WOW events are designed to be fun, friendly and inclusive without the need for a lot of specialist equipment and training. However, having some of the right gear, and doing some training will make the event more enjoyable.
Make sure it's in tip-top condition. It may be best to service your bike prior to your big event just to ensure everything is running smoothly and efficiently.
Most events make it compulsory for the rider to wear a helmet. If you're in the market for a new one, the best helmet to go for is the one that fits you the best - go to your local shop and try some on.
Dedicated cycle specific riding kit will make a massive difference to your comfort during the ride. Opting for a cycle specific jersey instead of a cotton t-shirt is one pedal in the right direction. As the British weather can be ever changing it's a good option to have a small shower/waterproof jacket in one of your jersey pockets just in case the weather makes a turn for the worse.
Even if the event specifies that there will be feed stations, always carry some emergency food, something that provides energy fast – such as an energy bar or banana. Depending on the length of the route, it is best to take two bottles with you. One of these bottles should be filled with an energy drink. It is worth experimenting with different brands and flavours whilst you are training for the ride and not using something on the big day that you haven't sampled before.
Saddle Bag Essentials
These items are good to carry in your jersey pocket just in case there is an emergency:
Go the distance – make sure your training is building up to the distance of the event that you have entered. You don't have to have ridden the exact distance but need to have done rides close to it.
Build it up slowly – all sorts of problems can arise if you do too much too soon. Build up the distances you ride slowly, adding a few miles to a long ride each week.
Short rides are good too – you don't have to do a long ride every time you go out. If you can do one long ride a week, a short ride mid-week can be beneficial. Maybe focus on some interval training to build up your fitness. For example after warming up, riding hard for one minute, then easing off for 2 minutes and repeating this several times. Finding a hill, riding up and coasting back down a few times is also a good training option.
Sort out any niggles ASAP – if any discomfort or pain arises from your riding then investigate it quickly. Discomfort can arise from many things such as poor bike position, or poor clothing. Small changes can often solve most problems. Leaving small niggles could lead to worse problems, which might then mean time off the bike and that won't be good for your training.
Fuel yourself – think about your daily nutrition around your ride. Take fluid and some energy food (energy bars or gels) on longer rides. Try different energy products to see what works best for you.
Enjoy the ride! - whether alone or with friends, feel the fresh air on your face, explore some roads you've never been down before and maybe stop at the odd cafe for a cuppa and cake!