Much as you enjoy your commute or weekend rides, you might wonder if anyone would voluntarily ride their bike for 24 hours straight. Last weekend in Middleville MI, almost 500 riders, coming from all across the U.S. and as far away as New Zealand, did just that. On Saturday, June 18th, at 8am, the 29th National 24-Hour Challenge began. This non-stop endurance ride, in which participants strive to surpass their personal bests, finished at 8am on Sunday, June 19th. There are official checkpoints to ensure that riders are completing the course appropriately, but riders (and sometimes a crew) are largely responsible for recording their own mileage. This year, the highest mileage was set by a recumbent rider, who rode 487.6 miles in the 24-hour period – that’s over 20 miles/hour! Coming in a close second was a rider on a traditional, upright bicycle, at 472.6 miles.

Setting off for a 24-hour ride…

The National 24-Hour Challenge consists of 3 loops: the first loop is 121.6 miles (and fairly hilly) and every rider must complete it by 6:33pm. Any rider that has not completed Loop 1 in that time is disqualified. The second loop is a shorter 23.7 miles, which each rider must complete at least once. If a rider chooses to ride Loop 2 more than once he/she only receives credit for loops completed by the cut-off time of 9pm. After completing Loop 2, riders enter into a third loop, a 7.5 mile circuit, which they ride throughout the night (lights required!). To make sure everyone is on the correct loop at the correct time, riders give number tags to officials as they complete each portion of the ride. Any rider who does not check in with officials by the appointed time may not receive credit for mileage ridden up to that point.

Ride it on your Folding Bike

A 24-hour endurance ride is certainly a challenge. And if you’re thinking of taking it on with a Montague folding bike, the Fit is probably the best model for the job (although a Navigator would do pretty well too). The Fit comes with low spoke count wheels; these wheels are lighter and more aerodynamic than the wheels that come standard on other Montague folding bikes, or indeed, many comparable non-folding bikes. The Fit also has a carbon fork, which is lighter and more responsive to a rider’s movements than a steel or aluminum fork. Aside from a light, maneuverable bike, if you’re going to ride for 24 hours, you need to make sure you’ve got a comfortable saddle.

And the Fit is certainly up for long rides – last year, it took on the Tri State Trek, a 3-day 270-mile ride from Boston to New York. While the next National 24-Hour Challenge is still 363 days away, it’s never too early to start training – it takes a lot of endurance (and coffee?) to ride for 24 hours straight.

How Far can You Ride?

What’s the longest ride you’ve ever done? Have you ever thought of doing a 24-hour ride, or have you done one? Did you ride it on a Montague?