How to Prepare for a Long Ride - Pandemic Edition

Written by Sam Quijano, Sunnyvale Bike Builder

We’re lucky to have gorgeous Bay Area weather to ride in most of the year, especially during our late summers! Whether your fancy is road, dirt, or somewhere in between, you always need to make sure you’re remaining well fueled, especially during these late summer rides. Late summer often means fires (unfortunately) so be sure to check the air quality where you plan on riding and skip it if it's unhealthy. Here are a few other key things to keep in mind for your rides.


Eat and drink enough

Riding your bike is tiring, particularly on a long ride and it's very easy to forget to eat when you’re having fun. Using jersey pockets, a bar bag, or a hydration pack to store lots of snacks is a great way to carry enough food for your whole ride. I always like to eat a bar every thirty minutes and refill my bottles every two hours to make sure I’ll have enough energy and be hydrated for my whole ride. If you have a head unit like a Garmin or a Wahoo, you can program it to remind you to eat and drink at regular intervals - or even set a timer on your phone!

Plan your stops

Maybe you’re a hard core racer and can ride hard for four hours in the hills or maybe you’re just starting out with an easy twenty minutes on the local bike path - either way, you have to refill on water at some point… or use the whizz palace. Luckily enough, Western Wheelers has put together a handy google map key that outlines all the water and bathroom stops in the Bay Area! These are all public water fountains or restrooms. Some of them may be closed during this time so be sure to plan your route with plenty of stops on it so you have backups.

Water fountain pictured near Los Gatos Creek Trail 
A key item to add to your saddle bag or bar bag is a small bottle of hand sanitizer. In doing our part to #flattenthecurve, the safest procedure is to sanitize your hands, fill your bottles, and then sanitize your hands again before heading on your way!


Pack effectively

You never want your ride to be slowed down by a flat tire or a mechanical issue out on the road. Being prepared for these eventualities is just as important as carrying enough food and water for your ride.

A flat lay of Sam's pack tools and a few nutrition bars.  
I love using a bar bag for this very reason because I’m a small person and can’t always fit everything I need in my back pockets. Some essentials to always have on hand are:

Be mindful of COVID-19 Considerations

Due to the safety challenges of our current pandemic, it’s always best to bring a mask in your back pocket in case you need to visit an establishment (for those bonk-fueled gas station visits). For my part, I usually wear a buff around my neck so I can pull it up when passing by people and carry a mask with me when I know I will be stopping at a store as part of en-route fueling.

Sam on her bike riding on a road.  
Hot Tip: 
If you are concerned about visiting a water fountain to refill water bottles or pick up snacks, many local shops offer contactless pickup for these items such as water bottles and other amenities so you can refuel at low risk to yourself and your loved ones.

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