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I have no cycling experience but want to purchase a bike and do a 330km multi-day route by myself. Before getting into this somewhat risky business, I would like to run pros/cons by experts on this site. :)

My pros:

  1. Physically fit. Should be OK in term of cardiorespiratory.
  2. I will be biking in a highly populated area (around Bay Area). So if anything goes wrong I can just get a Uber and go home.

My cons:

  1. 0 cycling experience.
  2. Maybe a weak knee. Got a bad knee from running long distance in the past. Haven't used it for a long time but should be much better now.

My question is, is it reasonable for a person like me to finish this in 3 days? Any suggestions? Thanks!

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    It depends a lot on you. I know people who can do marathons who will probably never be able to ride 330km and vice versa. You'd need to come up with a training plan -- start with 5 or 10 mile rides, then 20 miles, 30 miles, 40 miles, 50 miles, up to say 100 miles. Note that doing a long ride one day is different than doing a few less long rides in succession, but that should give you an idea. – Batman Apr 18 '17 at 20:47
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    200 miles with no training would be pretty brutal. Even if you have the cardio your butt bone is not ready for it. On a weekend train round trip home back to back days and see how far you get. – paparazzo Apr 18 '17 at 21:48
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    330km in 3 days does not rquire cardio. You only need to complete 110km per day, and you can just take your time, ride 1 hour at a time, take breaks,... days are long, there is plenty of time. Your legs and your butt will hurt on the second and third day, though. – njzk2 Apr 19 '17 at 2:06
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    I suggest you get a bike that fits you properly, and ride till you're tired. Then see how far you got. A MTB might seem more comfortable, but they're slower so you want a road bike, or maybe a rigid commuter. There's nothing wrong with setting lofty goals, but perhaps 0 to 330 km is a bit of a big step. – Criggie Apr 19 '17 at 7:10
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    If by "Bay Area" you mean San Francisco then be aware that the terrain is not flat. I have seen inexperienced cyclists in reasonably good health do 60-odd miles a day on flat terrain, but throw in some hills and you have to cut that number in half. You need to train -- not a lot, but a dozen or so days where you do 30-50 miles on similar terrain. – Daniel R Hicks Apr 19 '17 at 11:09
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Don't do it, unless you're an athletic teenager! You haven't toughened your backside or your hands to endure riding for hours. Your lower back, which complements the legs, would develop incredible aches, as would your shoulders, which are used to keep your head up. The good news is that your knee would probably be fine, assuming that your pedals allow some "float" (right-to-left rotation). I assume that you have a quality bike that has been recently checked by a mechanic and fitted to you, because little things like the exact seat position matter for long rides.

How much training you would realistically want to do prior to the event would depend upon your age and your state of fitness, but I'd suggest at least a month of riding three days a week.

I've read lots of stories from people who have tried long-distance events with no preparation, and many of them survived, but they all said they wished they had prepared! You might be able to survive, but would it be an enjoyable experience? I doubt it... If the event is coming up soon, I'd recommend to skip it this year and start training for next year's event.

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  • Not that athletic, and definitely not a teenager. :) I've decided not to do it. Thank you for your answer. – Xi Zhang Apr 20 '17 at 16:31
  • I'm glad that my answer helped you. Now let me encourage you to ride your bicycle for health and fun, so that you can ride a similar event later when you're ready for it! Cheers. – rclocher3 Apr 21 '17 at 20:11
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I've done 330 km in 3 days, but I was used to riding a lot.

Since you are fit, and with good cardio, on your first day you will ride something like 50-70km.

The next morning, you will be in hell:

  • Your butt will express its displeasure in ways you can't possibly imagine. You see, in order to comfortably ride long distance, you first need a saddle that fits your butt well (it took me many tries to find that) and your butt also needs to get used to it. This takes a while, and many rides, starting short. With a saddle that suits you, and a hardened ass, riding all day is no problem... But with the wrong gear, it can be a nightmare, man.
  • The muscles in your legs will be in pain. If you do jogging for example, your muscles may be exercised, but not in the same way that riding a bike requires.
  • Your neck will hurt from looking up.
  • And, since you didn't take the time to fit the bike properly (saddle position and height, handlebars, etc) the rest of you will probably feel like hell too.
  • If you rode gravel roads (or anything without asphalt really) without proper equipment (ie, fat tyres or front suspension) your wrists will give up too.

You'll need 3 days of rest to get on the bike again!

At which point you will realize all the equipment you never truly tested will begin to break (like cheap saddlebags, cheap gloves, etc). Also, if the bike breaks down, you'll have no experience to fix it...

Also, on your first day, you will stop a hundred times to adjust your saddle, tune your bike, adjust the damn helmet strap that doesn't fit, realize your shoes give you blisters, and all sorts of tiny pet peeves that don't happen anymore when you got a bike and equipment setup that Just Works.

So... start from the beginning LOL

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I would advise to do a bit of training and reconnaissance before you try to ride 330km in 3 days. Why this specific distance by the way?

Given that you mention being in a good physical condition the actual physical exercise should not be the problem. If you want to ride 110km per day an average speed of 20km/h means that you are on the bike riding for 5.5 hours in one day. If you stop often and take your time resting you could stretch this to 11 hours and be alright. Make sure you eat and drink enough and do not start in 'Tour de France mode' thinking you need to finish the 'stage' in under two hours.

The problems will be in day 2 and 3. Your legs, butt, wrists will hurt since you have no cycling training and your body will have to get used to it. If you keep on pacing yourself and taking your time I see no reason why you should not be able to finish it under normal circumstances, but .... it will hurt. Make sure that you eat healthy and plenty in the evening to recover and get a decent place to sleep (if not at home).

Make sure you do not over stress your body and your knees. My maximum day distance is 240km, however I ride a recumbent and ride regularly and being from the Netherlands it was all flat terrain.

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As an ex racing cyclist who would regularly ride 100km per day just for training and 210km on a sunday club run I'd say your not giving yourself much of a chance here as riding that distance even over 3 days is not easy for a non cyclist..

You really need to be bike fit for a 330km ride, especially if there are time constraints.

Training sets you up properly and will make the difference between the ride being an enjoyable experience and a painful slog.

You may start off fine on your first 50km or so and think everything is going well.. But with no miles or training under your belt you'll soon be suffering from muscle fatigue & cramps.. Not to mention the increased chance of injury.

Also be aware of the other pains associated with starting to ride a bike... Like wrist, butt and arm pain, these will normally pass but it takes a few weeks for everything to settle-in, assuming that the new bike fits you properly and is adjusted up well.

I'm not trying to put you off here.. just trying to make you aware of what you can expect.

I'll still wish you all the best on your endeavour.. & BTW.. Stay fuelled-up & hydrated.

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