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Bicycle Coalition
Philadelphia’s leading overnight cycling trip, Bikeout, is just over three months away, and tickets are officially
 on sale now on the Bikeout website. The trip begins on September 14th as participants meet behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art and embark on a 38 mile ride via the Schuylkill River Trail to a campsite in Phoenixville. Once the riders arrive, they are provided with a farm-to-table dinner prepared by a local chef. The next morning, riders cycle back into the city for a 72.8 mile round trip two-day ride. It’s a great ride for first-time bikepackers and experienced bike camping enthusiasts alike.

Getting in shape and training for Bikeout or any overnight cycling experience may appear daunting, yet with the right mindset and training approach, cyclists of all skill levels can feel confident and be prepared for the adventure. Bikeout provides a clear training and preparation checklist on their field guide. Here are our tips for getting ready for Bikeout or any other longer-distance ride:

Start getting in miles on a group ride at your local bike shop

Many bike shops, as members of the region’s cycling community, offer group rides that help with summer training. For instance, Fairmount Bicycles in Philadelphia (which is a Bicycle Coalition member bike shop and Bikeout partner), hosts WTF Road Rides twice a month now through October open to those who identify as women, trans, femme, non-binary, or gender nonconforming. The dates for the road rides, which are each about 25-30 miles, can be found in the rides section of their website. Check your local bike shop to see what group rides they offer, as they can be great opportunities to get some miles in.

Find a ride buddy

In addition to training with local bike shops, finding and meeting other Philly cyclists to ride with is easier than ever with cycling community Facebook groups. Bikeout has their very own Facebook group, which you can join here. Other Facebook groups that we suggest you join include CycleScenePHL, Women Bike PHL if you identify as a woman, transgender, and/or non-binary, and Biking the Suburbs if you live in the Philly suburban counties in either PA or NJ.

Explore the Circuit Trails

The region’s ever-growing trail network offers opportunities for training and exploration—just be sure to respect speed limits and other trail users, and follow the other tenets of Biking Nice. More information as well as maps of the region’s trails and paths can be found at CircuitTrails.org. Bikeout takes place almost exclusively on the renowned Schuylkill River Trail, so that’s a great trail to start with!

Don’t overdo it

With the training resources available in Philadelphia, preparing for an event such as Bikeout is most likely to go smoothly. However, if you are recovering from an injury or starting your training from scratch, check out these tips on getting back on a bike after a long break here.

Let us help you get ready

Not far from the Schuylkill River Trail is our very own Education Center at the Sedgley Porter House on Lemon Hill in Fairmount Park, where we will be hosting a training workshop and ride to help riders feel more confident as they prepare for the ride. Stay tuned for the date and time, and please stop by to learn about bike safety, basic mechanics, and options for loading gear onto your bike!

There’s no better way to encourage yourself to tackle a new fitness goal like signing up for a ride. Once you have a date to which you’ve committed, you can build a training plan and stick with it to ensure you’re ready for the big day. Ready to take the plunge into bike camping for the first time or join fellow bikepackers? Sign up here.

Ashley Vogel

Author

After graduating from Swarthmore College, Ashley moved to Philadelphia to work in nonprofit development and communications as a Philly Fellow. She was introduced to the Bicycle Coalition’s work in her first week of the fellowship through an Urban Riding Basics class. She did not take up bicycling in the city until getting involved with the Women Bike PHL community, which catalyzed her to shed her fear of riding in traffic and get on a bike. Ashley’s bike has served as a powerful tool, and she is excited to share the healing and empowering nature of bicycling with others. You can find Ashley riding her blue Breezer to the Headhouse farmer’s market, or her Fuji Sportif when she’s road racing as an alum of the Women Bike PHL Racing Development program.

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