Be Prepared or PPPPPP (Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance)
Sportives, particularly the longer ones, take a lot of training. So don’t let poor planning spoil your big day! Here’s a list of the preparations & kit you’ll need to keep you on track. And for tips on training for a sportive see our Training Tips article.
- Make sure your bike is ready! Unless you’re a pretty skilled mechanic that means checking your bike in for a service at least a couple of weeks before the big day. You or your local bike shop need to check, as a minimum: wheels are true & tyres undamaged, chain not worn, clean & running smoothly and that brakes are working well with pads that are not too worn. Finally carbon frames are notorious for hard to trace, mystery noises. Your bike shop can investigate if they’re coming from the pedals, the wheels, the bottom bracket or or anywhere else.
- Spares & tools. While you don’t want to be weighed down by too much kit as a minimum you should carry 2 spare inner tubes, tyre levers, a mini pump that actually works & a small set of allen keys. A chain breaker & a spare chain link are useful additions. These should all fit into your pockets or a small under saddle bag.
- A good quality pair of cycling shorts. For a short ride of up to about two hours just about any shorts will do. But if you expect to be out all day, particularly if temperatures are high you need good quality, well fitting cycle shorts, preferably bib shorts and you should definitely use some kind of chamois cream with them.
- Cycling shoes. If you’re taking one of our longer cycling sportives you should have a pair of tried and tested cycling shoes. Make sure the straps and/or buckles are in good working order along with the cleats. Cleats do wear out over time as do the pedals they clip into.
- A well fitting cycling jersey. Although a t-shirt Is better than nothing a well-fitting cycling jersey is a good investment. They wick away sweat, reduce wind resistance & provide useful pockets to stow gels, and other essentials. Probably best to start with a short sleeved jersey & add others over time. Check out the Primal custom jerseys we have available too from our Cycling Shop
- Arm warmers. Even so-called British summer days can be a bit chilly first thing. A pair of stretch arm warmers will keep you warm if need be & can be removed & stuffed in your back-pocket when you no longer need them.
- Leg warmers. Unfortunately there are some spring & summer days which are a little cold for shorts. If you encounter one of these a pair of leg warmers makes all the difference.
- A waterproof. You can pay hundreds of pounds for something very high tech and breathable but most of the time a cheaper garment costing around £30 will be almost as good. They can also keep you warmer on chilly days.
- Base layer. Except on the very hottest days most pros wear a base layer. They help wick sweat away and keep your temperature stable. On cold and/or wet days these make all the difference.
- Gloves & socks. You’ll need some socks. Thin cycling socks are best and some gloves. Best to get at least one pair of short fingered cycling gloves & some full-fingered ones for those aforementioned chilly mornings.
- You do need to wear a helmet on our sportives and we recommend you wear one for all group riding activities. Prices from about £30 but paying more will get you a lighter, better ventilated helmet.
- We don’t insist on lights but most club riders now use a rear flasher all the time. They don’t cost much but do make you more visible to car driver.
- A hat. The cycling caps we offer work well. They’ll keep your head warmer in the Spring & Autumn but also keep the sun out of your eyes in the summer & are ideal for all but the very coldest days.
- Other kit to leave in your car or at HQ. A track pump, spare tire, sun-cream, sun-glasses, spare brake blocks or pads and a bike lock.
- Other kit to have at home. If you’re cycling through the winter you’ll need to add a few things to the list such as full length winter tights, neoprene covers for your shoes and something to go round your neck on very cold days. A gilet, which is a short sleeved windproof top, is another useful addition for those mid-temperature days.