Tips and tricks to Cycle By…

Peter Bremner is one of the Purple Peloton’s founding members. He was enthusiastic about Riding for a Future from the get-go and we are so thankful for the hours and energy he has poured into this campaign. Peter is just an ordinary guy, who decided to Ride for a Future, not knowing all the ins and outs of cycling, let alone conquering 94.7kms. But, one thing you need to know about Peter, he is tenacious and passionate, and he learnt so much so quickly about cycling and tackling this mammoth event!! Here’s his lessons learnt, written not by a pro, but by a guy just like you and me!! Thanks Pete…

“So, last year, without much I thought decided to ride the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge for the first time, and for a purpose – I rode for Botshabelo.

Little did I know what this decision would bring about in the 5 short months leading up to the Race.

At first I thought I’ll just ride what ever bike I could beg, steal or borrow. My first training ride of just over 5km put that plan to an end. I quickly learnt that to be comfortable and enjoy a long ride or race like the Cycle Challenge you need a few essentials.

No 1 – a reasonable set of riding shorts, gloves and a lightweight Helmet. Yes those very jolly looking spandex – “Nappy Pants’ as one friend put it! Without them even 5 km is a painful experience for your nether regions. A Helmet is a must, a light weight breathing one makes a great difference to your head and neck over long-distance riding. Gloves protect the fingers and hands from chaffing and provide protection for falls. Also a thinner less padded seat is best. It defies logic but the wider the seat the more it chafes and rubs. The more padded, the more it ‘shifts’ which means more work for your core and more rubbing again.

No 2 – A training buddy. Good intentions fail quickly where strenuous exercise is involved. But camaraderie and encouragement can set you up to be consistent enough to make the Race Day with excitement and support to see you through the full 94.7kms

No 3 – Riding shoes. These may seem like a pointless and costly investment. However the added momentum you get when peddling with cleats is phenomenal. As you ‘pull up’ on the pedals as much as you pull down you start to learn to use not only your calf muscles but also your hamstrings and thighs. This gives you more than 25-30% extra and can make most hills appear to ‘ lie down before you’ like a smooth flat road. It also takes the tension and strain away from your foot and lower leg trying to stay on the pedals all the time so you have a much more relaxed ride.

No 4 – The right size bicycle frame and seat height. I learnt about this during training. My knees would occasionally hurt after a long or hard ride. I discovered with the help of the local bike shop guru that my seat height was to low causing my knees to pop outwards when I was tired and place strain on my ligaments. This was remedied with a quick seat and pedal adjustment at the bike shop that cost me only a R100. After this adjustment I was able to go 15% faster and further on my rides without any discomfort at all.

Sadly, I only discovered after my race the value of the handle bar position. It’s as important as the seat position. I rode a borrowed bicycle that was more or less my size, but it had handle bars that were a bit far away, I knew this from my setup at the bike store but had no other bike to ride so ignored the guru’s warnings. After all, I thought this was a advantage as I would ride more ‘flat and streamlined’. All it did was cause my arms, neck and back to strain and tense over the course of the race until I had a migraine that only passed with some swift massaging work by the medics. I was able to continue and finish the race but this small mater of a handle bar being 3cm to far away nearly ended my day.

So, How do you setup your bike ? The best help I got was from the local bicycle store that measured me, checked my feet position on my pedals and adjusted my seat and handle bars for my body height and shape. I highly recommend you do this before starting on anything else.

If you want online guides, this website ‘’ is a real help. Look around it and you’ll find all sorts of tips and basic guidelines; like finding out what size bikes you needs, where your handlebars should be and all sorts of good info.

I learnt a bunch of other things…those may come later in another post. Just get yourself started on the right size bike, and give it a go! You’ll have more fun than you thought you could!”
– Peter Bremner, Ride for a Future hero. 

Some extra Websites to use for help:

Frame size-

Saddle height –

Saddle height and frame height –

How to clean your bike

Working on your bike, tips


About Us

Botshabelo was born, in 2000, out of a burning passion for the community and its desperate need for a place of safety, support and resources. The Babies Home, Urban Kids Educentre and offices are located on the 20 acre property of 64 on Main, Midrand. From this base we serve the community of Olievenhoutbosch and surrounds through our Early Childhood Development programme (UpliftED Training Programme). Botshabelo is passionate about transforming children’s lives through excellent education and residential care.

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