorship and exceeded the minimum suggested.

    For those who have perhaps suggested that it's not a big deal and there are harder challenges, I agree. For me it shouldn't be to difficult but i's a different story for the guys who have lost both legs and are in recumbent cycles. If I can help them in any way, with an encouraging word, a pat on the back, whatever then I will be happy. Its not what I can get out of it but what I can do for others. I hope that puts the nay sayers to shame.

    I have been out on my bike since the beginning of the year, not as much as I'd like to but I have found it remarkably comfortable. The back pain has not been an issue and I've attributed this to a significant increase I've made to my stretching, which has increased my flexibility. I've been very surprised that I haven't had any saddle sores, chafing or any undercarriage issues and all without padded shorts. I'd like to have got more miles in and improved my bike fitness but I'm sure that will come in time and weather improves.

    Longest ride to date 45 miles, 4 months to go.
  • I thought I'd just add for the benefit of a certain poster that I have had a lifetime of challenges and plenty of injuries , one very serious. I'm not doing this for myself or to impress anybody, I'm doing it because I can and because I want to help others less fortunate than myself. I've served my country and survived intact, others haven't been so lucky.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Hear hear.

    Perhaps enjoy the ride and experience would be more suitable than good luck!

    As for back ache, this could be due to:
    Lack of flexibility
    Weak core (cycling specific muscles, not in general)
    Too aggressive position
    Wrong fitting bike

    It's hard to say without seeing a photo, but if you can give your bike make/model/size and your key dimensions (height/inseam) and general levels of flexibility then perhaps people can advise?

    How does your position feel on the bike? Stretched out, cramped? There are lots of bike fit calculators online or you can pay for it to be done professionally if you want but costs around 100 pounds or more
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    NimrodUK wrote:
    I thought I'd just add for the benefit of a certain poster that I have had a lifetime of challenges and plenty of injuries , one very serious. I'm not doing this for myself or to impress anybody, I'm doing it because I can and because I want to help others less fortunate than myself. I've served my country and survived intact, others haven't been so lucky.

    Good luck, I wish you all the best. :wink:
  • Thanks for the messages in support.

    I think my concerns with comfort have been allayed as I have not had any discomfort, aches or pains after any of the training rides I've been on so far. No knee problems, no stiff legs, no back ache, nothing. I'm taking this as an indication that a) my position on the bike must be okay and it must have been set up reasonably well in the first place, and b) my fitness and flexibility aren't too bad either.

    I think the best thing I can do is to continue training and build up the miles. It seems that to start a debate on this forum its only necessary to ask how best to set up a bike, everyone has their own ideas and suggestions. As I'm not looking for more power or to go faster but just want relative comfort for the sake of endurance and I already seem to have this I'm not going to make any changes.

    Thanks again to those offering support and encouragement.
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,643
    Nice inspirational reasons for your motivations there Nimrod, am sure it will he a succsessful ride, and a real event to remember for you.

    With regards to comfort above what you have now, I would personally suggest is to invest in a couple of pairs of decent bibshorts, if you shop wisely I think you can pick a pair up in the sale for circa £50, and you will have them to use for many rides afterwards.
    Also good padded comfortable mitts will make a difference if you do not have them already.


    Some potential bargains here http://startcycles.co.uk/bike-wear/bottoms-trousers/bibshorts.html

    Don't own any Scott bibs myself, but there gilets seem good quality.
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