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Tips for First-Time Rideau Lakes Participants

Will this be your inaugural ride of the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour? Great! You will be joining the thousands of cyclists who have enjoyed this scenic ride over the past 48 years.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Choose your Distance

When you register for the RLCT, you need to choose between starting in Perth or in Ottawa, for the ride to Kingston. The Perth ride will be approximately 100kms whereas there are three distances you can choose when starting from Ottawa, of roughly 170, 180 and 210kms. (Note that we are fine-tuning all the routes, primarily to ensure we are avoiding 2022 construction projects.) Make your choice based on what may be a stretch for you, but one that is achievable with the training that you will have time to complete.

2. Do the homework!

Sure, you could do the ride without adequate training, but it will be a much more enjoyable experience with the right training. Allow time to gradually boost your distance in training; this will not only build your fitness but will also give you valuable experience in pacing and with your in-ride nutrition.

3.Develop your nutrition plan

You should plan to consume some calories at regular intervals during your ride – and this goes for your training rides, too! As a starting point, we recommend consuming 45- 60g of carbohydrates every hour during your ride. There are countless ways to get those calories – from homemade snacks to sports drinks and gels. Use your training rides to fine-tune how many calories and which foods work best for you in delivering the fuel you need while not upsetting your stomach.

4. Get your bike ready

A full bike tune-up before the RLCT is an excellent investment - it provides insurance against equipment failures or mechanical problems that can spoil your ride. The most common service on the RLCT is a flat. Make sure your tires are in good condition before you start - to minimize the probability of a flat!

5. Be Prepared

Your training rides help you practice being prepared for every ride. Your on-bike supplies should include: spare tube(s), tire levers, a pump, water bottle(s), food, a phone, cash or credit card and a GPS or paper map of your route.

6. Riding Skills

Be sure that you are comfortable riding safely in a group – even if you plan to ride “solo”, there will be hundreds of bikes on the road with you during the RLCT. OBC members can sign up for one of the OBC’s free clinics to build those skills and the club’s website provides additional tips for group riding.

7. Find a Group

Much of the fun in completing the RLCT comes from sharing the riding experience with a group. The most critical element in forming or joining a group is to find people who ride at a pace you will be comfortable with. OBC members can check out the club’s group rides in the weeks leading up to the tour as a potential source of riding partners!

See also Tour Tips.