Ride500 ambassador Leon Goltsman is passionate about cycling for a cancer free future. He shares his tips for a successful long distance ride.
Each cyclist only knows too well about how a long and enduring ride can bring out a sense of accomplishment.
It’s more than just a low-impact form of healthy exercise that helps protect you from serious diseases and depression. Riding that extra distance can be exciting, healthy and provide an incredible life-changing experience.
No doubt, the freedom of exploring new places, meeting interesting people, and roughing it out with each milestone delivers hope.
One thing I’ve discovered from my time in the saddle is the occasional feeling of complete euphoria. That magical feeling in your body and soul where you truly experience a state of calm attentiveness as your actions become guided by intuition. A moment of Zen!
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced professional, long-distance cycling often comes down to strategy and planning, personal commitment, and the desire to try something new.
Here are my top 5 tips.
1. Make it personal
Every successful journey begins by first identifying your own reasons – why this is important to you. No one can judge you or tell you that you’re wrong because the decision will always be yours.
Passion alone isn’t always enough because it can wear off over time. But having the motivation to follow your own path will almost certainly increase the probability of triumph.
2. Condition your body
For me, confidence has always been a byproduct of doing something that’s worked.The last thing you want to do is simply jump onto a bike and smash out a 120km ride in one day, over five days.
You want to be physically and mentally prepared beforehand. Exercising, eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, and regular cycling will build greater endurance and mental strength.
Discipline is a powerful thing!
3. Plan ahead
There are some surprises we can do without, like finding yourself stranded on an isolated road at midnight. Make sure you know where you’re going and consider the most appropriate route.
Familiarise yourself with your bike and equipment. Research the conditions of the roads, weather forecasts, where to replenish essential supplies like food and water, and preferred resting breaks along the way. This is crucial!
4. Be open-minded
Leon during a ride to Victoria.
Exploring alternate ways of doing things lets you see and experience things from a completely different perspective. It also helps you to discover much simpler and more efficient ways of achieving better outcomes.
One example was figuring out how to carry all my luggage and supplies with me over a 1,000km bike ride to Melbourne – without the luxury of a support crew by my side.
Before my departure, I sent off multiple parcels from my Sydney home to the different post offices I would eventually pass along my way. This made it possible to have fresh clothes and nutritional supplies waiting for me at different locations and provide me with the ability to send home the items I no longer needed.
An open mind is your ticket to a greater imagination.
5. Have gratitude
No doubt you are going to be challenged along the way. No matter the amount of planning or preparation, there will always be things that are out of our control.
Imagine the unexpected circumstance of two punctured tyres, a sudden temperature drop followed by an immediate downpour of heavy torrential rain pelting over your helmet. You’re freezing cold, drenched from head to toe and hours away from any possible hotel.
Welcome to Gippsland Highlands, the southernmost section of the Great Dividing Rand located in the rural region of Victoria. It’s a place that taught me a very important lesson of appreciating and enjoying the present moment, regardless of what was happening to me at that time.
Resisting panic helped me make sense of my surroundings: the smells and sounds, peace, and serenity. And just like that, before my very eyes, the summer sun began to re-emerge along with a rainbow, and within minutes everything was dry once more.
No matter how difficult things might seem at the time, be grateful you can experience them!
Long-distant cycling enables us to realise our potential and empowers us with a renewed sense of purpose. It’s an exciting way to build courage, strengthen our character and grow as individuals.