Completing a Bike MS event is a huge personal accomplishment and something you will remember with pride for many years to come. We want to help you get ready for an EXTRAORDINARY ride!
Bike MS has partnered with experts in the cycling industry to help ensure that you are ready for the ride of your life! From choosing the perfect bike to getting started on a training plan, we’re with you every pedal stroke of the way! Check out the tabs below to get great information on training, nutrition, and gear for an incredible ride. And perhaps most importantly, consider joining or starting a team for your Bike MS ride- share the ride with your friends, coworkers, and family to multiply your impact, and your FUN!
GET HELP PICKING THE BEST BIKE
There’s probably nothing as important to ensuring a great event experience than making sure you’re riding a bike you love and which feels great. Most people choose a road bike or a hybrid for Bike MS, though we’ve got cyclists on mountain bikes, recumbents, handcycles, and tricycles, too. We encourage you to visit your local bike shop for expert advice on selecting the best bike for you and for help getting a proper fit.
One person can change the world, so just imagine what a team can do. Share the Bike MS experience with your friends, family members, and co-workers, and make a difference together!
Being part of a team is a great way to enhance your Bike MS event experience. Your team can train together, fundraise together, wear special team jerseys during the event, and make your Bike MS ride the social event of the season!
It’s easy to form a team. Just select “Form a Team” when you’re registering, and from there we guide you every step of the way. Through our online tools you can set your fundraising goal and ask your friends, family, and co-workers to join you.
Use these resources to help your team be successful
As a Bike MS team captain, you are joining thousands of other committed leaders across the country. It is an experience like no other. Leading a team is an opportunity to share a great experience with friends, family members and co-workers, to inspire and encourage others new to the event, and to ultimately make a lasting difference in the lives of people living with MS.
- It It just takes one person to inspire many - that’s the power of being a team captain. Use our Team Captain Handbook for tips and tools to inspire your team.
- Print out this thermometer poster to track your fundraising efforts.
- Get the word out about your Bike MS event. Use these convenient online resources to reach out to everyone you know.
- Put the power of social media to work for you with these tips
- Want to see how the competition stacks up? View our 2011 Top Fundraising Teams
Our National Teams raise over $22 million each year in our events. National Teams are companies or organizations that have teams participating in 4 or more Society events each year. These can be Bike MS teams, Walk MS teams, MuckFest MS teams anything! The National Team Captain takes on the role of organizing and coordinating the efforts of the teams around the country, sharing tips and tools and best practices with the local team captains in the various events. If you want to learn more about becoming a National Team, or to find out if your company is already involved as a National Team, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you get started!
National Team Apparel
Need cycling apparel for your National Team? Primal, a National sponsor of Bike MS, can help design a jersey for all your teams around the country. The order process is easy and 15% of your total order will be donated directly back to your team’s Bike MS fundraising account through the Primal Gives Back Program!
The friendly staff at Primal can help you design, plan, and fulfill your orders through an online ordering system, making life easier for Team Captains.
Don't delay, start the process today! Request a quote at www.primalcustom.com or call 800.275.6953.
Training for an Endurance Ride
Training for an endurance ride
We’re pleased to introduce you to TrainingPeaks, the official training software of Bike MS! We are excited about this partnership and are inviting YOU to experience it.
TrainingPeaks is an interactive, web-based training log and food diary designed to help individuals achieve their health and fitness goals. Subscription to the basic edition is FREE for Bike MS participants, and you have the opportunity to download custom-written cycling training plans, developed exclusively for us by renowned cycling expert Joe Friel, author of “The Cyclist’s Training Bible” and the official coaching partner of the National MS Society. (Learn more about Joe at his website) These custom plans are also available for FREE to our Bike MS participants! Click here to learn more.
Features of Training Peaks:
- TrainingPeaks is the ultimate training log and food diary developed to help motivated individuals achieve health, fitness and peak performance.
- TrainingPeaks customers span the entire lifestyle continuum from elite athletes to first time competitors and everyday individuals looking to take control of their personal nutrition and fitness goals.
- In addition to using our custom plans for FREE, our cyclists can purchase additional pre-built training plans, pre-built meal plans, or find a professional for expert training or nutrition advice and motivation. They can also upgrade to the Premium version and use the VirtualCoach, mobile app, more reports and custom planning.
