5 mistakes to avoid on your bike

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Ronan McLaughlin and Philip Deignan are back with some more advice in advance of the Wicklow 200, this time on common mistakes and how to avoid them!

  • Not showing proper group etiquette:

If you are doing some group rides as part of your training towards the Wicklow 200, it is important to make sure you are following the basic rules of training in a group. These include yelling or gesturing when there is a hazard on the route, like a pothole or a rock, signalling an upcoming left or right with plenty of advance notice, letting riders know of surrounding vehicles with a simple ‘car up’ or ‘car back’ and holding your line in the bunch. Don’t be afraid to train in a group, as it can really break up the high mileage you’ll be putting in for the Wicklow 200. Just make sure you are doing so safely!

  • Not drinking or eating often enough

If you are heading out for an endurance ride in preparation for the Wicklow 200, it is crucial to bring enough food and drink to get through it. Ask any experienced cyclist and they will be able to tell you their story of ‘hitting the wall’ – running out of energy to the extent that pushing the pedals another kilometre seems impossible! The feeling can often come on quite quickly so it is important to keep on top of fuelling and hydrating throughout the ride. It can help to set intervals at which you will eat or drink – for example, a drink every 20 mins and something small to eat every 45 mins. Find something you enjoy eating and it shouldn’t feel like a chore. Some good examples are wine gums or dried fruit.

  • Forgetting your puncture kit

Is there anything worse than getting a puncture halfway through your endurance ride, only to realise that you haven’t brought everything you need to change your tube with you?! Holding out hope that a fellow cyclist will pass by and help so you can avoid making the shameful call home to ask someone to come and collect you… Making sure that you always have the necessary tools to change a puncture is easy, with the addition of a saddle bag to your bike. The saddle bag, which you attach with velcro straps to your saddle, can hold all the essential equipment for a tube-change. It also gets rid of any fear that you’ll be stuck waiting at the side of the road for that lift home!

  • Not following a training plan

If you are aiming towards an endurance event, like the Wicklow 200 or the Wicklow 100 Challenge, it is important to have a training plan in the lead up to the event. This can be something simple like a rough outline of mileage each week, or a highly personalised plan from a coach like Panache Coaching, with intervals in specific power zones and tailored endurance-building rides, accompanied by frequent feedback. Whatever you choose, it is vital to have a guideline to help you reach your end goal in an achievable manner. This can help you avoid doing too much, too soon and burning out, or not doing enough and panic-training in the weeks before the event!

  • Not wearing the right gear

Going out for a bike ride during winter can be tough. It is difficult to know what layers to wear, gloves or no gloves, how can you keep your feet warm, the list goes on! Investing in a good pair of overshoes is key in Irish winter weather. Once your feet get cold and wet it is difficult to fight the urge to turn home. A good base layer can make all the difference, and stop you having to wear multiple layers that can really restrict your movement on the bike. Another tip is to buy either clear or orange-tinted lenses for your glasses. Often, the winter days in Ireland are too dreary for dark lenses; the clear or orange lens can brighten things up and also protect your eyes. And always, ALWAYS, wear a helmet.

Training plans for the Wicklow 200 (200km and 100km) routes can be downloaded here. The event takes place on Sunday June 7th and you can register here.