Bike MS® is more than just a ride – it's also the anticipation and preparation for an incredible experience. Training is a journey in itself and is essential to a successful and enjoyable ride.
We’re breaking down everything you need to know from what to wear, what to eat and drink and how to train.
Safety first! No gear is as important as a quality helmet. It’s worth both the time spent finding one that fits you properly and the money spent on a well-made helmet from a reputable manufacturer.
A ventilated, moisture wicking jersey with proper base layer keeps you cool on warm days and warm on cool days. And since most come with rear pockets, you will also have a place to store your phone and other necessities.
Padded Shorts or Bibs
Whether you prefer bib shorts or a traditional style, padded shorts are a must. Think of it this way; the longer your ride, the happier you’ll be that you have them.
Our official jersey sponsor, Primal, produced this video to show you the benefits of cycling apparel. You can learn more about their custom Bike MS kits here.
How to Fuel Short Rides
Ride Duration: 1 hour or less
Primary Concern: Fluid replenishment
What to Drink: Plain water or a low-carb, electrolyte hydration drink
What to Eat: Most people start with enough stored energy for a 60-minute workout, but carry a banana just in case you’re out longer than expected or you start to fade.
Pro Tip: For optimal recovery, eat a full meal within an hour of finishing an intense workout.
How to Fuel Medium-Length Rides
Ride Duration: 1 to 3 hours
Primary Concern: Carbohydrate replenishment
What to Drink: 2 bottles low-carb, electrolyte hydration drinks, at least
What to Eat: 30 to 60g of carb per hour from food.
Pro Tip: Don’t wait until you’re hungry or thirsty to eat and drink. Take small nibbles and sips from the get-go.
How to Fuel Long Rides
Ride Duration: 3 hours or more
Primary Concern: Carbohydrate and electrolyte replenishment; food boredom or palette fatigue
What to Drink: 2 bottles low-carb, electrolyte hydration drinks, at least
What to Eat: 30 to 60g of carbs per hour, total. Digestion can get harder as rides get longer, so eat more solids at the beginning of the ride, and switch to blocks, chews, and other easily-digested foods during the final part of the ride. Just be sure to drink plenty of fluid to chase down gels, so you don’t get GI upset.
Pro Tip: Supplement bars and gels with carb-rich, low-protein, moderate-fat "real" foods. Don't worry about specific amounts of protein or fat; just eat what tastes good so you keep eating.
Our bike shop partners are ready to help you maximize the Bike MS experience. They are a great resource on bikes, service, equipment and training advice. Visit one of them to make sure you and your bike are ready for Bike MS!
St. Louis Area:
- Big Shark- Big Bend: 1155 South Big Bend St. Louis, MO, 63117; Phone: 314-862-1188
- Big Shark- Downtown St. Louis: 1009 Locust St. St. Louis, MO, 63101; Phone: 314-881-0322
- Big Shark- West Chesterfield and Chesterfield Power Up Training Center: 17233 Chesterfield Airport Road Chesterfield, MO, 63005; Phone: 636-534-8080
Did you know…? Big Shark has been honored with Bicycle Retailer's Top 100 award and is considered one of the nation's top 100 bicycle dealers. Locally, the St. Louis Riverfront Times readers' poll has voted Big Shark Bicycle Company the best place to buy a bike almost annually. Continue learning about Big Shark on their website!
- 235 Mid Rivers Mall Drive Saint Peters, MO 63376; Phone: 636-936-2453
Did you know…? Granada is a family-owned business and has been in the Blackwood family since 1978! Originally purchased by Ken Blackwood, every one of the Blackwood children have worked the shop at some point in their lives. In fact, September of 2019, Brad Blackwood bought the shop from his father and will continue growing the cycling community through experience, friendliness, and gratitude. Continue learning about Granada Cyclery on their website!
- 7534 Manchester Road St. Louis, MO 63143; Phone: 314-78-9566
Did you know…? Maplewood Bicycle has been a part of the St. Louis cycling community since 1973! They wear the name "bike geeks" with pride. They love what they do, and it shows! They sweat every detail. Commuting, racing, riding with their kids, charity events, multisport—you name it they are there with a smile and ready to go again tomorrow! Continue learning about Maplewood Bicycle on their website!
