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Get Ready to Ride

What to wear, eat and drink for an optimal experience.

Bike MS is a fantastic cycling adventure and a personal challenge unlike any other. We understand that riding 150 miles might seem daunting, but we are here to help you every step of the way. Let's get you ready for the ride of your life! (Remember to also check out Training and Safety information)

What to wear

We are delighted to welcome Primal Wear as the official apparel of Bike MS and invite you to check out the special offers they have in place for our cyclists.

So what should you wear for Bike MS?

  • 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.
  • Jersey - a cycling jersey with rear pockets is handy for carrying snacks, your wallet and other items. Summer jerseys are usually made from a material that wicks 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.
  • Shorts - cycling shorts are no joke. 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 look like casual shorts but still has a liner. Being a loose fit, though, means they could bunch uncomfortably during long rides.
  • 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, important if you wear contacts.

Cycling Apparel 101

Eat like a cyclist

Be smart about food to consolidate your gains on the bike. Here's how.

written by Selene Yeager with Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, courtesy of Bicycling Magazine

So you want to get fit and fast, and feel great? The riding is the key to reaching that goal, but your eating habits might need to change, too. Accounting for the food you take in is the necessary first step. Too often people want to overhaul their eating but don't have a clue about what they are currently doing. They don't think about how many times a day they eat, or where, or how fast they plow through lunch, and so on. The answer: Write down what you consume.

Now recording

Several kinds of food journals are available; you can find them online and in the book we're excerpting here. Keep a log daily if possible, to identify patterns then pick the areas you want to work on.

The more detail you provide, the more you'll get out of this. Just writing "sandwich" is not nearly as revealing as "turkey and cheese on whole wheat with lettuce and tomato" or "meatball hero." And that goes for amounts, too. A glass could be a vat, and a handful could be a small jar. Use measuring cups and spoons. Often when people try to lose weight,portion control is the biggest barrier. After three days, use the log to adjust your eating habits going into the following week.

Time of day

Are your calories spread evenly through the day? If so, good. If not, it's probably true that like many people, you're eating most of your food at night. Think about how you can redistribute those calories for energy all day long, starting with your morning meal.

Where

Location is more of a factor than you might think. If you always eat in front of your computer and find yourself snacking soon after your meal, that's a flag that you're not registering that you just ate because you're distracted. Eating should be an event in and of itself.

Rate

Winning the award for grab, gulp, and go? The "prize" is generally excess pounds. If it takes you less than 20 minutes to finish a meal, work on slowing down to prevent overeating.

How much

Your plate should be filled with reasonable portions. Three ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. Grains, potatoes, pasta, and rice should be about the size of one tightly balled fist. The correct portions are probably a little smaller than you think they should be because we, as a society, have been supersizing for more than a decade. Start cutting down to the right sizes. You won't miss the excess.

How and when to hydrate

Everything you need to know to stay hydrated-before, during and after a ride.

- written by Marianne McGinnie, courtesy of Bicycling Magazine

Sipping fluids before and after a hot-weather workout is just as important as drinking during a ride. Here we turn to the experts for the when, how and what of staying quenched.

Time it right

Hydrating before pedaling helps you avoid drying out on the road. For best absorption, sip 12 to 16 ounces of water four hours before hopping onto your bike; two hours before, sip another 12 ounces. While riding, drink enough to match the intensity of the exercise, the heat of the day and your body's needs-the average recommendation is one 16-ounce bottle per hour in cool weather, up to as many as four bottles per hour in extremely hot weather, based on a 150-pound cyclist. Afterward, your goal is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. If the ride was easy or moderate, sipping water and having a small meal within an hour of finishing should be sufficient, but if the ride was long and intense, use the weighing method below to determine your drinking regimen.

Customize

People sweat at different rates, and rides vary in terrain, speed and distance, but hydration goals are the same regardless. "Your aim is to minimize fluid and electrolyte loss or gain," says Douglas Casa, Ph.D., the director of athletic training education at the University of Connecticut, at Storrs. The best way to learn your individual sweat rate: Step on the scale before and after a long or hard ride. If you weigh less afterward, you should be drinking a bit more; if you weigh more, you should cut back to avoid overhydration.

Keep it simple

"On easier rides, stick with water. You'll get the mother lode of electrolytes, calories and fluids from the meals and fluids you consume prior to, and after, your ride," says Casa, who's been researching hydration and exercise issues for more than a decade. When a ride is intense, pushes past an hour, or is in hot weather, consider a sports drink. "I recommend staying away from the stuff with 9,000 ingredients," says Casa. "You just need the essentials-fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes."

Try and try again

The only way to find what drinks work for you is by testing them. "Some products may not taste good to you, while others may sit in your stomach in a bad way," says Casa. If you're the type of salty sweater who finds white streaks on your jersey after a ride, you may need a drink with more sodium. For extreme salt sweaters, Casa suggests adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt to 16 ounces of sports drink (that's 600mg of sodium). If you find that a sports drink upsets your stomach, try diluting it with water. "Just never start a big event with a new product in your bottle," says Casa. "That's a recipe for disaster."

Thank you to our premier national sponsors

Thank you to our national sponsors

Thank you to our local sponsors

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