With some preparation any person with basic mobility and fitness should be able to ride and enjoy Cycle Queensland.
Cycling is an aerobic activity that uses different muscles to other forms of exercise and movement so they need to be trained to work in specific ranges of activity. Train them and they love it!
Your equipment doesn’t need to be high end. Regular everyday bicycles and camping gear will see you through. The main thing is to make sure your bike is well maintained and adjusted for you body and that your tent protects you from any rain and you can get a good nights sleep.
While Cycle Queensland is in the typically dry month of September, if we get rain in this dry land of ours then we ain’t complainin’ so it’s good to have some experience at riding in the rain. Give it a go as it hones your skills further and lets you test your equipment and set up in different conditions. If the weather is warm or hot then it may not be necessary to wear a rain jacket as you will get wetter from the sweat created than from the rain. Just make sure you can avoid any chill factor by having a light wind shell for strong winds or when you stop. Cold rain is a different matter – make sure you stay dry.
Preparing your mind & body
The important issues to consider when preparing for any nine-day Cycle Queensland adventure are your basic fitness and your cycling specific fitness.
You may think you are very fit if you walk or run often, but when you ride for longer distances you may soon find, by increasing soreness, that you really do have other muscles you didn’t realise you had before.
The most essential aim of any training program is to set your goals and targets and to try consistently to achieve them. To train for Cycle Queensland you will need to build up your general level of cycling fitness to allow you to comfortably cover the daily average of between 65 – 70km. To do this we recommend a series of training rides of varying distances building up to 104km (the longest day we expect to have on the ride) closer to the event. This program assumes that you are starting from zero. If you already cycle regularly then simply start at the point you are comfortable with and begin to stretch yourself.
Where and when to ride
Why not join a cycling group? There are plenty of them about, everything from casual groups who do regular rides to associations who focus on touring and longer distances.
Contact your local bike shop for advice on your local groups, talk to other cyclists, phone Bicycle Queensland – just ride! Or organise riding companions. It’s easier to train with friends so ask around at work or school and among your friends and see if someone else can join you on regular rides. It’s hard to miss a session if you know that the other person or group will be there at the meeting point and will be disappointed if you do not turn up.
One of the best ways of fitting more kilometres into a crowded life is to combine training with your ride to work or school. Riding to work or school can be a great way of starting the working day and provided that you can find a reasonably stress free route you will feel much better for it at work and at the end of the day. If your usual trip is too short to help your fitness then simply add some extra distance, there’s sure to be an enjoyable option somewhere.
Alternatively, think laterally and ride to your weekend visits or activities and then catch a lift home with friends, family or on the train (or vice versa of course). On a week day especially if you start early you can easily knock off 30 to 40kms before 8am and still have time for a quick bite and a shower before the day starts in earnest.
Preparing your gear
The clothing you wear is important. Cycling shorts are very comfortable and move with your skin without chafing and rubbing. The absence of seams in the wrong places is a big bonus so not wearing underwear under your cycling shorts is normal and smart. Shirts that are lightweight and breathable are best.
Cycling jerseys are best but if they are out of your price range then something that doesn’t stay wet with sweat is what you should use. Long sleeves to protect against the sun is a smart move.
Your helmet should fit snugly on your head. With the straps secured you should not be able to move the helmet forward below your forehead or backwards beyond your forehead. For a full list of suggested equipment refer to the Hand Book.