- Route: We usually have casual conversations about where we'd like to go on a long ride throughout the week, but when it comes to the night before the ride, we need to find an actual route we like. Luckily, Alberto has a Garmin GPS so this is mainly a case of finding the right route and downloading it to his device. We start by looking up routes in the area on Bikely, GPSies, or the Garmin website, and sometimes Alberto modifies them himself as well (I'm sure a post will follow on this topic!). Then it's normally a case of fighting with the computer, as downloading the route is never as seamless as we would like!
- Food: We like to bring a variety of small snacks that we can eat throughout the day. In addition to bananas and cereal bars (which don't require much prep work!), we like to make sandwiches or wraps to take with us. Alberto's often include canned tuna fish, which I can't stand! He likes healthy options like beans, hummous, rocket, or rice. I tend to prefer the slightly less healthy combination of peanut butter, bananas, and raisins! For me, it really works to keep my energy up on the ride. Although the truth is, when you are working that hard, everything begins to taste amazing!
- Water bottles: It really does not take that long to fill up four water bottles, so we used to leave it til the morning. But whenever we did that, we'd forget about the water bottles until the last minute, and then risk missing our train because of it! So it is best to do it the night before.
- Bikes: Alberto is the mechanical expert so he usually checks over the bikes and makes sure that they are roadworthy. This normally just involves making sure the tyres are inflated to the right pressure, but it's important to check that the wheels, brakes, gears, chain, handlebar, seatpost, etc are all as they should be!
- Clothes: I like to lay out my clothes the night before so that I know where it all is and can easily get dressed in the morning. I don't have a very large lycra wardrobe so for me it is usually just a question of what the temperature will be. There are usually last-minute revisions in the morning based upon the ever-changing British weather forecast!
- Bike tools, etc: We usually keep all of the important bike tools, like spare inner tubes, multi-tool, tyre levers, patch kit, chain link, and pump in our saddle bags, along with a first aid kit just in case! As we only use the saddle bags on long rides we always have them ready with the essentials. This is a great timesaver as it would be a real pain to search around for all these bits when you're trying to go to bed!
- Batteries: We have rechargeable AA batteries which we charge overnight for the Garmin. Before a night ride, we charge extra to use in our lights as well.
And last but not least....sleep! This is the one we usually fail at. We don't start prepping early enough in the evening and as a result we usually end up going to bed a bit later than we would have liked. But of all the things on the list, sleep really is the only one you can skimp on--the others are too important to a successful day's ride!