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Training Tips

Training for the Tour

40 miles sounds like a lot to a lot of people, but with the right training (don’t let that word scare you), you’ll be ready in no time to fearlessly face that climb up the Verrazano—and then relish the sweet descent to the Finish Festival at Fort Wadsworth.

Step 1: Get the gear


  • First, get a bike. Folks have ridden the Tour on everything from Pennyfarthings to tricycles, but we recommend a more practical steed: a multi-gear bike with relatively smooth tires is best. Hybrid or road bikes are generally lighter than mountain bikes and cruisers and are therefore much easier to power throughout the five boroughs.
  • Next, get the necessary accessories.
  • Helmets are required on all Bike New York rides. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
  • Water bottle cage and water bottle (You’ll be able to fill up at water stations and rest areas.)
  • Spare tube, tire levers, patch kit, and multi-tool in case you get a flat along the route. (Having these items will make it much easier for a Rider Assist Marshal to help you if you get a flat.)
    • If you don’t want to carry all of this stuff in your pocket, a good storage solution is a small saddle bag that attaches to the bottom of—you guessed it—your saddle. Click here to learn about bag restrictions on the Tour.

Step 2: Tune your bike


  • Don’t wait until the day before the Tour to pull your bike out of the garage to see if it’ll still roll. Take it to a bike shop for a tune-up at least a month before the big day.
  • On Tour day (and anytime you’re going for a ride), perform an ABC Quick Check before hitting the road.

Step 3: Tune your body


  • The quick version: ride your bike, and ride it regularly. Start out putting in a few miles, and then push yourself on subsequent rides to do a few miles more than the last time. It can be that simple.
  • The long version: In February or March, put in 150 minutes of moderate exercise (brisk walking) or 75 minutes of intense exercise (running) each week. Work towards these goals in chunks rather than trying to do it all in one go. A varied workout routine is more likely to keep you interested and on track.
    • Another great way to keep at it is to find and ride with a group of similarly skilled cyclists. Check out our Community Resources page for a list of clubs in and around New York City.
  • Once you get into the swing of things, try experimenting with padded cycling shorts and gloves, eyewear, and stiff-soled cycling shoes. All of these things can make your ride a much more pleasant experience, but they take some getting used to. The nice folks at your local bike shop can help you navigate the surfeit of gear choices.
  • Throughout March and April, your workouts should increase in length, intensity, and frequency. One to way to easily incorporate exercise into an already busy schedule is to start commuting by bike. (Learn more by taking one of our Bike Commuting 101 classes).
  • By the end of April, you should be comfortable riding 40+ miles in one outing, switching gears, riding in various weather conditions, avoiding road hazards, riding in a group, and maintaining a smooth rhythm as you pedal.

 Other Tips

  • Eat before you’re hungry.
  • Drink before you’re thirsty.
  • Get some sleep on the night before the Tour. Don’t stay out late celebrating your brother’s wedding like our Director of Communications did that one year.