I have been riding my bike for years and I am a very experienced rider. I am also in great shape.

I am a 15 year old girl. I have one week to prepare to do a 66 mile bike ride with a mountain bike frame and road bike tires (I don't know if that's considered a mutated bike or not).

Please let me know! Thank you.

  • 2
    Is this a race or a social trip ?
    – Criggie
    Oct 2, 2016 at 9:10
  • Do a long ride/short ride, long ride/short ride sequence. Something like 20, 10, 30, 15, 40, 15. Oct 2, 2016 at 11:57
  • 9
    To me “a very experience rider in great shape” is someone who needs no further preparation!
    – PJTraill
    Oct 2, 2016 at 16:47
  • 1
    Agreed with @PJTraill - a 66 mile ride should be well within reason! My only addition is that there are a few things that you may not yet have needed on shorter rides that become more important for rides longer than 40 miles or so (for me); chamoix lube being a big one, and a multitool/flat-repair kit. Good luck!
    – Daniel
    Oct 2, 2016 at 18:49
  • 1
    @allison so how was the ride? What worked well for you, and what was a waste of time?
    – Criggie
    Oct 8, 2016 at 11:47

7 Answers 7


Honestly? 6 days is a bit late to do anything significant. You should probably do ~5-15 mile rides for the next 4 days, and have at most a short 2 mile ride on day 5, and then you've got your event.

Try and do your rides on similar terrain/roads if possible. Ideally you'd do pieces of the real road - they always feel "shorter" on subsequent trips.

Don't get carried away with replacing major mechanical components this close to the event.

Your best bet is to do basic bike maintenance, like lubing the chain and tweaking the gears and brakes, and inflating your tyres. Check out your spares and on-bike tools, make sure its all good and that the spare tube has not acquired a hole.

Also - if your event is self-supported, you'll have to carry 66 miles worth of water and food. You'll need to pack that onto your bike in a way that doesn't interfere with riding, be it camelbak or frame bottles or panniers or whatever.

If the trip is supported (ie, feed stops every hour or 20 miles) then its lower importance but still don't run low. Sometimes the fueling stations aren't there or have run dry, (or blown away!)

Finally, plan on how you're getting home. Noone wants to ride another 66 miles back home after such a trip!

  • What are the short rides you suggest intended to achieve? They will not do any harm, and they're better than doing nothing but I don't see how they help her prepare.
    – andy256
    Oct 3, 2016 at 4:13
  • @andy256 having a day off before an event seems to make it harder to get going the following day. You don't want to do a lot the day before, but something more than zero seems to be the most beneficial.
    – Criggie
    Oct 3, 2016 at 7:00
  • 2
    Short rides also serve to test the carrying arrangements if you do then with a full load, and to check out your tweaks
    – Chris H
    Oct 5, 2016 at 6:49

I don't know how to prep in 6 days.

If you're a "very experience rider in great shape" then you sound already prepared.

I don't really want to post except that Criggie's answer sounds to me like a big jump (from about 5 or 15, up to 66); a smaller jump might be less worrying.

My current routine is:

  • 50 km on day 1
  • 50 km on day 2
  • rest (0 km) on day 3
  • and then repeat (50, 50, 0, 50, 50, 0, etc, etc.).

So 50 km is routine.

I once tried 100 km and, as I remember it (pleasantly), that seemed no more difficult than 50 (though it took longer obviously; I was alone and not racing/pushing hard) ... except, one difference, I have a partial bottle of water (when it's not too hot) but usually don't snack during 50 (which takes me 2 hours or so); and for the 100 I used several bottles (I knew where to refill en route) and bought a snack for the way home, not that I was sure I needed the snack but to make sure that I wouldn't suffer a lack it.

Having some rest (a rest day before the ride) might be important. I guess that exercise actually makes you weaker, and it's the recovery/rest that you have after exercise that makes you stronger.

I don't know what clothes you have, you'll want things (e.g. shorts, shoes, and gloves) that don't chafe. I don't use bike shorts (i.e. the "chamoix" mentioned in a comment) but I'm choosy about what cotton shorts I wear, and I do use bike shoes and gloves (though bike shoes need special pedals and maybe longer than 6 days of practice).

  • 2
    Try to not focus on the distance as a measure. When doing a group ride, its more "can you be on your bike for the duration of the ride" rather than "can you ride 66 miles" This should be 3-4 hours on the bike, maybe 4-5 with rest stops. Group rides are quite different to solo rides.
    – Criggie
    Oct 3, 2016 at 1:12
  • @Criggie Sorry I don't understand what you said: what's the difference between distance and duration, and/or between group ride and solo ride?
    – ChrisW
    Oct 3, 2016 at 1:33
  • 1
    Distance is the miles or kilometres you cover. (66 miles/107 km) Duration is the time for which you're sitting on and riding the bike. In group rides, your "average speed" is higher than when riding alone, so for the same Duration a group ride will travel a larger Distance than a solo rider travelling for the same Duration. Its hard to explain if you've not done any group rides or bunch rides - highly recommended btw.
    – Criggie
    Oct 3, 2016 at 7:04
  • 1
    @Criggie are you talking about riding efficiency which needs a very tight group, or more a motivational thing. The latter is very real and sounds more likely in this case.
    – Chris H
    Oct 5, 2016 at 6:48
  • @chrish OP never said if its racing or a group social ride. Either way, simply being with a group is a boost to the speed and motivation.
    – Criggie
    Oct 5, 2016 at 10:28

Six days is not enough time to do much about your aerobic fitness, but you can stimulate your muscles with a couple of solid rides. At 15 years of age, your body responds faster than a person 5 to 10 years older.

