Advices for the Randonnée – Part 1

Hi everybody,
some friends of us are asking for some information on bike and equipment, clothing and alimentation for the Randonnée. A few days ago I wrote something in general about the training for our Randonnée; today I’ll go into detail by taking the cue from the excellent Manuale del giovane randonneur by Mauro Pansarelli and Fabio Bardelli of Bulletta Bike Team (in Italian), because “those who travel by bike will always remain young“, fantastic!

My advices come from my touring guide (MTB, road, tourism) expertise, both in Italy and abroad.

Security, security, security!
As soon as I start a tour, no matter of the tour operator I guide it for, the first accent will be on security.

Reasons for which you fall down are numerous, but statistically the most frequent accidents happen for the following three reasons:

  1. you are too close to the person before you, and you touch his wheels or frame. You fall down.
  2. You are talking to your bike fellow without looking in front of you. You fall down.
  3. You move your hands from the handlebar to: close the jacket’s zip, clean your lenses, put your helmet right, take a picture…just stop to do what you need. You’ll arrive sooner.
  4. Another point to add: when riding a bike, especially on the road, don’t use earphones. Highly dangerous.

The helmet? It should be clearcut, it saved my life more than one time.

Another (genial!) suggestion is to avoid well travelled roads. It is not a good service to the bike-world public image, that of bikers who, in Sardinia, go on the intersection highway, the SS130 or SS131. If we hadn’t had enough roads…!

…OK, but…will I reach the end??
As often specified, a Randonnée is more a travel than a race, and on tour you enjoy the landscape and the company, and to achieve these thing you need to go at your own speed. I always repeat “slow…slow…” to those my guests who are suffering from a demanding uphill, and many times, also to myself 🙂 In order to reach the right pace, I find it useful to slow down until I’ve found the correspondence between pedaling and breathing. A friend of mine, semi-professional cyclist and really good, suggest you train by pedaling 10 minutes with a single leg, now and then. Ah, just as a reminder: even if you arrive first, you don’t win anything.

What should I eat?
About this issue I am an expert 🙂 When you travel by bike you will find it perfect the mediterranean diet elements, with a little wine at dinner’s time.

Personally I prefer natural food, so during tours or long trips I take bread and honey, the classical banana for potassium, dried fruit.

I don’t really like energetic bars as much as the more normal ones, because they annoy me after some time. And, provided that we should eat tasty foods – like Sardinian biscuits with flour, raisin and dried fruit – the Sardinian “pabassinu” is spectacular!

Fundamental is, then, eating not much and often. Hunger crisis is always round the corner and when it arrives, it’s already too late for you to recover from it. On the other side, it’s better not exaggerating in too sweet food – even if a natural one like raisin – because it unsettles glycemic equilibrium.

What should I drink?
Also in this case I prefer staying in the “natural” area, so: water.

When it is hot and distances would be long I always carry two bottles, one filled with water-only and the other one with water and mineral salts or, instead of the last ones, fruit juice (from real fruit!) and water.

If you do a pit-stop in a bar, a soda-drink is OK, I prefer Orangina and Lemonsoda.

At the end of the day, with an Ichnusa bier I am able to come to terms with the worlds; two or three with the universe.

I hope to have given some useful info; in the next posts (soon, I promise 🙂  I will about GPS, maps and road-book, bike and clothing.