- TrainingPeaks.com is compatible with over 80 different devices like heart rate monitors, GPS devices and power meters. Including those from Polar, Garmin, Timex, Suunto and more. Users can also build routes, track their progress with interactive reports and share their experience via Facebook and Twitter.
We hope you’ll find TrainingPeaks to be a great benefit to you as you prepare for your upcoming Bike MS ride. Bike MS is the premier fundraising cycling series in the country — and this is one more tool to ensure you have the ride of your life!
Helmet — of course! You should wear one every time you ride, and you must when you ride in Bike MS. Modern helmets are lightweight, airy and stylish as well
Shorts — cycling shorts are not a gimmick. They are key to minimizing chafing and other discomforts when sitting on a saddle for any length of time. Good shorts have a large, smooth, lightly padded liner (“chamois”). If you don’t care for the skintight look of Lycra, opt for the “baggie” mountain bike style that looks like casual shorts but still has a liner. Being a loose fit, though, means they could bunch uncomfortably during long rides.
Jersey — a cycling jersey with three rear pockets is handy for carrying snacks, your wallet and other items. Summer jerseys are usually made from a material that lifts moisture way from the skin, keeping you drier and more comfortable. Plenty of casual riders simply pull on a T-shirt, but realize that sweat (or a rain shower) makes cotton heavy and clammy. We are delighted to welcome Primal Wear as the official jersey of Bike MS and invite to check out the special offers they have in place for our cyclists.
Gloves — short-finger cycling gloves absorb perspiration for a safer grip, protect against raw spots and blisters, and pad your palms to reduce road shock. Most have a terry back that gives you a way to wipe sweat from your eyes or energy drink from your chin.
Shoes and socks — dedicated cycling shoes, either for road riding or mountain biking, are the best choice. The reason? Very firm soles that let you press as hard as you want without feeling uncomfortable pedal pressure. You can use mountain bike style shoes with or without toes clips and straps, or with clipless pedal systems. Plenty of casual riders simply wear running shoes, but their softness makes them less suitable for longer distances. Socks are important for comfort and sweat absorption. Choose the low-cut style if you’re worried about a funny tan line.
Sunglasses — it’s best to use a sports model with unbreakable lenses that have 100% UV protection. The wraparound style will reduce bothersome wind, a boon if you wear contacts.
Build a Better Diet
Ride stronger with meals from the Mediterranean
In the region where olives flourish, people flourish, too. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even Alzheimer's are far less common in Mediterranean countries, such as Greece, Italy, France and Spain. Perhaps this explains why many of the world's best bike racers, including Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, have a nutritional leg up. Eating well is easy for them because "Mediterranean eaters place an emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients," says Cynthia Sass, R.D., C.S.S.D., author of Flat Belly Diet ($16; rodale.com), based on the region's eating patterns. These dishes often build on a few flavor-packed ingredients, such as tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar. Follow Sass's advice to import the best of the Mediterranean into your kitchen.
Make Veggies the Centerpiece
Mediterranean meals typically consist of about 75 percent plant matter, from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. "Meat is considered a condiment and is eaten infrequently," says Sass. Greeks, for example, eat little red meat but consume an average of nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables. These proportions offer a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which stave off disease and fuel athletic performance.
Try it Pick a vegetable or fruit and design the meal around it. Pair great berries with oatmeal; mix broccoli into a pasta sauce. Fresh, in-season fruits and veggies deliver the highest nutrient content, and you can save them for other times of the year as well. "Freezing tends to lock in nutrients and preserve them, so many frozen foods are just as nutritious as when they are fresh," says Sass.
Choose Plant-Based Fats
Foods popular in the Mediterranean--like nuts and olive oil--aren't low in fat. But it's monounsaturated fat, the good kind that lowers total cholesterol levels. Plus, several studies have found that the diet fosters weight loss. One 2008 paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that those who switched to a Mediterranean diet lost an average of 9.7 pounds, compared with 6.4 pounds for those who followed a low-fat plan.
Try it Use olive oil in place of butter or mayo and snack on nuts instead of cheese. Slice an avocado into your salad or sandwich.
Season Food Liberally
"Cyclists need more antioxidants in their diets to repair the wear and tear from long rides," says Sass. Mediterranean food is amply seasoned with herbs and spices so packed with antioxidants that even small doses deliver powerful benefits. One teaspoon of cinnamon delivers as many antioxidants as a cup of pomegranate juice.
