8 Cycling Tips for the Best Buddies Challenge with Chiu Man
Meet Chiu Man, an avid cyclist and a Best Buddies Challenge participant who cycled 50 miles with the MTeam last year.
He's been a part of the Apex Velo community for several years now and, as a seasoned cyclist, shares some of his top tips for getting started as a beginner, how to keep going once you're on the road and tackling a century ride.
MTEAM: Tell us a bit about yourself!
CHIU MAN: I have been working at EMD Millipore as a R&D Services Sourcing Manager since 2015. This is approximately the same amount of time that I’ve been associated with the Apex Velo community. As a dedicated & intermediate cyclist in 2015, I became part of this community when I decided to treat myself to a “bike fit” with the hopes of using my free time to improve my capabilities on my existing bike. Since that time, I have come a long way from the 16 mph rider to the 20 mph rider I am today. The services and community provided by Apex Velo helped me achieve this, while enjoying myself along the way. Beyond the community of cycling, I also enjoy the communities around competitive badminton and fine wine & spirits tastings.
MTEAM: Share your experience of the Best Buddies Challenge in 2018.
CM: This year, I participated in the 50-mile ride. Having trained for the 100-mile challenge, I felt sprightly when I crossed the finish line. I enjoyed meeting buddies and fellow riders along the way and at the finish, but my fondest memory is the camaraderie of riding alongside my friend.
MTEAM: What are some of the most important features to look for if you’re purchasing a new bike with the aim to ride long distances, like the Best Buddies Challenge century ride, for example?
CM: It’s important to purchase a well-fitted and comfortable bike. There is absolutely no way to enjoy or endure a ride of this distance otherwise. Finding a bike shop that provides this expertise and commitment to service will be critical to helping make your century ride a comfortable success.
MTEAM: The Best Buddies Challenge is in June 2019. Can you recommend a sample training schedule if those who are a bit rusty want to start getting into shape now?
CM: I recommend getting out there and riding as soon as you can. There is no substitution for getting yourself acclimated to riding on the roads, as is necessary for the century ride. If you can attend a Best Buddies coaching ride or can ride alongside a seasoned BB participant, these will be helpful. The advice and insight you receive on such rides will be invaluable to your confidence and competence on the bike. (Re)establishing an understanding of how to ride (e.g. rules of the road, shifting, braking, turning, drafting) in different terrain or circumstances (e.g. hills, rough roads, sand, wind, rain, groups) will enable safe, effective, and efficient riding.
Fitness training is another challenge. Don’t rush to become the next Tour de France champion as this will inevitably end in frustration. Instead, establish a baseline of your capability and set attainable incremental goals (like milestones of distance, speed, duration). Allow the small successes to fuel your ambition for improvement. If you enjoy other cardiovascular fitness activities, these will certainly help prepare “the engine”, but they are not direct substitutes to engage all that is necessary for the Best Buddies Challenge.
MTEAM: What’s your best tip for training on the hot summer days?
a: Ride as the sun is starting to rise in the morning. It’s cooler and typically there are fewer cars on the road.
b: Ride in the early evening for similar reasons. However, wear bright clothing and use active lighting to increase your visibility to cars. If needed, you may also bring a bike light to increase your visibility of the road.
MTEAM: How about freezing, snowy winter days?
a: I typically do not ride when I cannot see the road (i.e. snow-covered). However, I will ride in the cold with appropriate layers, allowing myself to be slightly chilly at the start and to heat up with exertion throughout the ride.
b: Indoor trainers, like the Wahoo KICKR, are a useful and safe substitute for outdoor snow-covered winter cycling.
MTEAM: What’s your number one cycling tip for beginners?
CM: Find an experienced cycling buddy to ride with you. Safety, assurance, motivation, and wisdom will be invaluable to developing your cycling experience. Joining a cycling club or a group ride is another good option.
MTEAM: Mentally, what can help a cyclist find the motivation to reach the finish line and keep pushing toward new goals?
a: Remember why you’re participating in the Best Buddies Challenge.
b: Have a friend or family member ride with you.
c: Have a friend or family member waiting for you at the finish line.
MTEAM: Is there an app or a fitness accessory you’d recommend for keeping track of training miles, times and elevation?
a: Garmin (with/without heart rate monitor, cadence sensor, power meter, or GPS)
b: Wahoo (with/without heart rate monitor, cadence sensor, power meter, or GPS)
c: STRAVA app on your smartphone
d: MayMyRide app on your smartphone
MTEAM: What other fitness gear is important for cyclists who want the most comfortable ride?
a: Properly fitted and well-ventilated bike helmet
b: Properly fitted and comfortable bike saddle
c: Properly fitted and breathable cycling shorts (and top like a jersey)
d: Properly fitted and well-ventilated cycling shoes
e: Cycling gloves
MTEAM: What makes the MTeam special? What would inspire people to join you?
CM: The commitment and genuineness of leadership inspires participation.