Appropriate cycling equipment and cycling education are two major components to ensure you will have an enjoyable BP MS 150 experience. Another vital part of preparing for the ride—one that you definitely won't want to discount or neglect—is ensuring your body is fueled and ready to go by practicing proper nutrition and hydration.
Practice good nutrition habits while training to determine what foods and snack work best for you for event weekend.
- Find out what combination works best for you: Gels, energy bars, trail mix, etc.
- Aim for 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour (120 to 140 calories).
- Avoid high-fiber, fat, and protein while riding.
Night Before the Event:
- Avoid high-fat, high-fiber, and/or greasy foods, or anything you know will upset your stomach.
- Avoid unfamiliar foods.
- Good examples: 1 to 2 cups of cooked pasta or cooked rice; 6-ounce baked potato; 3 to 5 ounces of lean meat; fruit; bread; and fluids.
Morning of the Event:
- If you have special dietary needs, plan ahead and carry appropriate snacks with you on the ride.
- 2 hours or more before the ride, consume 1 gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight.
- Examples include 1 or 2 scrambled eggs; 1 banana; toast with or without fruit, or bagel with jelly; and water/sport drink.
- If hungry close to the event start time, consume a light snack.
On the Route:
- Consume 60 grams of carbohydraate per hour (120 to 140 calories).
- Use tested combinations of gels, energy bars, snacks such as trail mix, and/or fruit (bananas and oranges).
- Aim for 20 to 40 ounces of fluid each hour. Consume sports drink or alternate between sports drink and water.
- Rehydrate with fluids and electrolytes – combination of sports drink and water.
- Replenish glycogen (carbohydrate storage) with easily digestible carbohydrates.
- Examples include: Chocolate milk; bagel with peanut butter; yogurt with chopped fruit and honey; yogurt fruit smoothie; or fruit.
- Repair by consuming protein.
Find additional nutrition advice on our Training Resources page, courtesy of Bicycling Magazine.
Dehydration is detrimental to performance and health. Signs of dehydration include cramping, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating.
- Cyclists should aim to consume 20 to 40 ounces of fluid each hour. This volume can be achieved either through water, sports drink, or rotation of both.
- If consuming water only, sodium and carbohydrate requirements need to be met through other means such as gels; electrolyte tablets; or salty, easily digestible snacks such as trail mix or pretzels.
- During the ride, you will need to consume 500 to 1,000mg of sodium each hour to compensate for fluid loss due to sweating.
- Don't wait until you're thirty to drink; if you find yourself thirsty, you are not consuming adequate amounts of fluid regularly.
Find additional hydration advice on our Training Resources page, courtesy of Bicycling Magazine.
Cycling Safety Tips
Cyclists need to have basic bicycle-handling skills and safety knowledge to keep themselves and others around them safe, especially while participating in a group cycling. Below are some resources to help you have a safe cycling experience; click any of the headings to be taken to the corresponding section:
For skills and classes specific to riding in a group, please see our Group Riding Skills page.
› Bicycle Laws
› Tips for Riding in Wet Conditions
› Tips for Riding Smart and Safe
› Safety on the BP MS 150 Routes
› Special Situations
- Know and Obey All Traffic Laws –
The golden rule of bicycling in a group is "Be Predictable"!
- Stay to the Right –
Ride in the right portion of the rightmost lane in the direction you are traveling; leave at least four feet between your handlebars and parked cars or other hazards (including other cyclists). You may move to the left when passing slower vehicles or preparing to make a left turn.
- Obey All Traffic Signs and Signals –
Avoid "following the leader" through traffic signs and signals. You are required to obey all traffic signs and signals, including stopping at red lights and stop signs.
- Look and Signal Before You Move –
Always scan behind you before changing lanes or making turns. A continuous arm signal is required prior to a turn or lane change (unless arm is needed to control the bike) and while stopped waiting to turn.
- Two-at-a-Time –
Ride no more than two-abreast and do not impede traffic. If a part of the road has been closed and dedicated to "bicycle traffic only", you may ride more than two abreast.
- Hands on the Handlebars –
Do not carry anything that prevents keeping both hands on the handlebars.
- Pass with Care –
Do not pass at intersections.
Tips for Riding in Wet Conditions
- Make turns slowly and consistently – no jerky movements.
- Keep your weight on the outside pedal in the 6 o'clock position.
- If you need to brake in a turn, apply the brakes slowly.
- Remember: Water on the rims will lubricate your brake system, making it harder to stop.
- Apply the brakes lightly to clean off the rims before you need to stop.
- Allow a greater distance for stopping.
- Bridges, metal grates, painted lines, manhole covers, and crosswalks can be very slick.
- Avoid puddles, as they may conceal deep potholes.
- Remember that during the first few minutes of rain, oil will seep from the roadway, making it very slick. Ride accordingly.
Protect Yourself –
- Visibility can be limited during a storm. Wear bright clothing.
- Keep your eyes free of debris; wear yellow sunglasses or glasses with clear lenses.
