What is a Sportive?
As the off-foot equivalent to a marathon, Sportive are long distance events for cyclists which involve completing a set route. Ranging anywhere between 50 to 150 miles, Sportive events are hugely popular in the summer months, although they do run year round. The routes are usually made up of the most challenging roads and steepest climbs in an attempt to challenge the cyclists that take part, using skill over speed.
This might be your first sportive, or maybe you’re a regular, but here we’re breaking down a few bits you’ll need to get the best out of your Sportive - and it should all fit nicely inside The Ultimate Cycling Backpack and Kit Bag, KitBrix (minus the bike)!
Naturally, you’ll need a bike for a cycling event. When you arrive at the event, go through the necessary checks to make sure your bike is in working order and make any fixes that might need doing. Your bike is potentially going to carry you for up to 150 miles, so getting these fixes in at the start will save you much-needed time later down the line.
A road bike will give you the fastest and most comfortable ride with it’s lightweight frame and plenty of gears. Road bikes offer thinner tires for speed, designed for different terrain with dropped curl handlebars.
A helmet is a safety precaution but also an absolute necessity, as most Sportive organisers won’t let you participate without one. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
The right shoes will help you to the finishing line. Clipping your cycling shoes to the pedals will encourage a safer and more powerful ride too.
Bike tools & Spares
Make sure you’re carrying the following to avoid any mishaps …
- A pump: Before the race, you can check your tyres are properly pumped up. And in case your tyres deflate (or worse), you can sort yourself out quickly. Small, lightweight pumps can be fixed to the frame of your bike, but if conserving weight is your game, keep on in your KitBrix.
- Spare Inner tubes: As the route terrain is so long, punctures can be unexpected, so come prepared for the worst.
- Emergency patches: A wise backup in case your spare inner tubes get used.
- Allen key tool: In case anything goes wrong and you need to change a tire, you’ll struggle without one of these!
- A spare chain: Chains can snap. So a backup is always a good idea for long routes.
Make sure you’ve packed the right clothing for Sportive. This can include:
- Cycling Jersey: Make sure you’ve checked out the weather too, this might change your packing decisions.
- Cycling shorts: Make sure they’re comfortable and padded if necessary. That saddle sore will find you if not.
- Socks: Comfortable socks, you’ll be using those feet all day. Proper cycling socks will make your ride way comfier, and reduce the chance of injury,
If you’re cycling in the colder months, the days are likely to be shorter, meaning they’ll get darker faster. Make sure your bike is equipped with the correct lights.
Weather dependent, but who wants the sun beaming in their eyes on a really long cycle? Not us. Sunglasses can act as eye protection in a few ways, they’re super handy if the roads are a little dusty and also keeps insects out of your peepers.
Some cyclists opt for cycling gloves on their rides to cushion the bumps, helping bones and joints take less of the brunt, as well as aiding grip. They’ll also be a god sent in the winter too!
After you’ve packed all the gear, you’ll need to make sure you’re stocked up for the day ahead with all the food and energy your body needs.
Keep hydrated! Hydration is the most important part of your Sportive nutrition. As you’re constantly working and pedalling, you need to give your body back what it's lost.
Snacks & Energy Bars
You’re going to be using up a lot of energy so make sure you put that energy back in when you need it. You’ll get the most out of energy foods like oats, so any oat bars that might have a little extra in, like dark chocolate, dried fruits, nuts and seeds are going to be your best bet.
Before you set off for your Sportive, checkout the benefits of road cycling in our recent blog.
Think you can remember all of that? If not, no worries. All KitBrix bags come with a waterproof window pouch so you can check it at all times.