Try it Add antioxidant-rich herbs and spices such as oregano, cinnamon or dill to entrees. Place lemon slices over fish and beans to make a zingy dish. Grow a windowsill herb garden for a supply of flavor-packed seasonings.
Swap Your Protein
Fish, rather than beef, is the go-to protein, so Mediterranean eaters are consuming more healthy fatty acids than artery-clogging saturated fats.
Try it Sass recommends two or three seafood-based meals per week. Start with the recipe below, which has typical Mediterranean vegetables and fruits (fennel and olives), olive oil and seasonings (lemon and thyme). To make a full meal, Sass says, Mediterraneans would round it out with even more vegetables, such as a salad of beans or greens.
Hydrating for Cycling
Fueling your muscles for cycling
Exercising muscles need fluid and energy to perform at their best. With every pedal stroke you complete, a small amount of body fluid is lost through sweating and a little bit of energy fuel is burned inside your muscle cells. The more fluid you lose and the more energy your muscles burn, the more tired you become. So it is important that you consume fluid and energy during all of your rides. By consuming these vital nutrients for muscle performance during all of your training rides and during Bike MS itself you will feel better and ride better than you would otherwise. The two main causes of fatigue are dehydration and depletion of energy stores in the muscles. Sweat is the body’s coolant. During an intense workout, the muscles generate heat, which is carried by the blood through capillaries near the surface of the skin. Sweat glands release sweat (made up of water and electrolyte minerals) that evaporates, cooling the skin and the blood just underneath. Cooled blood thenflows back to cool the body’s core.
The Importance of Hydration
Sweating is therefore an essential mechanism for regulating body temperature. However, the loss of water that comes with perspiration limits the capacity of the blood to carry vital nutrients, such as glucose, fatty acids, and oxygen, to working muscles. The capacity of the blood to remove the byproducts of metabolism, including carbon dioxide and lactic acid, is compromised as well. The result is an increased demand on the circulatory system, which is approximately 70 percent water. As little as a 2% loss in body fluids will negatively impact cardiovascular performance. In addition to water, sweat contains minerals called electrolytes that serve important functions in the body. For example, sodium helps regulate fluid balance and potassium assists muscle contractions. Excessive loss of electrolytes through sweating can cause problems such as dizziness and muscle cramping. The problem becomes even more complicated because athletes can’t depend on their normal thirst mechanism to replace the fluid they lose during exercise. We call this phenomenon involuntary dehydration. That’s one reason why sports drinks that contain electrolytes are beneficial. Not only do they restore electrolytes lost in sweat, but salt also stimulates thirst, resulting in continual consumption of fluids. It’s best, however, to drink on a schedule. Specifically, you should drink 4 to 6 ounces of water or a sports drink every 12 to 15 minutes during workouts. The heavier you are, the higher the air temperature, and the faster you ride, the more fluid intake you need. Carry at least one full fluid bottle in a frame-mounted cage on all of your rides and refill it as necessary. Another option is to wear a fluid bladder backpack, which holds a large volume of fluid and allows you to drink hands-free through a hose.
The second component of exercise nutrition is carbohydrate. Carbohydrate is the primary fuel that powers the muscles during exercise. But carbohydrate is available in only a limited supply in the body—enough to fuel a couple of hours of moderate-intensity activity in the average rider. When carbohydrate fuel runs low, fatigue sets in. However, by consuming carbohydrate in a quickly and easily absorbed form during exercise, cyclists can delay fatigue much longer.
Water is Not Enough
Drinking water during workouts is much better than drinking nothing. But sports drinks are preferable. A quality sports drink can supply the fluid, electrolytes, and carbohydrate riders need to maximize their endurance. Drinking water alone will not do the job, because it does not replace the electrolytes lost in sweat or the carbohydrates burned for energy. Studies have repeatedly shown that exercisers who use a sports drink during workouts are able to go faster and longer than those who drink plain water.
Most sports drinks are very similar. The ideal carbohydrate level for a sports drink is 6 to 8%, and most sports drinks are formulated accordingly. Also, a majority of sports drinks contain electrolytes in amounts adequate to replace what is lost through sweating. During your longest rides you will probably get hungry. The best solid foods to carry with you and eat during long rides are energy bars. Choose a bar that has approximately the same 4 to 1 ratio of carbs and protein that you should also look for in a sports drink, and avoid bars that have more than a very small amount of fat.
