Baton Rouge to New Orleans on a Coker

Hello all,
I have recently purchased a 36" Coker, and I am inspired to train to ride it from Baton Rouge, where my college is, to New Orleans. I have never done a long-distance ride on any wheeled device before (this is ~80 mi), so if anybody has training tips, I would appreciate it. Also, if any unicyclists are in the area and want to attempt the ride with me, that would be amazing. I’m aiming to be ready by September (I’m going to be doing an internship this summer, so I will be out of the state).

Also, a friend suggested that I try to find sponsors for the ride to donate to charity. I think it’s a good idea, but I’ve never organized something like that before. I’ve contributed to the UN Foundation before, so that’s probably where I would direct donations, but I don’t have any background experience to know how to publicize that sort of thing. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

For riding, just get used to the cycle to start, then start increasing your mileage. Experience, preference and the route itself (how hilly) will help you determine what crank length you like. Anything over 125 is probably too long, though 150s are fine for getting used to the cycle at first. If there are long hills I recommend a brake. Do practice rides of up to at least half the total distance. Try to do some back-to-back long rides also. Get used to carrying plenty of water (hydration pack with 2-3 liter capacity). Bring energy snacks for if you get pooped, but stop for real food. You don’t have to carry it. Lastly, don’t change anything about your equipment or clothing at the last minute. Train with the setup you plan to use, and use the setup you’ve trained with. That goes for clothing too. No new shorts on the day of!

For fundraising I have less advice. Find a charity you like, and contact them. If they aren’t responsive in helping you organize yourself, try a different charity. Some may be able to get you some free publicity, intended to help you collect pledges.

I live in Austin, Tx and am interested in this ride. I’ve been Cokering long distance for 10 years now and this sounds like fun. How many days are you thinking? I’ve done distances up to 101 miles in a day. Any questions you have just pm me and we’ll talk. Later.


Thanks both of you!

I’m hoping to do the ride in one day. I’ve figured a path that is a little over 100 mi (160 km) that could be done in 5 steps of ~20 miles. I’ll try to get a map of that made up soon.

Right now, I have 150’s on the Coker. Would it be better to start training with 125’s or 110’s? This weekend, I did 15 miles in an hour and a half, which is a blazing average speed of 10 mph. The only problem is that I was completely zonked afterwards.

I sent an email to the UN Foundation, but I haven’t heard back yet.

BigWheelTex, I would be grateful to have an experienced partner to make this ride with me. September 7 is Labor Day, so I will be aiming to be ready by the Saturday before (Sep. 5). My alternate date is Sep. 30-Oct 1, which is Fall Break for us at LSU.

The tentative route is Baton Rouge -> Plaquemine (ferry across the river) -> Donaldsonville -> Gramercy -> Norco -> New Orleans, so that after Gramercy, we would follow Airline Highway (Hwy 61) all the way into New Orleans.

This being Louisiana, the route must be pretty flat, so you’d definitely be better off getting used to 125mm cranks.

You have four months to train, which should be more than enough. You’ll need to improve in three areas:


  • Technique
  • Foot speed
  • Endurance (saddle time) [/LIST]

    If you’re zonked after a 15-mile ride, you’re probably not riding very efficiently. That’s normal for a new Coker rider; you’ll improve with training. Concentrate on putting your weight on the seat, and spinning the pedals with a light touch. The less energy you put into each pedal stroke, the less energy you need to spend to correct. Working on spinning technique will help you ride faster while using less energy.

    Foot speed is something you can specifically train separately from just spinning technique. One way to train it is to alternate your long training rides with interval or sprint training. Find a stretch of road or path that’s uninterrupted for a decent distance, and time yourself doing it as fast as you can. You can get a quick workout just doing the same stretch back and forth until you’re tired. Go back and try it again every couple of weeks and see how much you can improve your time.

    And finally, saddle time. if you’re riding with good technique, being able to do a century ride is mostly a function of your ability to handle time in the saddle. On long flat days in the saddle, your limiting factor won’t be your cardio or your legs, it will be your butt, or your back, or your ability to process enough water and sugar to keep going. The only way to work on all this stuff is to spend time in the saddle. You’ve started with a 90 minute ride, which is good. Try to add at least a half hour per week to your longest ride. For your goal ride of 100 miles, you’ll be looking at 10-12 hours on the road; that’s a long day by any measure. I would aim at working up to a metric century (100km, 62 miles) about two weeks before your final ride, then spend some time working on speed and tapering off your training.

