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I'm considering cycling along a sand dune which is 50km. The bike path is mainly flat. The longest I've riden on a bike is probably less than 1 hour. I do occasionally cycle within the city but it's just short distances. I was wondering if 50km will be too much for me? And will an e-bike help?

Jessie

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    Is the bike path on sand? 50km isn't normally an unachievable distance on a hard/road surface, but would be much tougher on sand – Swifty Aug 13 '19 at 7:20
  • How far did you travel in that hour (just roughly)? – Chris H Aug 13 '19 at 7:53
  • If you've only ridden for an hour before you will probably find it a bit of a struggle to be honest, I'm not trying to put you off doing it but we don't know what bike your attempting to do this on or your physical health capabilities. Add a bit more detail to your question and we may be able to assist more. My advice if you do attempt it is stay at a steady pace and take a break every 60 minutes, it should be easily doable if you stay in zone 2 / 3 and expect it to take around 3 hours at a leasurely pace – Dan K Aug 13 '19 at 10:20
  • @swifty the whole bike path is road sutface – Jessie Aug 13 '19 at 19:17
  • @ Dan K my main concern would be my body, with no prior training, let's say I cycle at a steady pace and take breaks, will I suffer for the next couple of days? I'm traveling so I'd prefer not to risk it if it will take a couple of days to recover. – Jessie Aug 13 '19 at 19:23
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I can just imagine myself back then when I bought my old vintage bike and rode it 103km to my hometown without proper training or gear. There's a lot of hills along the way but I manage to reach 60km pedaling my bike before my legs felt tired and started walking on climbs but still pedaling on flats and down hills. I have no helmet and cycling shorts back then, so sun burn and butt soreness was really an experience I don't want to happen again. I have learn a lot from that experience. Now I ride 40-50km every weekend for practice to prepare myself for another epic and longer ride. From that experience, I recommend you to consider the following.

For you:

  1. Health - If you are healthy enough without any injuries or any health issues which can be triggered by fatigue, then 50km is good.

  2. Terrain - Terrain is the most important part when you go on a long bike journey. This will be the defining factor regardless of distance. Just imagine the amount of effort you will exert when you go on a 50km hill climb vs a 50km flats. The more effort/power you apply, the less gas and distance you can finish. I suggest you read a map of your desired route and look for how high or low you'll be climbing. If you're sure it's all flats, then 50km is no worries for beginners. If there are a lot of climbs, then you might shorten your desired distance first for maybe 15-20km.

  3. Speed - Same law applies with terrain. More effort/power the less gas & mileage you can accomplished. So make sure you're only pedaling at your comfortable/easy cadence. You want to tour then you have to take it slow and enjoy the journey.

  4. Padded Shorts/Pants - Trust me, butt soreness is never a joke. This is a must.

  5. Protective gear - helmet, gloves, reflectors or lights (if you're riding at night), UV protected clothing against the heat of the sun or jacket if it's cold.

  6. Food - Bring plenty of carb rich food like bars or gels.

For your bike:

  1. Wheels - Make sure your wheels are still in good condition and bring extra tires, pump, tubes if you're in a clincher wheels.

  2. Water - Bring enough water. 2 bottles will do.

  3. Toolkit - For any repairs along your journey.

  4. Money - If you want to buy stuff along or worse your bike broke and you can no longer ride it safely, then a payment to a nearby repair shop or a ride home.

Is there anything I missed? Feel free to edit this answer or comment down below.

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    I'm not sure loading up on carbs is necessary, I often do 30 miles on just a breakfast, but we are all different I guess – Dan K Aug 13 '19 at 10:21
  • @DanK just to be sure. We don't know if his/her body may require less/more carbs along the way. Usually I load up 1 bar of my favorite chocolate energy bar for my rides and back. – WashichawbachaW Aug 13 '19 at 10:40
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    There is no need whatsoever to bring spare tyres (or even one spare tyre) on a 50km ride. A spare inner tube is useful, because it's quicker to replace a punctured tube than patch it out in the open, but spare tyres are only worth considering if you're leaving civilization for days at a time. – David Richerby Aug 13 '19 at 10:55
  • Butt soreness is not a joke and in fact I am now suffering from that after a week of rding even with padding, but if it is a on-off, I used to do regular single rides (even over 100 km) withou any padding whatsoever and without saddle sores. – Vladimir F Aug 13 '19 at 11:47
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Some years ago I was in an organization trying to promote the use of cycling in our city. One way to do this was to arrange outings in the weekend, where we would go visiting touristic spots in the surroundings of the city (i.e. winemakers, farms, food fairs, etc.)

The distances we used to cover were ranging from 40 to 60 km on flat routes, and most of the participants were first time or occasional cyclists. Some even wearing high heels when we were supposed to take a walk in the countryside to visit some archeological ruins (sic!)

As long as we kept a slow pace, meaning that we stayed below 15 km/h, everyone always managed to complete the tour and enjoy it. And it was before the time of e-bikes.

This can apply also to you:

  • keep a slow pace
  • be sure to have water to stay hydrated
  • be sure to have sugars available should you have a hunger crisis
  • don't be afraid to stop if you think you are done
  • if possible, try to progressively push your limit further away in terms of mileage, to find what your body can do
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If the bike path is hard (not sand), I don't think there will be a lot of difficulty (but I don't know your physical conditions...).

For me you just need to take :

  • water (to stay hydrated)
  • eventually, padded cycling shorts (might not be necessary for short distance)

And the basic bike emergency kit :

  • gloves (if you derail)
  • screwdriver/ allen key (in case something unscrews on your bike)
  • tube/ expansive foam (if you have a flat tyre)

Even though these might not be necessary.

  • I'm not sure what you mean by "eventually a pant with leather cloth". And a spare inner tube is no use without a pump. – David Richerby Aug 13 '19 at 10:56
  • Possibly an abbreviation of Padded Pants – Dan K Aug 13 '19 at 11:02
  • @DavidRicherby For the 'pant with leather cloth' I meant the pant usually used when cycling on long distance used to protect your legs and butt (English is not my native language and I don't know how it is called in this language...) – f222 Aug 13 '19 at 12:29
  • I've no idea how it is where you are, but in the UK at least, most long distance cyclists wear lycra not leather – Andy P Aug 13 '19 at 12:36
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    Ah, you're thinking of a chamois, which would originally have been leather but now isn't. – David Richerby Aug 13 '19 at 14:31
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In addition to the other answers: Make sure it’s a good bicycle which is intended for serious riding. Not something like a cruiser, fat bike or city bike.

A road bike would be best of course, but a hybrid or hardtail mountain bike will work fine as well.

Make sure it’s properly maintained (especially tire pressure and chain lube). Make sure the saddle position is correct and you feel comfortable on the bike.

If there is no wind and no hills you can expect about two hours of easy riding at 25km/h. Plan for a longer break in the middle. Try to avoid lots of small breaks, it just makes getting back into the flow harder. If you are able to walk for two hours or can do any other form of light exercise for two hours it should be no problem at all.

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