QUICK TIP — Be sure to drink 12-18 oz of water per hour of exercise. Sports drinks are more effective than water since they replenish energy.
Post Ride Nutrition
Nutrition is the foundation of post-exercise recovery, because it provides the raw materials with which your body can make physiological adaptations in response to training. If you take in the right nutrients, in the right amounts, at the right time after workouts, you will recover far more quickly and thoroughly than you will if you don’t practice proper nutritional recovery.
The Importance of Timing
Timing is essential with regard to post-exercise nutrition because your body is primed to sponge up needed nutrients at this time. For example, synthesis of muscle glycogen — a form of stored carbohydrate that serves as the body’s primary energy source during endurance exercise — proceeds two to three times faster in the two hours immediately following exercise than it does at any other time.
There are three main components of post-exercise muscle recovery. First, it is necessary to restore fluids lost during exercise. When a cyclist sweats heavily, he or she loses a lot of water and electrolytes. Drinking a sports drink during rides can slow the rate of fluid loss, but can’t stop it completely. So it’s important to make up the deficit by continuing to use a sports drink with electrolytes after exercise. If you do not rehydrate properly before the next workout, you could experience overheating, muscle cramps, and other problems.
The second component of muscle recovery is putting carbohydrate fuel back in the muscles. Again, carbohydrate is the muscles’ main fuel source during moderateintensity exercise. The longer a workout lasts, the lower your muscle fuel supplies become. By using a sports drink containing carbohydrates during rides, you can slow down this process. But it’s impossible to take in carbohydrate during intense exercise as fast as it’s burned. So you need to continue taking in carbohydrate after exercise, as well. If you don’t get your muscle fuel levels back to normal in time for the next ride, you’ll be sluggish and sloppy.
QUICK TIP — Consuming carbohydrate and protein within 45 minutes after your exercise will help you recover faster.
Finally, the third component of muscle recovery is fixing the damage done to muscle tissue during exercise. High-intensity physical activity can cause small tears in muscle tissues. In addition, some muscle proteins are broken down for energy during hard exercise. Also, hard exercise produces damaged molecules known as free radicals, which attack muscle cells. In order to undo all this damage, you need to consume protein after each ride. You should also get antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, which help protect the muscles tissues against damage from free radicals. If you are hungry after your rides, eating is fine. Just make sure you get all the same nutrients you would get in a quality sports recovery drink without a lot of extra stuff (fat, excess protein) that might slow down the delivery of nutrients to your muscles. Some energy bars are good recovery foods. In any case, you will need to drink some form of fluid to meet your body’s hydration needs after workouts.
Safety & Training
The safety of our cyclists is our number one priority for Bike MS. Each year, thousands of participants join in approximately 100 rides across the nation. There will be a great mix of riders with different experience and skill levels on the road together. To help ensure that everyone has a great ride and arrives safely at the finish line we are working together to create a proactive approach to safety.
Safety isn’t just about wearing your cycling helmet and knowing the rules of the road. Those are very important measures, but cycling safety involves much more. Bike safety includes a wide variety of topics including hydration, bike maintenance, group riding, attire, cycling etiquette and much more.
The National MS Society strongly encourages you to review the compiled bike safety information resources in the box to the right. This information will help you prepare and practice safe cycling skills.
Ride safely and have fun because there’s nothing like crossing the finish line and celebrating with your team! Don’t just ride, Bike MS.
It’s more than a ride it’s the anticipation and preparation for an incredible journey. Training is a journey in itself and is essential to a successful ride. Training will help you to prepare mentally and physically for the Bike MS.
We are pleased to introduce you to TrainingPeaks, the official training software of the Bike MS! TrainingPeaks is an interactive, web-based training log and food diary designed to help individuals achieve their health and fitness goals. Subscription to the basic edition is FREE for Bike MS participants, and you have the opportunity to download custom-written cycling training plans, developed exclusively for us by renowned cycling expert Joe Friel, author of “The Cyclist’s Training Bible” and the new official coaching partner of the National MS Society.
We hope you’ll find TrainingPeaks to be a great benefit to you as you prepare for your Bike MS ride. Bike MS is unlike any other cycling series in the world. It’s a revolutionary ride that unites us all in our mission to end MS. And we’re here to support you from beginning to end!
Click here for more tips on getting ready to ride.