- Wear waterproof, breathable clothing with layers underneath.
Protect Your Bike –
- Front and rear fenders will keep you and your bike dry.
- Lube your chain before and after a wet ride to replace the lube that washed off.
- Drip chain lube down into your brake and shifter cables to avoid rust.
Important reminder! Always carry the following items:
- Emergency contact information
- Insurance card(s)
- Any important health information
- Cash and/or credit/debit card
- NOTE: The use of headphones, cell phones, radios, or similar devices while riding is NOT permitted.
Tips for Riding Smart and Safe
- The BP MS 150 is a RIDE, NOT A RACE!
- Expect crowded conditions at the Start, Route Merge Points, Breakpoints, Lunch Stops, and Finish Line.
- Watch for automobile traffic. The roads we use are not closed! Keep as much distance between you and the automobile traffic as possible. Use courtesy and etiquette when interacting with vehicles.
- Keep to the right unless passing. Pass on the left. Call out "Passing on Left." DO NOT PASS ON THE RIGHT.
- Communicate your actions to cyclists and vehicles, verbally and with signals (slowing, stopping, obstacles, etc.).
- DO NOT CROSS the yellow centerline.
- Ride no more than two-abreast.
- Be courteous, be patient, and ride friendly.
- Do not overlap wheels with a rider in front of you.
- Control your speed. The riding pace will be slow at first until the riders spread out on the route and will slow again at route merge points.
- Pay attention to riders around you, and have an escape plan.
- Hydrate! Drink at least 1 water bottle between Rest Stops.
- Nutrition: Eat snacks about every 15 to 20 miles (use what you learned on training rides).
- Ride your pace. Don't try to go faster than you're comfortable with.
- Stop and take a break if you're tired. Pull all the way off the right side of the road to stop.
- Obey ALL traffic laws.
Safety on the BP MS 150 Routes
On the BP MS 150 routes, our Route Support team works to maintain the safety of the ride. Below are a few additional suggestions to help keep everyone safe on the ride:
- Support-and-Gear (SAG) vehicles and Motorcycle Marshals will stop for you if you are safely all the way off the road, off your bike, and waving your bike helmet in the air.
- Ride Marshals are a special team of cyclists who provide support on the rides, offering minor mechanical help along the route and monitoring cycling safety and etiquette.
Breakpoint Etiquette: Use good cycling etiquette when entering and exiting breakpoints.
- Entering a Breakpoint: Stay to the right or left of the lane (depending on the placement of the Breakpoint on the right or left side of the roadway). Announce you are stopping and then move quickly and completely into the Breakpoint. Communicate with hand signals and call out your intentions. If stopping, ride ALL THE WAY INTO THE BREAKPOINT DO NOT STOP IN THE ROADWAY! If you are not stopping at a Breakpoint, slow down then stay on the appropriate side of the lane to avoid those who are entering/exiting the Breakpoint.
- Exiting a Breakpoint: When exiting a Breakpoint, do so from the down-route side of the Breakpoint. Watch for oncoming cyclists or traffic, and slowly and safely merge onto the route. Be ready to ride once you move out of the Breakpoint. Do not stage in the roadway and then prepare to start!
- Passing: When passing, call out "Passing on your left!" and allow time for the cyclist being overtaken to move to the right, then pass safely. Passing other cyclists and being passed occurs continually during the ride, so you will hear this a lot!
- Mechanical Problems: Safely move yourself all the way off the right side road at the earliest opportunity and assess the problem. If assistance is needed, SAG vehicles and Motorcycle Marshals are on patrol to help. Dismount from your bike and wave your helmet in the air to signal for a SAG vehicle/Motorcycle Marshal.
- Be Courteous: BP MS 150 participants are privileged to ride on many public roads. Please be respectful of the communities that support and welcome the BP MS 150; their hospitality makes this event possible. Where possible, local law enforcement agencies have been recruited to help you travel through intersections and on shared roadways. Be courteous to everyone you may come into contact with during the event.
Many cyclists find that situations occur in which quick thinking and heightened bike-handling skills are required. Here are some suggestions for managing potential obstacles:
- Cars Can Be Scary: Drivers do not know your skill level and will often not leave room when they pass. Be sure to call out "Car back!" if you are in a group at the time, then move to the far right of the road in a single file line. Be predictable to stay safe!
- Beware of Animals: If, while riding, you come across an animal that displays aggression, try to keep to one side of the animal. The right course of action depends on the situation. You may want to slow down to calm an excited animal; speed up to outrun the animal; make loud noises to confuse the animal; or attempt to distract it with a water bottle or other item you may have with you. If you are riding in a group, always let others know of your intentions and do not perform any action which may endanger the safety of the group.
- Pedestrians and Animals Have the Right-of-Way: If a jogger/runner is overtaking you and/or your group or if any pedestrian or animal is attempting to cross the street ahead of you, signal to the group that someone is being overtaken, then move to the right to allow room for safe passing/crossing.