It’s 2019 and that can mean only one thing: The Big Fat Bike Ride is looming!
It’s our 4th Up North Sportive, which means we’ve got pretty good at recognising when people are making excuses for not signing up. While some people’s reasons are legitimate (fine, we’ll let you off if you live in Australia...), others have expressed the same worries we hear every year about fitness, confidence, hills and other things that in our opinion, you shouldn’t let stop you!
And we get it - the Sportive can seem like a daunting event for newcomers. But like joining a new gym class or getting out on your bike for the first time in a while, it’s never as bad as you imagine and you never regret doing it!
Here are some of the most common worries riders have surrounding the sportive - and our advice on how to overcome them:
1) “I haven’t booked the time off yet” or “I don’t know which mileage to do!”
Just commit! January can be a pretty bleak time and it’ll make you feel great to get a date in the diary and have something to look forward to. Booking the time off might also give you some extra motivation to train if you’re feeling the post-Christmas slump.
Unsure which ride to sign up for? Our rule of thumb is that if you can comfortably ride 80% of the distance you’ve signed up for at 10mph, you’ll complete the Sportive no problem! Set yourself a realistic target and consider signing up with a group of similarly-able friends for an added boost of confidence on the day.
Our Fat Lad team are also here to advise you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions - no matter how silly!
2) “I won’t get up the hills!”
This is perhaps the most common excuse we hear. The main thing to remember about hills is that the worst possible thing that can happen is you have to get off and push. Is that really a problem? Of course not! No matter how slow you go or what place you finish, you’re still lapping everyone on the sofa who didn’t sign up!
Every year, riders walk up the hills and our Ride Marshals are always there to make sure no-one gets left behind! If you want to volunteer to be a Ride Marshal, email us for more info.
3) “Something might go wrong with my bike and I won’t know what to do!”
With 1000 riders taking part, it is inevitable that some will get a puncture - but this isn’t the end of the world! If you don’t know how to fix a puncture, it is worth learning beforehand. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to master after a few practices! There are loads of basic YouTube tutorials with step by step guides on how to change an inner tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwwfV99VV8I
We do recommend that you carry a puncture repair kit with you just in case. But most importantly, don’t panic! There will always be people willing to stop and help you if it’s not something you can fix yourself.
4) “I’m not fit/confident enough!”
If you’re worried about your fitness level, signing up to the Sportive can be a really great way of motivating yourself to get fitter! It’s still 3 months away, so you have plenty of time. Our 25 miler is a great ride for beginners, although don’t expect it to be totally flat - this is Yorkshire after all!
All participants also have the option of riding in a group supported by one of our FLABulous Ride Marshals. These friendly groups are full of like-minded people all encouraging one another to do their best! If you’d rather ride on your own, each route is fully signposted and can be downloaded before the event. We also make sure to set the longer distance riders off first so you won’t have many people overtaking you!
Our Sportive is well known for being the most inclusive, friendly event in the cycling calendar. Don’t believe us? Check out our Sportive page to read last year’s reviews: https://fatladattheback.com/sportive/flab-sportive
Tempted to sign up yet? We hope so. One lad once forgot his shoes and still managed to take part, so you've really got no excuse! We can’t wait to see you all there for the biggest, fattest Sportive yet!