Between gathering all your gear, pumping up your tires, filling your water bottles and eating a solid breakfast, the morning of a bike ride can feel hectic and leave you scrambling to get out the door. Not exactly what you want before heading out to do something fun and healthy. Fortunately, running through a simple nighttime checklist can ensure your morning ride goes off without a hitch — giving you more time to enjoy that second cup of coffee before saddling up.
To make your mornings a bit more relaxing, check off these 10 things the night before:
Get Your Gear Squared Away
While the bike is the star of the show, cycling requires a lot of auxiliary equipment. To save yourself time in the morning, have everything ready to go the night before. Padded shorts and jersey: check. Shoes: check. Helmet and gloves: check. Water bottles: check. Cool socks: yep. Sunglasses? See, you’re bound to forget something.
Check Your Tires
Really, in addition to your tires, you should check everything, including your chain, breaks and front and rear derailleurs. But the most likely day-of issue usually belongs to your tires. It’s possible you picked up a tiny nail or piece of glass on your last ride, and a slow leak will leave you with a flat. So give your tires a once-over the night before to make sure you won’t be stuck changing them in the morning.
Eat a Good Dinner
Here’s a fun one: eat. Ideally something easy to digest that won’t bother your stomach overnight or the next morning. Think simple carbs like rice or pasta, plus lean protein and vegetables. Try to avoid anything high-fat or greasy.
Know What’s For Breakfast
You don’t want to open the fridge or pantry in the morning only to find sad, empty shelves. So make sure you’ve got something to eat when you wake up. Once again, easy-to-digest carbs are your friend here, so keep things like oatmeal, toast and dried fruit on hand.
Set Out Your Snacks
Yep, another food one. Except this time, you’ll want to prep your on-the-bike nutrition. Gels, blocks, bars, sports drinks … whatever you’re into, have them portioned and ready to go.
Map Out Your Route
Get lost, and that casual 30-mile ride might become an exhausting day-long journey that’ll leave you short on water, food and willpower to make it home. So check MapMyRide and plot your course before heading out.
Check for Road Closures
It happens. You turn onto your favorite country road, and it’s closed for repairs. If you think there’s a chance your route could be affected by construction, check maps or city websites the night before.
Stretching before bed can lead to more restful sleep and prepare your body to move the next day. Target your quads and hamstrings with simple, light stretching and hang out in pigeon pose for a few minutes to open your hips.
Get Plenty of Sleep
No one wants to embark on a 50-miler when they’re tired. So one of the absolute best ways to prepare for a ride is to show up refreshed. That means going to bed at a reasonable hour, and getting plenty of sleep. To help make it happen, turn off your phone and other screens an hour before bed, drink some calming tea, meditate or do anything else that helps you relax.
Set Your Alarm
Here’s another thing about knocking out a long ride: It’s extra difficult when you don’t roll out of bed until 10 a.m. The sun’s higher in the sky and the roads are packed with cars (or the trails are teeming with bikes). If a morning ride is what you’re after, make sure you set that alarm so you’re out the door early enough to get your miles in.