Cycling

So, you’re going to cycle for the Maria Falco Trust? Thank you so much. We want to be as helpful as possible, so we’ve put together some information on training and fundraising so you can get the most out of your event.

Please, be careful, train properly and have fun.

Equipment

Whether you’re only cycling a few miles, taking part in a triathlon, or travelling the length of the country by peddle power, you need the right bike and the right helmet.

Most good bike shops will help you choose the right bike for the kind of cycling you are planning on doing. Before you go bike shopping, it’s worth considering whether you’ll be mainly travelling on roads or on rougher terrain. Are you going to be doing a lot of hill cycling or mainly flat? How much do you want to spend on your bike?

At the bike shop, ask to take your chosen cycle for a test-ride. Good bike shops will normally be happy for you to do this, though may ask you to leave a deposit. Trying before you buy really is the only way to make sure the bike is right for you.

When you buy your bike, you also need to buy your helmet. While more expensive helmets don’t offer much more from a safety point of view, if you are planning a longer cycle ride, they are often more comfortable and provide better air flow to keep your head cool.

Get cycling support

Joining a cycling organisation is worth considering. You’ll probably find that you can get the membership fee back in discounts they have with cycling suppliers and insurers. They’ll have lists of cycling clubs, training information, routes and details of cycling events across the country and abroad.

Try these:

CTC (The Cycling Touring Club)

British Cycling

Don’t think that you can get away without a helmet. They are life saving pieces of equipment. If you do fall off your bike, they can be the difference between walking away with a couple of grazed limbs and not walking away at all. Tests have shown they can reduce the risk of fatal head injury by up to 85 per cent.

When you are starting out, there is no need for specialist cycling clothes, though you may want to invest in some specially designed items in due course. Specialist cycling clothes can help reduce wind resistance, wick away moisture to keep you dry and comfortable and stretch in all the right places to avoid chaffing.

Training

Unless you are a very experienced, frequent cyclist, you’ll need to adopt a sensible training programme. While people often say that things are so easy they are “like riding a bike”, there is a big difference between booting around the housing estate and embarking on a bigger adventure.

You can find a lot of information about training at Do it for Charity. The site includes training plans and a list of organised cycling events. It recommends starting training at least four months ahead of an event and build up distance slowly.

Fundraising

The easiest way to collect money raised is to set up a Just Giving page. You can set up your own page with a photo and some text and your sponsors can pay money straight into an account. You will also get a unique link to send email round to friends, family, colleagues and other potential sponsors.

To make the most of the fundraising potential of your event, it’s worth thinking about how you spread the word. Your local newspaper might be interested in covering the story, particularly if you are planning on cycling a long way or overseas. You might like to set up a blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account to document your training and the event itself. It can be a great way to reach people you don’t already know.

Best of luck with your training and your cycle ride. Thank you again from all of us at the Maria Falco Trust.