I took up cycling again last year after about 10 years off and I?ve decided to try to do some challenge and charity rides, including the White Rose Classic.
Not having done anything like this before, I was wondering what the etiquette at the food/drink stations was. I?m not confident about trying to eat an energy bar or flapjack while riding, let alone open the packet!
And presumably you aren?t expected to sling empty drinks bottles into the hedge and grab new ones like the professionals do? Is it usual to pause at the stations to down a snack and fill bottles, or are you expected to pedal straight on through?
Richard Barker, Leeds
Many a time I?ve been a sensible chap and stopped to fill my pockets with food at a feed station, only to see my erstwhile riding companions doing a perfect through-and-off over the horizon. The result: a lonely and exposed ride to the finish.
But whatever you do, don?t ignore the feed zone, unless you already have full pockets ? better to be on your own and well fed than hanging on to some weekend warrior?s back wheel with the beginnings of an energy crash tapping you on the shoulder.
Practise eating on the move during training rides ? get used to peeling bananas and unwrapping energy bars with one hand and your teeth as well. Then get used to eating while riding. You?ll naturally be better at steering with one hand than the other ? try both out and see which is more comfortable.
During the ride itself, get to the front of your group before you arrive at a feed station. Fill your pockets like it?s the January sales, top up your water bottles, then get away as fast as you can. As for throwing drinks bottles away, don?t follow the example of the pros here. A trail of empty bidons around the route of a sportive is a bad ad for cycling.