12

I go to the gym on a regular basis and do a fair bit of running. I feel like I'm fit enough to do this. It would be a one-off ride from Wembley to Slough and back so it would be a fair bit of road which could be a problem.

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    Is this a one-off or a commute? How much does it matter if you're exhausted? It's doable for any fit adult on any bike that's in working order and fits them. In fact I suggest planning a slightly longer route if necessary to avoid traffic (in the UK, cyclestreets is good). But you will be tired (if your running is distance then less so) – Chris H Jul 2 '17 at 14:02
  • I'm only 17 lol, its also a one off. – Ryan Thompson Jul 2 '17 at 14:13
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    Young muscles recover quicker. You shouldn't ache to much or for too long. – Chris H Jul 2 '17 at 14:44
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    You don't indicate how hilly the road is. If it's reasonably flat then a healthy 17-year-old on a halfway decent bike should be able to handle it. Be sure to air up your tires, and prefer a bike without suspension (or with the suspension locked out) to a suspension bike. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 2 '17 at 15:03
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    Once did 100km after more than 6 months off a bike and lack of general exercise bought on by injury induced 'excess of late night socializing' that went on long after the injury excuse wore off. Probably would not do it again (The late night socializing). But 17 miles should be fine for a young fit person. – mattnz Jul 2 '17 at 20:25

10 Answers 10

24

As a one-off, that should be completely doable. Your fitness from running and the gym should be plenty enough, especially as the route is pretty flat. Bear in mind that it will be tiring, since cycling uses different muscles to running, and the saddle may get a bit uncomfortable if you're not used to it. Make sure you have plenty of water and something like a cereal bar or a banana to eat half-way would be good, too. (You want something that will release energy over time, rather than a big sugar hit.)

Riding in traffic can be mentally tiring when you're not used to it so definitely consider a route using quieter roads and cycle paths, even if that adds a few miles. The thing you want to avoid most is narrow roads with lots of traffic: if cars can overtake you easily, everybody's much happier.

And there's lots of public transport available so, if you get to Slough and can't bear the thought of cycling home again, you can always get on a train, though don't try to do that at rush-hour.

  • Can you carry a hybrid bike on london transport? – Ryan Thompson Jul 2 '17 at 14:39
  • I believe you can carry a non folding bike on some London commuter trains, but check with the train company. Tube and bus, no. – Chris H Jul 2 '17 at 14:41
  • Also do you know any good cycling apps that give you the best route to get to a certain location? At the moment in gonna be counting on Google maps – Ryan Thompson Jul 2 '17 at 14:43
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    Okay huge thanks for the help. Wish me luck lol – Ryan Thompson Jul 2 '17 at 14:51
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    A banana is fine, or some oats that slowly digest so he has a source of energy for an extended period of time. A chocolate bar though is not a good recommendation... – user1997744 Jul 2 '17 at 20:37
14

Man, just do it! There isn't much that can go wrong. If you feel tired, turn around midway. Take a mobile phone with you in case something happens, look up the weather forecast, take something to eat and drink with you (or some money to buy some). If you end up at a different location than initially planned, so be it; my personal experience is that too much planning destroys much of the fun of riding. I often start thinking about going for an hour ride and end up doing 100km. Or vice versa.

As an inexperienced rider you may do 10 mph (16km/h), thus 3 and a half hours of riding time for 34 miles (54km). So just make sure you don't start in the evening.

Have fun!

8

Nope - go for it. Here are two suggested routes from Strava, which were generated at https://www.strava.com/routes/new and then clicking a start and end point, and changing some options.

This first one is based on "most popular with cyclists" and runs for 30 km with total elevation change of 204 metres.

enter image description here

Another choice is "minimise elevation change" which saves you 5km and 50 metres of vertical ascent, but is a less popular path with cyclists. I see part of it appears to be down the A40 motorway, but there appears to be a cycle path there.

enter image description here

Finally if you'd rather make your own way, here's the "heatmap" for the area. You can access this at http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#13/-0.44289/51.51782/blue/bike

http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#13/-0.44289/51.51782/blue/bike

