One thing’s for sure if you want to get the most out of your bike ride from London to Amsterdam you need to do a bit of training.
Cycling from London to Amsterdam means you will be travelling a total of around 360 miles across 4 countries. This distance for a cyclist of any experience is something that will require a little bit of physical and mental preparation.
This ride isn’t the Tour De France and you don’t need to be a super athlete to complete it. But by spending some time beforehand on two wheels it will improve your fitness, experience, confidence and therefore enjoyment of the trip.
Training can also be fun and help you explore parts of this country you didn’t know where there. You could go for an early morning cycle at sunrise with little traffic to get in your way, amazing evening rides (with a potential pub stop) or long lazy weekend rides – the choice is yours!
The first step to planning your training plan is to decide roughly how many days you want to spend cycling to get there. In 3 days you can get to Amsterdam however 5 days will be a more comfortable pace, 7 days means you can afford to stop along the way to enjoy the local scenery.
One you know the maximum mileage you will be cycling in one day then you can train towards that goal.
How often should I be training?
As a general rule you should be doing 3 rides per week as a minimum up to a maximum of 5 rides per week. Training days should be interspersed with days off. This is really important to allow time for your muscles to repair and strengthen. Over training will not give your body time to heel so it is important to build up the time and distance gradually and allow plenty of rest days.
If you haven’t been on a bike for a while then start off very slowly, go for a few rides of about 30 minutes and see how you feel. It’s really important to listen to your body so if you found those rides easy then next time go a bit further. If on the other hand you finished the ride feeling tired then spend a few more times riding that distance so your body can adapt.
An easy way to slip training into daily life is to replace shorter journeys that you would normally drive with cycling. This could be nipping to the shops or even commuting to work. When its part of your daily schedule you won’t feel like it east up your day and quickly you will notice that your fitness is improving.
You should even be getting out on the bike in all weathers (yes – even the Monday morning cycle commute in the pouring rain!). This is because there is no guarantee what weather you will have during the real trip. You want to be used to cycling in all weathers and this also gives you the perfect opportunity to test out your gear and make sure everything is water proof.
If the weather is terrible then you can train in a gym on the bikes or even do a few spinning classes, you ave no excuse.
If you are planning on riding London to Amsterdam in groups then we suggest that you meet up and train together. By having training buddies it helps to make the cycle go quicker and you can motivate each other on the longer rides. Another benefit of training with other people is that if anything happens to your bike such as a flat tyre then there is all ways someone on hand to help you out.
Amsterdam is a cyclists haven because it is so flat, this makes cycling a rather pleasant affair and also means you can cover quite large distances without tiring. Cycling in Holland and Belgium is very common and there are plenty of traffic free cycle ways. The most challenging part of the ride is actually on the first day where you have to cycle over the south downs.
The south downs are between London and Brighton and can catch you out if you aren’t prepared for hills. So the best way to make sure you are prepared is to include some hills in your training. If you can include a hill;y route to work then that is ideal but make sure you also head out on some hilly longer rides at the weekend.
In order to be the best prepared for the cycle you need to have put the miles in, but nutrition is also equally important and often gets overlooked. Before a long ride make sure you take on some slow release energy foods – ideal suggestions include porridge. During a ride you need to make sure you are fueling your body with the right type of energy such as nuts, oats and bananas, chocolate won’t really do you much good.
After a long ride you should be consuming protein within 1 hour of finishing. This will help with muscle recovery and will help to bulk up those leg muscles in time for the cycle ride.
Once you have decided to take the plunge and cycle from London to Amsterdam we suggest that you start buying the kit you will be using as soon as possible. The reason for this is because you should be training in the gear that you plan to use on the cycle. This will give you time to get used to everything and gives you the opportunity to change the kit if it isn’t comfortable or you decide you don’t like it.
We also suggest that if you get the time go away for a weekend and load up the panniers. This will allow you to experience the weight of cycling with a heavy bike loaded up with all your stuff. It can take a bit of getting used too. Out top tip is to make sure that you load your panniers with even weight. Otherwise you will be heavier on one side and much more likely to topple over!
The best way to make sure you are prepared for the event is to follow a training plan. A training plan gives you a structured plan with measurable goals. By following a training plan you will be able to see increased improvement over the weeks.