Doing 75 km "Ride For Heart" in Toronto this Sunday on a closed highway. Using Norco Cyclocross bike for it. I've read online different advice for beginners, but was wondering if there is anything else the community can suggest.

  • Be polite and communicate intent with other riders
  • Cadence ~ 70-80 rpm
  • Drink/Eat a bit throughout the race not to reach the state of bonking and dehydration
  • Have fun :)

Am I missing anything important?

Update: Thank you all for the advice. The ride went well and we finished in about 3.5 - 4 hours. Avg Speed was ~20 km/h. Highest recorded - 37.5 km/h :) I don't know how to pick the "approved" response because many people contributed very helpful info.

  • 2
    I wouldn't worry about cadence, studies have shown self-selected cadence is very efficient, that is more of a training consideration.
    – Rider_X
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 16:52
  • 1
    +1 to what @Rider_X said. Simply shift when you have to pedal too hard or soon too fast. Otherwise do not care all that much about it. PS I envy you; I should love to ride on the Gardiner between the high-rises!
    – gschenk
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 20:44
  • 1
    If this is your first long ride you won't be keeping 70-80 cadence. Just try not to let it slip too low, as that is damaging to the knees. A good rule of thumb is to pedal at least as rapidly as you breathe, ideally twice as fast. Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 1:05
  • 1
    And do consider your clothes. The wrong shorts can get a bit unpleasant after 40-50 miles. In particular be wary of something that might bind or rub as you pedal. Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 1:06
  • 1
    And don't forget the sun lotion! Even if it's cold and cloudy when you start, oil up before you depart. Pay particular attention to the back of the neck, the forearms, and your thighs. Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 1:08

5 Answers 5


With respect to riding in a group, or with more numerous riders closer to you than you are used to.

  • Be aware of the space around you
  • Maintain a safe distance from riders in front
  • Look sideways and over your shoulders before overtaking or maneuvering
  • When cornering be aware of riders to you sides and give them space
  • When slowing down, hold up a hand palm forward, or call out 'slowing' or 'stopping'

Common sense stuff really.

  • Hand signals are always preferred over yelling. Its hard to hear "stopping" when the rider in front is yelling if forward and you are sitting in behind. It typically causes more confusion during a time when immediate action (i.e., braking) is required.
    – Rider_X
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 16:56
  • @Rider_X, agree, but it's hard to brake with both hands with a hand off the bars. In emergencies and appropriate level of volume and panic should be used :-) Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 16:58
  • If you are panic stopping in a group situation all is already lost, yelling won't do much, it's survival mode.
    – Rider_X
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 17:00
  • @Rider_X appropriate level of warning then. Yelling is still better then nothing if you have to have both hands on the bars Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 17:20
  • 1
    Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Rider_X
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 20:28

FYI, not to confuse people, it's not a race, but a "ride";

Event info

"Participants who weave, pass at high speeds or cycle at high speeds in a group/peloton are considered unsafe and will be removed from the event by Toronto Police Services."

  1. Ride at your own pace; ride straight, don't make sudden movements...
  2. Keep hydrated, have a full water bottle on your bike at the start. (I assume there are water available at the different rest areas)
  3. Dress comfortably; be prepared for rain (I just looked at the toronto weather)
  4. Have fun.

Regarding food, I don't think you should worry about that that much, have a nice dinner the night before and have a couple of "granola bars" with you for the ride.

Have a nice beer after the ride (don't drink and ride/drive).

I'm doing Montreal's Tour de l'Ile this Sunday (and night's tour tonight) and the above will be what I do.

  • I find that after strenuous exercise, alcohol goes straight to my head and makes me cheap date because being dehydrated increases the effect, and alcohol might be best left until the evening after recovery.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 23:25
  • @Criggie I'm drinking non-alcohilc beer right now ! :-)
    – Max
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 2:34

Cadence - mostly down to personal preference, but the most common advice is actually to aim for 90-100rpm. I honestly wouldn't worry too much about it though.

Food - don't try out something on the day that you didn't test beforehand - when working hard, this can lead to unfortunate emergency visits to the bushes!

Clothing - Similar to above, don't try something untested on race day - the last thing you want is to get 50km in and find your shorts have rubbed all the skin off your thighs.

Helmet - I don't know the rules for your particular event, but many rides operate a 'no helmet, no ride' policy, often sticking your timing chip to your helmet as proof you have it

Repair kit - Multi-tool, spare tube and pump/co2 as a minimum.

Pacing - Don't get overexcited and chase faster riders for the first hour - this can lead to the rest of the ride being quite a miserable experience.

  • 2
    In this case, the helmet is mandatory.
    – Max
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 16:01

If you have never ridden this long, pace yourself. It is better to finish in 5 hours than to do 1/2 the ride in 2hours but be tired to finish. Break it up into three 25km rides. Ride 25 km and stop, walk a bit, eat something and rehydrate. This type of ride is a charity event not meant to be a race. Also be aware that the crowds are likely to be full of riders not accustomed to riding in large groups. Ride defensively don't assume someone won't stop in the middle of a pack with 30 riders behind them. Most of all have fun and make friends.


75 km is a decent distance! If you have not done rides this long before don't stress too much. Why? When riding with other people you get a boost from those around you - its like a gentle tailwind or a slight downhill. This will help keep you moving along (but doesn't replace pedalling!)

AIR This road is probably pretty good condition, so you won't need suspension or knobbly tyres. Do inflate your tyres up toward the upper end of your normal range. Adding some more air than normal should help roll better on the smoother tarmac vs the slightly bumpier roads a CX bike would normally run over.

Start Gun I note that the instructions do NOT have a start time, there is a 75km chute opens and closes time so there is no start gun, just a 30 minute window for when to begin. So it can't possibly be a race.

Rest Stops If your maximum normal ride length is under 25 km this might be a struggle, so break it into three rides that long with big 15-30 minute break periods. There are four rider rest stops along the route as per the official map:
enter image description here

The rest stops are marked with (R) and you're not supposed to stop anywhere else on the route. So pick one and have a breather.

And good work for joining in!

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