‘Iron out the kinks’ | Final bike preparation before your sportive

By Nas Karimi

With 4 weeks to go until Dragon Ride, it’s time to start dialling everything in. We have discussed the benefits of ‘professional bike fitting’, as well as ‘the bike checklist’ and now is the time to settle on what is the right setup for you.

Here is a final checklist to get you prepared.

Bike Fit – Follow up

A large benefit of the bike fitting process is to optimise your overall riding experience, although the outcome is not always known instantly it needs testing out on the roads. Once you have had sufficient time to ride the new position, it’s time to check in and give feedback to your bike fitter to see if you need any further adjustments to improve your setup.

The session would only need to be a short visit / consultation and can make a huge difference as you now have riding feedback to know if the position is suitable.

Know your setup

At this stage and closer to the Dragon Ride I would be hesitant to start making any big changes to your bike fit, also to your bike components and touch points. Things like handlebars, saddles, shoes and cleats all areas which often change during a bike fit for a positive reason but do take getting used to. Typically I would advise 3-4 weeks of consistent riding with any new setup to allow yourself to get used to it (‘you wouldn’t or shouldn’t run a marathon in brand new shoes’).

However things like saddle height adjustments, handlebar height or reach adjustments in small increments, even small cleat changes can all be very beneficial so the follow up should focus on these aspects. Once you are happy with everything, it’s time to make a record of the position (Saddle Height / Setback / Reach / Drop etc) and you now can spend more time focusing on the final training rides.

Kit selection

I touched upon cycling kit and shoes previously and by now you should have decided on what you are using, of course weather dependent. It’s important to stick to the familiar kit and contact as the sensations you feel will be the same. New kit changes too close to big rides are not advisable. If the weather is warm, choose moisture-wicking fabric which is best, a summer base layer is useful and a fold up wind/rain shell in case the weather takes a turn. Also the smaller details, comfortable thin cycling socks, padded gloves, sunglasses and a cycling cap all help to keep you feeling good.

Bike Servicing

As the summer months approach bike shops and workshops start to get very busy. The weather improves, daylight increases and everyone gets their bikes out of the sheds. It’s extremely common for workshops to get booked up for weeks on end with servicing or repairs and modern bikes are now more complicated to work on and time consuming so make sure you get booked in for your service as soon as possible. Ideally you want the service within a week or two prior in case any tweaks are needed but that may depend on availability.

Degrease and Regrease

The beauty of a bike service is that your bike is properly cleaned and refreshed with new grease and lubricants where needed. That’s an important thing to have done now especially if you want a nice looking bike but also a buttery smooth and noise free ride.

Tyres and Brakes

Safety checking the tyre wear and brake pads wear is vital to your ride there is a lot of elevation in the Dragon Ride which also means descending too. Check your tyres and pads for wear and change if past the recommended limit. For those using tubeless tyres it’s a good idea to top up the sealant ready for the day.

Gears and Shifting

We talked about gear ratio and having the correct gearing for your ability is really helpful but we now want the gears shifting smoothly. Simple checks on chain/cassette wear and also adjustments on the front and rear derailleurs are crucial to smooth shifting. Again, if past recommended limits it’s worth having new chain/cassette/cables etc.

The more you get to know your bike fit requirements and your cycling equipment the better off you will be as you will have a clearer understanding of why certain things can happen and what to do when they do. The more you revisit things the more you educate yourself with what is best for your cycling. Give yourself time and prepare in advance and you will benefit on the day.