I often heard this from other bikers where they do recovery rides the day after a long ride (greater than 100kms). What is it for and is it really needed?
A recovery ride is a ride where you go at a very easy pace for 90-120 minutes.
The idea of it is to give all those over-worked muscles some gentle exercise so that they don't tighten up, while flooding them with nutrients to help them repair.
For people in training, it's a day off to just enjoy riding.
I ride with a friend on his recovery ride because I'm the only rider he knows who won't half-wheel him. We go for a nice easy (for him) 50km, and talk about anything except his training.
See recovery ride.