- Momentum Cycles- O'Fallon: 8640 Mexico Road O'Fallon, MO 63366; Phone: 636-240-9232
- Momentum Cycles- St. Peters: 384 Mid Rivers Mall Drive St. Peters, MO 63376; Phone: 636-397-7433
Did you know…? In the beginning, Momentum Cycles started out with only 800 square feet and has grown to over 10,000 square feet between its 2 locations. They offer the best bicycle brands in the world at competitive prices and are equipped with helpful and passionate staff. On top of this, they offer free tune-ups for life on all bikes purchased from their stores. It's no wonder they've been a Top 100 Trek dealer since 2007! Continue learning about Momentum Cycles on their website!
- 1917 Bedford Center Dr. Washington, MO 63090; Phone: 636-390-9999
- 116 W Front Street Washington, MO 93090; Phone: 636-900-1787
Did you know…? Revolution Cycles was new to the Bike MS: Gateway Getaway family in 2020! Revolution Cycles prides itself on being Washington's premier bicycle shop. Whether you are an avid cyclist or a beginner, they can help you determine the best bike for your needs without making you feel insecure! Continue learning about Revolution Cycles on their website!
The Cyclery - Gold Sponsor of the Gateway Getaway 2021. Show proof of registration and receive 10% off accessories through September 11/12.
- Edwardsville: 2472 Troy Road Edwardsville, IL 62025; Phone: 618-692-0070
- Shiloh: 1225 Thouvenot Lane Shiloh, IL 62269; Phone: 618-233-0070
Did you know…? Since The Cyclery and Fitness Center's inception, they have been continuously growing equipped with top-qualified staff. This team is hard to beat thanks to their friendliness, wild enthusiasm, outstanding selection, and desire to do a better job than anyone else. No matter when you need them, you can count on The Cyclery to help you! They are available nearly every day of the year with a trained mechanic on site. Continue learning about The Cyclery and Fitness Center on their website!
- 203 N. Providence Road, Suite 103 Columbia, MO 65203; Phone: 572-874-7044
Did you know…? Cyclex Bicycles offers a wide selection of high-quality bicycles, plus a full-service repair shop for whatever comes up and down the road. They host group rides and other events to connect you with other cyclists in the Columbia area too! Whether you're a lifelong biker or just kicking off, they can't wait to welcome you in and get you cruising. Continue learning about Cyclex Bicycles on their website!
- 1217 Rogers Street Columbia, MO 65201; Phone: 573-886-9258
Did you know…? Walter Gerard, founder of Walt's Bike Shop, was fascinated with bicycles from a young age. After a European bike tour with his family in 1963, Walt became enamored with the derailleur gearing he saw on the European racing bikes. Years later, he returned to Europe on a second bike tour and spent days learning from experience mechanics in British bike shops. Bringing his knowledge home to the states, a mentor suggested he begin selling imported bicycle parts and selling them in Columbia. After bargaining with his parents, young Walt opened Walt's Bike Shop in a vacant barber shop on Hickman in 1967. Over the years, the shop has expanded and continues to serve the Columbia community by introducing individuals to an outdoor lifestyle. Learn more about Walt's Bike Shop on their website!
Visit here often for updates on local training ride opportunities.
- Start with weekly rides of about 20 to 25 miles
- Increase 10% to 20% per week
- Initially, don't be concerned with speed
- Keep terrain mostly flat
- Start increasing speed and gradually add hills
- Include short, one-hour interval workouts and/or other cross-training
- Increase hill training; learn to use gears
- Target minimum moving average speed of 12 to 14 mph
- Longest ride should be 70% to 80% of day one distance (55 to 80 training miles)
- Taper reduce distance the last two weeks
Benefits of Training Rides
- Helps get you in physical condition to complete the ride
- Gradually build up distance and add hills
- Include cross-training activities during the week
- Helps you learn to ride in a group on the roads
- Focus on safety and courtesy
- Oportunity to test nutrition/hydration strategies
- Opportunity to make a lot of new friends
- Carpool to rides
- Enjoy meals at local establishments, support the community
- Opportunity to see Missouri and Illinois like you've never seen them before!