Ever Thought About Riding for 24 Hours?

A 24-hour bike ride. It’s been done before, but for most of us, it’s way beyond the realm of possibility.

Tommy Foster

But one Bike Noob reader, Tommy Foster of Marietta, Georgia, plans to do just that.  In an effort to raise money for the Livestrong Foundation and to fight cancer, Tommy is going to circle the track at Marietta High School  for 24 hours straight. The ride will be on June 19-20.

In August, Tommy will ride the Livestrong Philly ride, and he’s set an ambitious fundraising goal of $10,000. The 24-hour ride is part of his effort to reach that mark.

I asked Tommy about the planning and organization that goes into riding 24 hours. “There are references to 24 hour rides on-line,” he said. “I know it can be done. From what I can see, someone that can ride several times a week for three hours can accomplish the 24 hours.”

Tommy himself hasn’t been riding all that long. After a fling with biking during college, he knocked off riding for 25 years, and only took it up again 13 months ago. Now at age 47, he’s turning in lots of miles each week.

“Right now my normal week is: Tuesday, 48 miles, Thursday, 48 miles, Saturday, 40 miles (hills and rollers, with intensity). Recovery ride any other day I feel like it for 35-40 miles, easy spin. I have completed three centuries already this year.”

But the 24-hour will be different, because it will be on a quarter-mile high school track. “The high school track is Olympic quality Mondo – very high tech composite material and it took a near act of Congress to get permission to ride on it,” Tommy said.

He’ll take a 5-10 minute break every one and a half hours. “I think everyone expects me to take a break when needed for bio, refueling, fresh riding gear, etc.,” he said. “I will use Hammer gels, balance bars, and G2 Gatorade (low-sugar) for fuel and hydration.”

He thinks the boredom of riding a closed track over and over will be his biggest challenge. “I’ll switch direction after every break,” he said. “That way I will have two very boring 12-hour versions of scenery. When insanity sinks in I might even change lanes for each lap! Riding at night will be different too. The track will be fully lit.”

For equipment, he’ll use the same bike he rides every day. It’s a 2009 Trek Madone 5.2 with 23mm tires inflated to 115 pounds. “Logic would suggest that a hybrid or mountain bike would be better for 24 hours but I have promised to use a bike with no treads and minimal tire to track contact,” Tommy explained. “That means a skinny, smooth tire. Also, I have read that the greatest mistake 24-hour riders make is changing bike or setup. They strongly suggest riding whatever you have been riding and are comfortable with and not changing the setup.”

Tommy is not forgetting that the whole point of the ride is not to call attention to himself, but to the fight against cancer. “Livestrong does not have the visibility and high profile in Georgia as it does in other parts of the country,” he said. “I would like to change that. The more time I spend talking about Livestrong the deeper my conviction to not only continue but intensify my efforts on behalf of all of us that have to fight cancer.”

If you’re interested in supporting Tommy in his 24-hour effort and his fundraising for Livestrong Philly, you can donate here: http://www.24hoursforlivestrong.com/donate


  1. says

    Awesome. Wish I had the gall to do something similar but alas, I do not. Maybe I’ll meet him down in Philly!

    Hoping to do something soon to help myself raise money for the same ride…it’s going to be a blast.

  2. chris says

    I actually have thought of this and talked to my fiance about it while walking in my local RFL. I want to try for 24 hours.

  3. says

    24 hour races are popular in mountain biking.. people do team and solo competitions. Not sure I could (or would want to) ride that long, much less do it at “race pace”. I’d be up for a metric century at the Veloway though.

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