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    The A40 isn't a motorway, it's an A road :) which are generally not as big as motorways. It's illegal to cycle on motorways, whose names begin with M. – Tom Fenech Jul 3 '17 at 10:37
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    @TomFenech cool thanks for that. There is a yellow-dashed lane on the south side of the road, so it should be a good ride. Many people think strava is a recording tool, and to some extent it is, but as a route planning tool it can be quite good too. – Criggie Jul 3 '17 at 11:25
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    I live in Uxbridge, and I would definitely not want to cycle on that part of the A40. It's very busy, and is a 3-lane dual carriageway. From Northolt I would go towards Yeading and then through Hillingdon – James Monger Jul 3 '17 at 14:04
  • @JamesMonger Is there a separated bike path there? Map seems to imply there is, but it may be a dedicated footpath instead. Local knowledge is the best source of routing information, and strava's heatmap shows that its not an unpopular route for riding. – Criggie Jul 4 '17 at 0:17
  • @Criggie There is a footpath along some parts of it but legally you must ride on the road and I know that the police can at times be quite hot on it - and I wouldn't want to ride on that road! (although realistically you'll likely be fine on the pavement) – James Monger Jul 4 '17 at 8:35
4

Our LBS has a Saturday morning ride for which we often get beginners. Many are no longer young and not particularly fit. They can do 17 miles of flat ride before lunch. I wouldn't worry about the amount of exercise if you have a nice break in the middle. Discomfort after that much riding is more of a worry. Allow enough time, about two hours each way with rest stops. You will probably ride faster than that, but don't push too hard. The main thing is to have fun so you keep riding.

4

I typically tell people that any normal healthy novice can get on a bicycle and do 10 miles per hour without difficulty, so if you can walk for two hours stop for lunch and walk back, then you can do this with less work. Pack water, a cellphone and lunch money. If things go wrong you can put the bike in the boot of a cab.

1

If you were a little older I'd say work up to it over a month or so, doing progressively longer rides to give your body time to adjust and tell you how it's doing, but at 17 you can recover from almost anything. Have a great time.

I can't tell how much you've ridden already, but maybe (if you're not tubeless) practice changing a flat in the field to make sure you have everything with you that you need. Ride a mile from the house then pretend you have a flat, then change or patch the tube right there by the side of the road.

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    Don't patch on the side of the road if you can help it. Just bring a spare tube and patch when you get home. – RoboKaren Jul 2 '17 at 20:28
  • @RoboKaren: That is what I do – except that in practice I seldom get round to the patching:( – PJTraill Jul 5 '17 at 9:06
1

It's do-able. We have some guests, a couple in their 20s or 30s, who both know how to cycle but aren't accustomed to it. They were able to go somewhere and back, 25 km each way.

Caveat:

  • It took them several hours; partly because they stopped when they got there. But also because they cycle relatively slowly.
  • They borrowed my bikes which are "hybrids" of reasonable quality (several hundred euros with good tires)
  • They went along a semi-paved river tow-path which is closed to vehicle traffic, so no worries about that.

When they went again some weeks later, they found it easier. It seems to me too that any route is easier the second time you do it.

0

We did distances like that several times a year when I was 12 years old. So just drive off, without any special preparation, I am sure you will find something to drink and eat near to your route as soon as you want some...

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    Welcome to the site! Since the asker will be cycling in an urban area, they certainly will be able to buy food and drink on the way. It would still be a good idea to bring a bottle of water, though, so they can stay hydrated, rather than waiting until they get thirsty. – David Richerby Jul 3 '17 at 13:49
0

I drove that as a daily commute for a year. Was slightly hard the first week, after that easy enough. If you keep a normal relaxed pace you should be able to do the entire distance 2x27 in about three to four hours

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    Drove or rode? "Drive" is normally used for four-wheeled motor vehicles, not bicycles. And I'm not sure this really adds anything to the large number of existing answers: it's already been pointed out that it'll be something of an effort and that it'll take 3-4 hours. – David Richerby Jul 4 '17 at 10:16
-2

17 kms is not a lot i think. Drink a lot of water if you are hydrated, and make comfortable. I ride 70 kms (up, down) twice a month, and i domt find it hard. It depend upon your cadence and speed.

  • 2
    This doesn't really add anything to the large number of existing answers. Also, not that the asker is talking about riding 34 miles (17 miles each way), which is about 55km. – David Richerby Jul 4 '17 at 10:18

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