WE Bike NYC’s 2nd Rapha Women’s 100k Ride!

Getting Ready For This Year’s Rapha Women’s 100 Challenge — from WE Bike NYCer and co-leader of the Rapha Women’s 100 Elyse Bejasa

Early last summer, I stumbled across the WE Bike NYC website and saw that they were hosting a ride for the Rapha Women’s 100 challenge. At that point, I had been a bike commuter for about 11 months, riding 5 miles to and from work on my old, clunky 3-speed cruiser. The longest ride I had ever done was the TD Five Boro Bike Tour a few weeks prior, but I wanted to challenge myself with the 60 mile ride. I didn’t know what to expect and was pretty ill-prepared for the ride, but with the support of the amazing women of WE Bike NYC, I finished. All 60+ miles. On my cruiser. I honestly don’t know how I did it without my legs falling off.

This year, I feel like I’m ready for the Rapha Women’s 100 because I’ve learned SO MUCH since last year and because I’ve biked way more than I ever have. So I figured I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned in my quick transformation from commuter to cyclist that’ll help me get through those miles on July 26th.

  • Bring snacks and EAT THEM! I usually have snacks on me (I’m a hungry person), but it never used to occur me to me that I needed to be eating fairly often while on my bike. Biking burns a lot of calories and it’s easy to miscalculate how much energy you’re expending until you’re just about to bonk. I found that I need to eat something (usually a pack of energy gummies or a KIND bar) every 20 miles to stay steady. The amount of energy you need varies person to person. How your body reacts to heat and humidity and other extraneous factors also play a part in this equation. That said, I often carry more food than I think I will need because I would rather be safe than sorry. If I cannot physically carry enough food for my ride, I will bring enough cash and plan my route accordingly so that I have places to refuel along the way.
  • Riding in groups is VERY different from riding alone. For one thing, it’s more fun. But it also requires communication between riders. I learned about the various hand signals and audible cues that cyclists use so other cyclists are aware of what’s going on. Good communication between riders helps people trust that the group is looking out for their safety. So ride predictably and pass back signals when you’re riding in a group.
  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Did I mention HYDRATE? It goes without saying that water is the best, but remember to add electrolytes to replenish the ones you lose as you sweat over a long period of time.
  • Don’t be afraid of bike gear! As much as I can, I try to use what I already have when it comes to gear. But as I began to do longer rides and ride more often, I realized upgrading was in my favor, procuring different gear as I was able. I went from casual commuter to cyclist because I was looking for gear that would make my rides more efficient. Whether it was cycling jerseys (the pockets on the back are magical and hold snacks!), chamois shorts (protecting our bottoms doesn’t just mean more comfort – it’s also better for our health), or clipless pedals, I invested in them because they make my ride better for me and also because I knew I’d wear them pretty often.

I’m glad to be co-leading the Rapha Women’s 100 ride this year. If you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share, if you have any questions about the ride, or just want to chat about something bike-related, please feel free to post on the Female Bike Forum presented by WE Bike NYC.

Hope to see everyone on July 26th!!