    Good luck!

  • 150 to 110 is a pretty big jump, so you might feel more comfortable riding 125s for a while. Get used to those and then take the next notch down. BTW I currently use 114s, which allow for more hills without slowing me down as much as 125s. Yes, I now consider 125s to be slow, and only to be used if there are moderate or steeper hills.

    I know the New Orleans area is dead flat but not sure about the rest of your ride. Definitely work your way down to the 110s to at least get familiar with them.

    Also, I highly recommend getting a mirror of some kind. I use one that clips onto my sunglasses. Having a mirror makes me feel a lot more confident when riding near cars.

    Hi, I’m training for an extremely long ride (I’ll post details in a month or soon) and have been riding around 70 miles at weekends (50 on saturdays and 20 on sundays) with 127mm cranks on some very hilly routes, and from my experience start with 10 miles once a week, then 10 miles twice a week, then 20 once and 10, then 20 and 20 etc. and just build up. I hope you enjoy your training, and more importantly the ride itself. Have fun :slight_smile:

    Oh yes, and about what John said, I have a mirror on my helmet that helps when you’re on roads

    Okay I don’t think I’ll wait. I’m riding from Lands End to John O’Groats on July 27th (around 830 miles) and have been doing training for around 4 months now. John, that is the reason why I have been sponsored. I will make a new thread on it sometime this week. But anyway I’m riding for 3 charities, and about getting publicised, I have been in three newspapers now, and already have sponsors coming in. Just contact your local newspapers and ask if they are interested. If they are, then give them an email address for sponsorship, if not, then just try another paper. I hope this helps, and like I said, it doesn’t hurt to ask. :slight_smile:

    What is your name? Mine’s A.J. I’m up for 100 plus in a day. If you’re interested my fiance could drive a support vehicle for us and carry repair equipment and snacks and food. The early september date is better for me but either are doable. It just depends on your schedule and readiness. Let me know.


    p.s. I run 125’s.

    tholub, I’m not sure exactly what you mean by spinning technique. Is there a tutorial somewhere on riding efficiently? I can already feel that saddle time is going to be a problem that I’ll have to work on. Is it a good idea to utilize handlebars while training?

    I’m ordering some 125’s. Do any of you know a good computer to get for a the Coker? The local bike shop doesn’t have one that goes up to 36", and it would be nice to calculate speed/distance in a better way than google earth.

    samwii, good luck on your ride! Thanks for the training tip.

    AJ, a support vehicle seems like a good idea. I read someone specifically suggest that to someone doing the Seattle - Portland ride. We will shoot for Labor Day weekend as a riding date.

    Also, I think I picked up a flat when riding back to my apartment today. Where do you usually order tubes from?


    Handlebars really help. I have just a standard T7, and it really helps, whether it’s just resting on flats or pulling up on steep hills, they are really worth it. UDC obviously do 36" innertubes, and I know that people overinflate 29" innertubes to save weight, but I don’t know how affective or reliable this is, so you would have to ask around about the 29" or use the search function.

    Also about the handlebars, I have found on flats I slide further back the saddle and lean on the handles so it is more like riding a bike, and it means you can vary from having all your weight on privates up hill or sit bones on a flat, meaning less likely to get saddle aches.

    Remember when you first learned to ride a unicycle, how much energy it took just to ride down the street? That’s because you were riding very inefficiently; wobbling back and forth, over-correcting the wobble with each pedal stroke. Over time you got smoother and used less energy, so now you can ride the same distance and get much less tired. The same applies to getting used to a big wheel; at first you’ll be wobbling too much and over-correcting; once you’re good at big wheel riding, you’ll be spinning smoothly and wasting very little energy.

    The easiest thing to work on is just putting less weight on the pedals; try to ride with a feather touch.

    You should try to train as much as you can with the setup you’ll actually be using for the ride. I think most people who’ve done 100 mile rides favor having some kind of handlebar.