Cycling outdoors requires the most amount pre and post work as compared to things like running and indoor cycling. This can be off-putting especially when squeezing rides into a busy schedule. Here is how I get my routines sorted to ensure minimum time spent:
If my ride is early in the morning, I ensure I get the following done the night before. This means I can wake up as late as possible to give myself 15 minutes to wash up, grab a small bite, swap into riding gear and hop on the bike.
- Pump up tires. I go with the traditional 90 PSI front, 100 PSI rear. I can go lower given my weight (68kg) and my tire thickness (25mm) but I still do 90/100 to ensure I only need to pump up my tires twice a week (and not before every ride).
- Lay out all my equipment. Things I have to wear – helmet, glasses, bone conduction earphones, HR strap, jeresy, shorts, socks, shoes. Things I have to carry – mini tool, compressed air canister and spare tube, gels/bars, Go Pro.
- Fill bidons. Just fill them and chuck them on the bike. I have forgotten these a few times and ended up riding a metric century depending purely on petrol kiosks and coffee shops.
- Sync bike computer. Only if there are new routes to follow.
These take no more than 5 mins and having the prep tied down to the last detail helps motivate me to get on my bike.
Post ride is trickier. Part of it is to get everything cleaned up and the other part is to ensure that everything is ready for the next ride.
- Hand wash. Helmet, gloves, HR strap, glasses, earphones and bidons are washed by hand. I learnt that hard way that gloves disintegrate really quickly with machine wash. Glasses and earphones are rinsed with water only – no soap. The rest are lathered with a thick layer of soap to get all the sweat and dirt out.
- Machine wash. Jersey, shorts and socks are chucked into a laundry bag and sent for machine washing. Laundry bags do more than enough to protect even sensitive materials used to make more fragile clothing like aero, tight and very thin jerseys.
- Wipe down. Bike, shoes, mini tool, compressed air canister and spare tube, unused gels/bars, Go Pro, lights, HR monitor. I use wet wipes for bike and shoes because these will get dirty. The bike also gets an additional dry towel polish to retain its shine. A wet towel is used for the rest as it is only minor sweat that I am removing. But if the bike and shoes get really dirty (e.g. rain/mud), a complete hose down is needed. The bike and shoes go into the bathroom and get the full soap treatment. Chain also gets de-greased. This will extend the time needed for post ride work. This is also why I hate the rain/mud.
- Bathe. Obviously. Sometimes I run myself with two to three coats of shampoo/soap if the ride was especially dirty.
- Charge. With so many battery based equipment on hand, regularised charging is key. Bike computer, watch, HR monitor, lights, ear phones are hooked up to two USB charging hubs. Once done, they go back on the bike. Other equipment like DI2, power meter and speed sensor have separate schedules. I have a Google reminder set to remind me to charge my DI2 every 3 months. Another reminder reminds me to check my power meter and speed sensor batteries every 2 months. Following this routine means I never ever have to worry about starting a ride with batteries flat.
Post ride work takes around 40 minutes. Or 70 mins if the bike/shoes are really dirty and require a thorough wash. It is still quite a chore to have to spend some time cleaning up after a hard day outside but keeping things clean ensures proper hygiene and prolongs the life of my equipment.
Knowing that I need an additional 45 to 70 minutes of time on top of my riding time also helps me plan my schedule better. Or, as it does sometimes, convinces me to spin indoors instead.