You don't say anything about how far you usually ride, so I recommend that you do two rides of 30 to 40 miles to prepare. The main purpose of these two rides is to prepare yourself mentally, and practice

  • Drinking. 66 miles (110km) will be around 5 hours of riding. Drink before you're thirsty. Drink a little, often. Plan for about one bottle (a pint or 600ml) per hour.

  • What to wear. Over 5 hours, the weather, especially the temperature can change. Practice carrying an extra garment. Sometimes you'll start while wearing everything, and have to take a layer off, other times you'll take an extra item just in case it's needed.

  • What to eat. Over 5 hours you'll need to eat. Maybe you'll just stop at a shop of you're hungry. Many people carry a little food so that they have what they want when they need it. Bananas are good, providing you like them. Avoid heavy foods.

The two rides I suggest should be two days apart, leaving a three day gap to the big ride. These gaps will allow your body to recover, and indeed, your muscles to grow in response to the new demands you're making of them.

My final advice is, for any big ride, take it easy for the first hour. Settle into a steady pace, at which you can talk out loud easily. You'll be able to sustain such a pace for a long time. Beware of taking long breaks; your body can cool down and make it hard to get started again.

Enjoy the adventure!

  • Two rides two days apart leaves a two day gap before the event: 40 miles on days 1 and 4, rest on 5 and 6, event on 7. Oct 3, 2016 at 8:23
  • 1
    Hi @David. Depends which day she starts off she starts today or at least when I wrote that, then she'd have three days at the end. Either way will be fine.
    – andy256
    Oct 3, 2016 at 12:25
  • Fair enough. I was counting today as one of the six days. Oct 3, 2016 at 12:34
  • I recommend getting food on the way, only carrying something to keep you going. But plan your challenging food/rest stop and know where your backups are. This works on my rare long rides.
    – Chris H
    Oct 5, 2016 at 6:46
  • 1
    @Criggie I'm thinking that if it was a race the OP would have said so. But I think we all agree that she should carry at least some food.
    – andy256
    Oct 5, 2016 at 11:06

I'm sorry I took so long to respond! And thank you for all your help/tips! The ride was great and I felt really accomplished after I funnished it. My advice for those who want to do something is to put your mind to it. Because those who put their mind to it are more likely to succeed.

I rode the 66 miles in about 5 hours and 45 minutes and my average speed was about 9 and 1/2 miles per hour. My dad gave me a camel bag that has one of the 2 L water pouches in it because I'm not good at drinking from a water bottle while I'm riding. I also brought Gatorade which was a real life saver.

I found that not training for some activities has helped me complete them because most of them I only do around once a year. My advice is do what you are capable of and more. My dad told me the the almost motto of our military is "When you think you have reached your limit, you are only at 90%." And I totally believe in that. My dad told me that during our ride (and by the way it was a group ride) and it helped me complete the ride when I thought I was done a little more than half way through!


Ride zero miles

You seem to imply ( you state the exact distance like it is significant ) that the distance is longer than you are used to

So you need to rest up first

You won't gain any fitness by riding, take it easy

  • Zero seems a little extreme, and even counterproductive. When I take a week off work, my four-mile commute takes noticeably more effort on the first day back. Not a lot more, but enough to notice it. Oct 6, 2016 at 9:19
  • Your 4 mile commute isn't qualitatively the same as a 100km ride. For a 15 yr old on a MTB with slicks 100km is going to take approx 5 hours. I don't have a direct comparison either but if I'm doing a 400km ride I will try and avoid riding the week before and it works for me
    – Vorsprung
    Oct 6, 2016 at 9:32

Separate answer - noone has mentioned

Lock-out your suspension

Mountain bikes may be front suspension (ie a fork that retracts) or full suspension (a rear wheel bouncing system as well as front suspension)

When riding on the flat sealed smooth road, suspension saps your power by transforming Push into Bounce. You don't need suspension on the road, not at all.

Some MTBs feature a lockout where you can turn a knob or lever to disable the suspension. Rear suspension can normally be hardened by screwin a disk along a threadded rod. The details depend on the bike.

Example front lockout

enter image description here

Note the black rings below the X of the logo? That can be adjusted for a harder ride.

Its also possible to replace the rear shock with a steel bar instead, or some of them support inflating with a shock pump to add more air.

If your bike is a low end model it probably won't have any of this.


Lots of good advice. One more tip. When I used to ride my flat bar bike my hands would become numb. Turns out lots of people have this issue. The solution for me is to keep my wrist as straight as possible. In other words keep the back of the hand parallel to the forearm. Also keep your elbows slightly flexed.

  • 2
    You're totally right, but how does that answer the question about preparation ?
    – Criggie
    Oct 8, 2016 at 11:46
  • The main key to preventing numb hands is to consciously change your hand position regularly (though this is easier on a drop bar than a flat one). When you get tired your hand position tends to "lock in" to a single one, and that's when you start to really have problems. Oct 8, 2016 at 12:08

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