The best way to approach getting ready to ride a BRNW tour is the same thing we do for putting on a BRNW tour:
plan the heck out of it, and then show up and just let it happen. The time you put into thinking about a few things now will mean a much more stress-free and blissful week of riding and relaxing – and that’s what you signed up for, right?
Your one key goal should be to come to the event ready to ride it. “Riding yourself into shape” is not really a viable option on a 7-day tour, so getting yourself into decent shape is a baseline requirement. Does that mean you have to be King or Queen of the Hill on the Strava climbs in your area? Far from it – you just want to be able to enjoy your time in the saddle each day. So here are a few thoughts for you.
1. Know what you’ve signed up for
You need to be able to ride 60-85 miles a day, every day for a week, and be prepared to do some climbing… for the 2018 routes, quite a bit of climbing. That doesn’t mean you have to replicate the entire tour mileage and elevation gain in a week of your training; if you can ride that distance two days back-to-back, with some decent climbing, you should be fine on the tour. The key is for your body to be used to being in the saddle for long stretches; it’s not just your legs and lungs you have to get in shape.
2. Don’t wait until the last month
Find a way to keep some base fitness over the winter – spin classes, an indoor trainer, cross-country skiing, a rowing machine at the gym – and then transition onto the road bike as the weather allows. Slow, steady work you did in the cold and dark months will make the bright and sunny ones so much more fun. Our favorite trainer, Anne Linton, has put together a series of monthly training blogs that you can follow if you like structure; check our blog every month to stay motivated, or hire her to develop a personal plan for you.
3. Build up to a peak
You don’t have to go out and start clocking centuries in May. Keeping in mind the terrain of the BRNW tour(s) you’re doing, gradually build up mileage and climbing over the spring and early summer. Work in some interval repeats, including climbs, to really build strength. Don’t think that a long, slow ride once a week doesn’t help – it does. Push yourself in the last few weeks before the tour, and then ease up the last week before the event. Come in fresh and strong!
4. Treat your body right
Your bike is not the only machine that needs to be properly tuned and maintained. Be sure to balance training with rest days. Include a good full-body stretching session at the end of each ride. Stay hydrated – drink before you ride, not just during and after the ride. Think about the food you’re putting into your body – is it effective fuel for a lean, mean riding machine?
BRNW road tours are like going to a cool adult summer camp – exercise, scenery, lots to do, and lots of people to play with. Your experience will really benefit from some thought and preparation as far as what to bring with you (and what to not!). As part of your rider information, we’ll send you a detailed packing list for your bags; here are some general thoughts to get you started.
A critically important part of a bike tour! You’d be surprised how many questions we get about what kind of bike is “OK” to bring. The answer is: Pretty much whatever works for you, is mechanically sound and safe, and will be comfortable seven days in a row for many hours a day. A major tip: If you have not had your bike professionally fit for you, do it – now. It’s one the most beneficial things you can possibly do as a rider; all the training in the world is useless on a bike that doesn’t fit your body. And think about a tune-up or complete overhaul for your trusty steed before the event; you will not enjoy your week (and neither will our mechanics) if your bike is constantly breaking down.
The bike gear
It all starts with the helmet; you can’t ride a single foot of BRNW without one, and it must fit your head in order to protect it. Beyond that essential, you’ll need two water bottles (or the equivalent) to carry for hydration on the road, basic flat-repair equipment (and skills!), a portable pump or CO2 setup, and anything like handlebar bags, GPS units or distinctive decorations that you find important.
We’ve picked the timing of our tours specifically because there’s a low chance of cold and/or wet weather… but, well, you know. Be prepared for anything! Bring the full range of rain and cold-weather gear as backup, while still focusing more on lightweight summer gear. This goes for camp as well as on the bike; consider that if you’ve ridden in the rain, you don’t want to spend the evening in the same rainwear. Think layers – one of the cool things we offer is the chance to shed and drop some gear at the rest stops, as the day warms up. You get your stuff delivered back to camp in the afternoon.
Yes, this is a tent-camping tour, so bring a good-quality tent – with a rain fly – and a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, pillow, headlamp and anything else to let your overnights be as enjoyable as your daytimes. Quality is really important here; good sleep and shelter are invaluable commodities when you’re working hard on the bike all day for a week. One alternative is our Tent & Porter service, which provides a set-up tent and chairs for you every day; we have a limited number of spots available.
Once you’ve trained effectively and packed efficiently, it’s go time. If you’re driving to the start with your bike, it’s pretty straightforward. If not, here are some additional tips.
If you’re driving in, simply follow the directions to our start/finish site (find all the info you need for Oregon and California); you can leave your vehicle in our long-term parking area all week and it’ll be ready for you when you finish. If you’re flying in, find information on airport shuttle service for Oregon and California.
Don’t let the idea of shipping your bike discourage you from coming to ride with us. We will continue working with our longtime partner Sunnyside Sports in Bend, on bike shipping – they’ll help you get your two-wheeled fun machine to the ride start. You deserve a week-long adventure, and so does your bike!
How bike shipping works
We have several options to best suit your bike shipping needs:
Simple Receiving Free (Your bike is shipped fully intact, or you assemble it)
Simple Shipping $10 + freight charge (You box the bike and we ship it)
Incoming Assembly $60 (You ship the bike to us and we assemble it at the ride start)
Outgoing Boxing and Shipping $60 + freight charge (We disassemble, box and ship your bike at the end of the ride)
Download our Bike Shipping Form here. Or give Sunnyside a call at 541-382-8018 if you have any questions
- Arrange shipment of your bike so that it arrives at Sunnyside Sports no later than FOUR days before the ride begins. We need adequate time to assemble your bike.
- Label your bike – name, phone number and email.
- Label anything that you are shipping along with your bike (helmet, shoes, pump, etc.).
Bicycling Magazine has some great tips on getting your bike packed up snug and tight for its adventure.